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Celebrated Kenyan Novelist Ngugi wa Thiong’o has lost Nobel Prize to a little known Tanzanian


Celebrated Kenyan novelist Ngugi wa Thiong’o has once again lost the Nobel Prize for Literature which went to little-known Tanzanian author Abdulrazak Gurnah.

Gurnah was named the winner of the prize by the Nobel panel in a ceremony by the Swedish Academy that took place on Thursday, October 7

Wa Thiong’o, recognised as Africa’s greatest author, has been a close contender for almost a decade – alongside other globally recognised writers including French writer Annie Ernaux, Japanese author Haruki Murakami, Canada’s Margaret Artwood Antiguan-American writer Jamaica Kincaid.

While awarding the 73-Year-Old Tanzanian the prize, the academy explained that they recognised him for his “uncompromising and compassionate penetration of the effects of colonialism and the fate of the refugee in the gulf between cultures and continents.”

The award is accompanied with a gold medal and the participants also win Ksh114 million (US$1.14 million).

“Gurnah’s dedication to truth and his aversion to simplification are striking. His novels recoil from stereotypical descriptions and open our gaze to a culturally diversified East Africa unfamiliar to many in other parts of the world,” stated the academy.

Gurnah is a Tanzanian Novelist based in the United Kingdom and writes his novels in the English language.

In 2020, the prize was awarded to American Poet Loise Glück describing that she had unmistakable poetic voice that with austere beauty makes individual existence universal.”

While giving the award, the judges do not look at a particular book from the author but rather the impact from a writer’s work over a period of time.

When he lost in 2020, wa Thiong’o downplayed his loss noting that he did not write his novels with the aim of bagging the prize.

He further noted that he had valued the ‘Nobel of the heart’ instead.

Previously, the Kenyan author has lost the award to American singer, author and visual artist Bob Dylan (2016) and British novelist Kazuo Ishiguro (2017).

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