A Nobel Celebration for African Literature

Abdulrazak Gurnah, a writer from Zanzibar, wins the Nobel Prize for Literature. He is the first black writer to win it since Toni Morrison in 1993.

Ill. Niklas Elmehed © Nobel Prize Outreach.

By Zayn Ghanem/7th grade

 His books revolve around multiculturalism, colonialism, and refugees. The books are all talking about things that he has actually lived through and feels strongly for. This is why he won the Nobel Prize on October 7. He is also the first black writer to win the prize since 1993. The win surprised everyone, as he wasn’t that well known. He wrote a total of 10 novels in the span of 40 years. He is however known in the African writer community for aiding and helping a majority of the writers in this community in getting fame and winning multiple prizes.

By Miku Moore/6th grade

Abdulrazak Gurnah  has grown to be a Nobel Prize winner for literature. But he’s had a tough climb up to the top. Gurnah was born on the island of Zanzibar (East Africa) in 1948. Twenty years later, he went to England as a student. Amazingly, Abdulrazak is now on the advisory board of Wasafiri, a magazine that encourages folks to travel and explore the world. He was rewarded with the Nobel Prize for his “for his uncompromising and compassionate penetration of the effects of colonialism and the fate of the refugee in the gulf between cultures and continents.” 

After receiving the news of earning the famous award, his words were humble and modest, but in an excited tone  His first three novels explain how the service for immigrants was/is in contemporary Britain from different points of view. (Memory of Departure (1987), Pilgrims Way (1988) and Dottie (1990) His 4th book, Paradise (1994), was about how WW1 affected  East Africa. His stories are about exile, displacement, belonging, colonialism and broken promises by the state. He now leads a peaceful life in Canterbury, England after retiring  from teaching at the University of Kent. 

By Natalie Shipp/6th grade

AbdulRazak Gurnah, won the Nobel prize in literature for his excellent writing about culture, colonialism and refugees. It was an unexpected call and an amazing surprise for him.  Born on December 20th 1948 in Zanzibar, Gurnah, fled his country at the age of 15, after à revolution.The members of the Arab community in Zanzibar were targeted, which is why he had to flee. He moved to Canterbury,England, where he still lives, and began to write.

 He writes about Culture, Colonialism and Refugees for he was one himself. Gurnah thought that more people should see what refugees have to go through in order to be safe and find a home. As the years passed, he worked hard every day and published 10 inspiring books. Gurnah was one of the first African writers to win the Nobel Prize. To this day his writing inspires many generations of readers.

By Vasco Foster/6th grade

Twenty seven years after the last black writer, Toni Morrison ,won the Nobel prize for Literature, Abdulrazak Gurnah was just recognised by the famous swedish institution “for his uncompromising and compassionate penetration of the effects of colonialism and the fate of the refugee in the gulf between cultures and continents.” 

Abdulrazak Gurnah is a well known writer known throughout many countries and states.He was born in 1948 in Zanzibar (an archipelago off the coast of Tanzania).He fled his country at the age of 17 and came to Britain as a student at 20. He is now 72 years old and lives in Canterbury England and wrote many books including Memory of Departure (1987), A Pilgrims Way (1988), Dottie (1990) and more… He was elected a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 2006 

Inspired by his own life he writes mostly about immigrants, colonialism, and exile. His astonishing talent has a universal appeal all around the globe.

By Chase Lo – 7th grade

A Recognition for Black writers around the world

On October 7th, Abdulrazak Gurnah, an african writer, won the nobel prize for Literature. He is the first black writer since Toni Morrison in 1993 to be awarded the famous medal and it surprised everyone. His editor said that Gurnah was one of the “amazing and compassionate people that was not recognized”. 

Abdulrazak Gurnah wrote 10 groundbreaking books about the “uncompromising and compassionate penetration of the effects of colonialism and the fate of the refugee in the gulf between cultures and continents” as stated by the Nobel committee. He chose to write about this because of his personal experience. 

Born in Zanzibar in 1984 Abdulrazak had to move to the United Kingdom in 1960 as a refugee after the Zanzibar Revolution. As he has felt these things first hand and wants to make a change by writing his books. He is someone we should look up to as step by step he tries to change the world. His win is a win for all black writers around the world.

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