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African Writer Wins 2021 Nobel Prize for Literature

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The Swedish Academy said the award was in recognition of his “uncompromising and compassionate penetration of the effects of colonialism.”

Abdulrazak Gurnah has been awarded the 2021 Nobel Prize for Literature. 

The Tanzanian writer was given the award by the Swedish Academy. 

The award is in recognition of his “uncompromising and compassionate penetration of the effects of colonialism.” 

Born in Zanzibar and based in England, Gurnah is a professor at the University of Kent. His novel “Paradise” was shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 1994. 

The prestigious award comes with a gold medal and 10 million Swedish kronor (over $1.14 million). 

The prize money comes from a bequest left by the prize’s creator, Swedish inventor Alfred Nobel, who died in 1895. 

The 2021 Nobel Prize for literature was announced today, Thursday. It is an award that has in the past honoured poets, novelists and even a songwriter, Bob Dylan. 

Nigeria’s Professor Wole Soyinka won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1986. This year’s favourites, according to British bookmakers, included Kenya’s Ngugi wa Thiong’o, French writer Annie Ernaux, Japanese author Haruki Murakami, Canada’s Margaret Atwood and Antiguan-American writer Jamaica Kincaid. 

Last year’s prize went to American poet Louise Glück for what the judges described as her “unmistakable poetic voice that with austere beauty makes individual existence universal.” Glück was a popular choice after several years of controversy. 

In 2018 the award was postponed after sex abuse allegations rocked the Swedish Academy, the secretive body that chooses the winners. 

The awarding of the 2019 prize to Austrian writer Peter Handke caused protests because of his strong support for the Serbs during the 1990s Balkan wars. 

On Monday, the Nobel Committee awarded the prize in physiology or medicine to Americans David Julius and Ardem Patapoutian for their discoveries into how the human body perceives temperature and touch. 

The Nobel Prize in physics was awarded Tuesday to three scientists, whose work found order in seeming disorder, helping to explain and predict complex forces of nature, including expanding our understanding of climate change. 

Benjamin List and David W.C. MacMillan were named as laureates of the Nobel Prize for chemistry on Wednesday for finding an easier and environmentally cleaner way to build molecules that can be used to make compounds, including medicines and pesticides. 

Still to come are prizes to be awarded for outstanding work in the fields of peace and economics.

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