Abdulrazak Gurnah

  • Abdulrazak Gurnah
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Writer, Playwright, Lecturer
Principal country concerned : Column : Literature
United Kingdom
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Tanzanian writer and stage writer.

Abdulrazak GURNAH is a writer (novelist) and stage writer (for theater).

Novelist Abdulrazak Gurnah was born in 1948 on the island of Zanzibar off the coast of East Africa.

He came to Britain as a student in 1968 and now teaches literature at the University of Kent. He is associate editor of the journal Wasafiri.

His first three novels, Memory of Departure (1987), Pilgrims Way (1988) and Dottie (1990), document the immigrant experience in contemporary Britain from different perspectives. His fourth novel, Paradise (1994), is set in colonial East Africa during the First World War and was shortlisted for the Booker Prize for Fiction. Admiring Silence (1996) tells the story of a young man who leaves Zanzibar and emigrates to England where he marries and becomes a teacher. A return visit to his native country 20 years later profoundly affects his attitude towards both himself and his marriage. By the Sea (2001), is narrated by Saleh Omar, an elderly asylum-seeker living in an English seaside town.
The most famous of these are Paradise, Desertion and By the Sea, the first of which was shortlisted for both the Booker and the Whitbread Prize. By the Sea, meanwhile, was long listed for the Booker and shortlisted for the Los Angeles Times Book Award.

Abdulrazak Gurnah lives in Brighton, East Sussex. His latest novels are Desertion (2005), shortlisted for a 2006 Commonwealth Writers Prize, and The Last Gift (2011).

In 2007 he edited The Cambridge Companion to Salman Rushdie..
Winner of the 2007 RFI Witness of the World Prize for "By the Sea", he received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2021.


- Memory of Departure (1987)
- Pilgrims Way (1988)
- Dottie (1990)
- Paradise (1994)
- Admiring Silence (1996)
- By the Sea (2001)
- Desertion (2005)
- The Last Gift (2011)

Short stories:
- My Mother Lived on a Farm in Africa (2006)


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