Abdulrazak Gurnah was born on December 20, 1948 in the Sultanate of Zanzibar. When he was 18, he emigrated to England as a refugee during the Zanzibar Revolution, where Arab citizens faced persecution. Eventually he settled in England. his debut novel, Memories of your departure, Published in 1987. In 1994, his fourth novel, paradise, Shortlisted for the Booker and Whitbread Prize. A few years later, B.Sea (2001) was shortlisted for the Booker Prize. Escape (2005) was a finalist for the Federal Writers Award. In 2006, Ghana was named a Fellow of the Royal Literary Society.
On October 7, 2021, Ghana was awarded the 2021 Nobel Prize in Literature. The reason is “an uncompromising and compassionate penetration of the influence of colonialism and the fate of refugees in the chasm between cultures and continents.” He is the first black writer since Toni Morrison in 1993 and the first African writer since Nadine Gordimer in 1991.
Ghana is Professor Emeritus of English and Postcolonial Literature at the University of Ken, UK. He lives in Canterbury and holds British citizenship.Nobel laureate speaks Scroll.in About what winning means to him, the politics of ‘belonging’ and ‘home’, the injustice of the refugee crisis, and more. Excerpt from conversation:
In your novel, the concept of “home” is scrutinized. admire the silence When gravel heart. Can you tell me how this conflict plays out in your personal life?
Well, “home” is not a simple word or a simple concept for many of us. This is especially true for those who have left their ancestral ties and place of origin.So if you take a book like admire the silence, I am very interested in the process of evacuation, the process of losing a home, and coming to learn to live in another. am. That is, it can sometimes appear to belong to the land of one’s ancestors and not be obligated to deny the land of one’s adoptive children. That’s the bondage that many of us find ourselves in. So that’s what I was specifically looking at in this novel.
One of the interesting things about finding yourself in a different place is that you are often in an unfamiliar place instead of where you think you are. I’m talking about young people, children of refugees and migrants, displaced people, who called any land their own. Think of someone who “belongs” in Zanzibar and somehow ends up in Canterbury, England. And since you are often alone in situations like this, no one can dispute the story you offer about yourself.
i will look into this admire the silence –Especially the temptation to organize your history so that only the good parts are known and heard. . Start telling things that aren’t true. Even well-coordinated and harmless, it’s hard to be a professional liar. It’s easy to lie.
This temptation comes to the fore admire the silence – We lie not because we are malicious, but because we want people to like us. But sooner or later, the lie will become harder to track down, and you’ll arrive at an untrue version of yourself, and how that leads to yet another conflict that needs to be addressed.
of gravel heart, I wanted to understand how the secret works. You are in a new place where no one knows what you have done. You may want to erase yourself from the past, but your family knows the truth and this is not welcome. , or not far away. “Home” continues. It continues in our imagination.
The conflict between bad fathers and father figures is a recurring theme in your novels. gravel heart When paradiseWhy?
Because that’s how things are!I’m not saying my relationship with my father is always at odds, but there are moments of resolution. gravel heart, there are lengthy moments of resolution in which the son and father are trying to understand each other. It doesn’t always work out because of competing ideas, and sometimes parental kindness can even feel hostile to the child. Children who do may find it patronizing or binding. Children think they know better than anyone else what is good for them. This is a timeless conflict between parents and children, especially fathers and children. Of course, it often resolves when the child matures and the father begins to understand the child’s point of view.
It’s time for the son to revise his father’s “teaching method.” Then the child becomes obedient and either pretends to accept whatever is taught or fights back. And this is not an unnecessary battle, they are fighting for their ego.of gravel heart When paradisethese issues become more than temporary tensions.
Come to think of it last gift, which tackles a different kind of father-son relationship. Some reconcile, some don’t. I am interested in family as well as father and son. I have always been interested in how families function and how grief is born out of family kindness. By ignoring or ignoring desires, it can become a source of repression.
Travel is an integral part of your story and is often in dire straits. How has it shaped your storytelling?
I don’t travel much.I only took one long trip [from Zanzibar to England] When I was 18! Many of the travels in my books are based on what I know about other people’s journeys and lives. Travel in such cases is not always leisurely.Therefore the journey you may have read is by boat Also Escape It’s the type of travel I’m familiar with.
I grew up with an awareness of people literally moving across the ocean. Firstly, the usual travel you make and go, and secondly, more importantly, the centuries-long patterning of the people who come to and settle on the coasts of Arabian countries, the West Indies, and East Africa. The second trip didn’t feel like a trip in the true sense of the word. I thought of it as a constant exchange of language, food, religion, etc. Almost everyone from both communities participated in this exchange.
There is another type of travel. to go to Europe. For me, this is more displacement than anything else. A trip to a completely foreign place. This is strange to me and I think it is to many. It’s not just about distance. I’m not sure if the UK is farther from Zanzibar than, say, Kuala Lumpur, but for some reason the eastern locations feel closer. Our thinking was that people came and went from the East, but the West was a place of no return.
As a colorist, what was it like when you published your first book in the UK?
It was great! I had been writing for a long time, even before my first book was published. Of course, this is not just me. You’ve been writing for years and hope to one day be published. And when it finally happens, well, that’s great! You think, Yes, it has been published. No matter how many years pass!
The journey took a long time, and the reader’s reaction came after a while. But again, I can’t say this was a unique experience. Have It will become a staple experience for all writers of color. Your complexion may also play a role, but it’s not the only reason for the delay. So many writers have to hang around for a while before their work finally finds a home and is published. You have to remember that you are dealing with individuals. After all, publishers are individuals.
So if you’re a new writer, your manuscript needs to land on the right desk to be published. And what can you do about it? Not much, except that you have trust and faith in what you do. In the meantime, you can write more books. And when you finally find a publisher who is as excited about your work as you are, that’s of course great.
Would you consider yourself British or a Tanzanian writer?
Well I don’t know. I consider myself both, but I don’t consider myself in either category.But again – I morning those categories. What I will say is this… I am both!
What do you expect from your book? Especially regarding refugees and their stories.
As far as the refugee business is concerned, it is the grave injustice of the times we live in. I don’t think writing changes that. But if so, that would be great.When I write, it’s not what I play in my mind – I don’t write to make people conduct Something is wrong. Write what you know, what you are interested in, what you think you need to talk about. What it accomplishes… not in my hands.
Finally, what is a Nobel Prize winner?
Life is actually pretty good! Victory makes your time more valuable and tells you what you can do with it. This is very good, especially when it happens after a lifetime of writing. But most of all, I know that your books are widely read and translated, and that people like you want to talk to me about my books and writing career. It’s great to be there. It’s all so good!