Abdulrazak Gurnah wins the Nobel prize in literature 2021 – dwell | Books

Learn Maaza Mengiste’s assessment of Gurnah’s newest novel Afterlives right here

The Nobel prize in literature has been awarded to the novelist Abdulrazak Gurnah “for his uncompromising and compassionate penetration of the consequences of colonialism and the destiny of the refugee within the gulf between cultures and continents”.

Gurnah, who grew up on the island of Zanzibar however arrived in England as a refugee within the Sixties, has printed ten novels in addition to numerous quick tales. The Nobel committee stated that “the theme of the refugee’s disruption runs all through his work”.

Learn the total story right here:

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Richard Osman

{Photograph}: Ken McKay/ITV/REX/Shutterstock

A better research of the percentages reveals that Richard Osman, contemporary from topping the e-book charts within the UK together with his newest slice of cosy crime, is at 43/1 to win this yr’s Nobel prize for literature, whereas Stephen King and JK Rowling are each at 41/1. Patti Smith and Joni Mitchell, probably using on Bob Dylan’s laureate coattails, are at 35/1. Personally, I’d like to see what occurred if it went to the mysterious Elena Ferrante, who’s at 25/1.

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Naturally, we will’t do a Nobel prize dwell weblog with out sharing this video of 2007 winner Doris Lessing. It by no means fails to make us snort.

Let’s additionally take a second to notice Olsson’s response to Shephard’s questions on Peter Handke’s controversial win. The selection was broadly criticised over Handke’s help of Slobodan Milošević’s genocidal Serbian regime; Olsson discovered the criticism “a bit stunning as a result of it didn’t concern his literary advantage as a author”, however reminds “proud” of a alternative which he’s “positive … might be seen as one among our greatest decisions within the historical past of the prize”. I’m unsure about that, however I’m amused by his description of Handke as a “political fool”.

Right here’s the context: “What was for us notably bewildering was that we didn’t get any criticism for the prize to Pinter, as an illustration. Harold Pinter was an individual who was rather more articulate and radical in a political sense than Handke ever was. Handke is a political fool, you can say. His stance on politics is just not all that radical or as acutely aware as Pinter’s was.”

Anders Olsson

Anders Olsson {Photograph}: IBL/REX/Shutterstock

Shephard additionally has an interview with Nobel prize committee chair Anders Olsson, who tells him that “we really feel that we would not have any disaster anymore” and that “we’ve got discovered stability in our work within the academy”. This follows the cancellation of 2018’s prize after allegations of sexual misconduct, monetary malpractice and repeated leaks. The sexual assault accusations had been made in opposition to Jean-Claude Arnault, husband of academy member Katarina Frostenson; Arnault was subsequently convicted of rape, and Frostenson departed the 18-strong Swedish academy, together with a handful of different members.

Are there any clues to be gleaned from Olsson’s solutions? I’m intrigued by his remark that “it’s crucial for us proper now to broaden and widen our horizons”, and that whereas “literary advantage” is the “absolute and the one criterion for us throughout the academy”, he feels that “what we will do is to widen our orientation of literature”.

Requested in regards to the prize’s repute for Eurocentrism and lack of feminine winners – simply 16 girls have gained the Nobel, out of 117 winners – Olsson admitted it had been “very Eurocentric within the first a part of the twentieth century, and only a few girls gained”. However he pointed to “a substantial shift” lately, and revealed that from January, worldwide specialists “might be giving us reviews from areas of language [where] we would not have deep competence throughout the academy – Asian and African, languages that we don’t command however want to”.

“That might be a really attention-grabbing change, and it’ll broaden our information and our orientation in world literature,” he stated. It appears to me that that is one thing the academy ought to have already been doing – however let’s see what adjustments it brings.

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Alex Shephard on the New Republic at all times has clever ideas to share about who the winner is perhaps. This yr, he believes Ernaux has a shot, as does Russian author Lyudmila Ulitskaya, Thiong’o, Guadeloupean novelist Maryse Condé, Somali creator Nuruddin Farah, and Chinese language author Can Xue.

“The prize has been awarded to Europeans 14 occasions this century – this regardless of the Nobel committee’s vocal emphasis on higher range and its quasi-public apologies for the prize’s well-earned repute for Eurocentrism,” writes Shephard. “With this in thoughts, the probability of the subsequent Nobel Prize in literature being awarded to a non-European and non-American must be exceedingly excessive. Ought to. For all of the speak of righting this ship, nevertheless, it’s clear that the Nobel committee goes to do no matter it desires and that what it desires is to award a dour novelist writing lyrical reflections about an affair that they had throughout World Battle II with a 15-year-old woman, ideally in French.”


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The Nobel prize official Twitter account posted about 1993 winner Toni Morrison. Morrison is one among simply 16 girls who’ve been awarded the prize because it started in 1901.

The Nobel Prize

One of the vital highly effective and distinguished storytellers of our time: Toni Morrison, turned the primary African American lady to be awarded a #NobelPrize when she obtained the literature prize in 1993.

Keep tuned to seek out out the recipient(s) of the 2021 literature prize! pic.twitter.com/G36mWGONYp

October 7, 2021

Why not strive this quiz on the Nobel prize web site and see what number of laureates you’ll be able to match to their work?

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Doable contenders: Haruki Murakami

Haruki Murakami

{Photograph}: Philip Fong/AFP/Getty Photos

Haruki Murakami is one other evergreen favorite. I’m uncertain of his probabilities, however I’d be delighted if this was his yr. Maybe the august Swedish Academy might be persuaded by his forthcoming tome, Murakami T: The T-Shirts I Love, wherein the “worldwide literary icon opens his eclectic closet” to share “pictures of [his] intensive private T-shirt assortment, accompanied by essays that reveal a facet of the author hardly ever seen by the general public”. I’d like to see the quotation from the Swedish Academy which may take that in.

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Doable contenders: Ngugi wa Thiong’o

Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o

{Photograph}: Murdo MacLeod/The Guardian

After a future of European or North American winners, may this be Kenyan Ngugi wa Thiong’o’s yr? The celebrated creator is perennially tipped, perennially close to the highest of the bookies’ odds, and but at all times neglected by the Swedish Academy. Fiammetta Rocco, tradition correspondent on the Economist and a fellow Kenyan, is hoping to listen to his identify come 12pm right this moment. “His most up-to-date e-book, The Excellent 9, is his most shocking, proof of how artistic he nonetheless is at 83,” she informed me. “And likewise, as a result of he’s now on each day dialysis, this can be his final probability.”

(Ngugi can also be my hope as nicely.)

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Louise Glück

{Photograph}: Shawn Thew/EPA

Final yr poet Louise Glück turned the primary American lady in 27 years to win the Nobel prize in literature. The 78-year-old author had beforehand gained the Pulitzer prize and the Nationwide E-book Award, and was praised by the chair of the Nobel prize committee, Anders Olsson, for her “candid and uncompromising” voice, which is “stuffed with humour and biting wit”.

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Good day and welcome to the Guardian’s dwell protection of the Nobel prize in literature, which must be awarded to “the one who shall have produced within the discipline of literature probably the most excellent work in a perfect course”, based on the need of Alfred Nobel.

This yr’s winner might be introduced at 12pm BST (1pm CEST). Will it’s Annie Ernaux, the bookmaker’s favorite? Will it’s one other wildcard like Bob Dylan, who was chosen in 2016? Or may it lastly be the yr for Japanese bestseller Haruki Murakami, who has absolutely been practising his acceptance speech for at the very least a decade.

Be a part of my colleague Alison Flood and I for the subsequent hour or in order we submit updates, trivia and hypothesis about this yr’s prize.

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