Tanzanian Abdulrazak Gurnah awarded Nobel Prize of Literature

Abdulrazak Gurnah, 2021 Nobel Prize in Literature winner (Source: FT.com)

Today, we will celebrate the fifth African to join the illustrious lists of Nobel literature prize winners. Yes… you heard me right, the 2021 Nobel prize for literature has been awarded to the Tanzanian author Abdulrazak Gurnah, he is only the fifth African recipient behind Wole Soyinka of Nigeria (1986), Naguib Mahfouz of Egypt (1988), Nadine Gordimer (1991) and J.M. Coetzee (2003) both of South Africa. He is in good company.

To be honest, I had never heard of Abdulrazak Gurnah before the Nobel prize announcement, even though I try to keep up with African authors. Now, I will make sure to check out his most famous book Paradise which had been shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 1994.

Flag of Tanzania

Gurnah was born on the island of Zanzibar in 1948, before it was joined with Tanganyika to become Tanzania upon independence from Great Britain. He fled his country at the age of 18 and settled in England where he has lived since then. He is the author of numerous short stories and essays, and of as many as 10 novels. Some of his books have been shortlisted (Paradise) or longlisted (By the Sea) for the Booker Prize. He also writes in Swahili. The main focus of his work has been on the effects of colonialism and the fate of refugees as they reach new countries, continents, and cultures.

Cheers to another proud winner of the very prestigious prize, and this proud son of Mama Africa. For more on him, please check out the announcement on the Nobel Prize page, the Guardian, and NPR articles.

Madam President wins the Nobel Peace Prize

Nobel Peace Prize winners (L to R): Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, Leymah Gbowee, and Tawakkul Karman
Nobel Peace Prize winners (L to R): Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, Leymah Gbowee, and Tawakkul Karman (source: BBC)

Wow… such was my surprise and joy when I woke up this morning to find out that Madam President, Mrs. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf had won the Nobel peace prize this year with another fellow Liberian lady Leymah Gbowee, and a lady from Yemen Tawakkul Karman.  I just thought that you would want to re-read the post I wrote almost two years ago on this proud African Iron Lady, and watch the video on her first 52 weeks in power.  Enjoy!!! (Just a spin: why is it that for women they had to put all three of them together? couldn’t the Nobel committee have acknowledged Madam president this year, and then the other two next year? or Madam president and the fellow Liberian lady this year, and the other one next year? So sad that when it comes to women, the world, even the Nobel committee is still sexist!)