Abdulrazak Gurnah was born in 1948 in Zanzibar. He moved to Britain as a student in 1968. He is the author of ten novels, writing about the effects of colonialism, the refugee experience, and displacement in the world. In 2021, he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.
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. His latest novels are Desertion (2005), shortlisted for a 2006 Commonwealth Writers Prize, The Last Gift (2011), Gravel Heart (2017), and Afterlives (2020). He lives in Canterbury, after retiring as a professor of English at the University of Kent.
What you can't miss:
A novel focusing on those enduring German rule in East Africa at the beginning of the twentieth century. This coming-of-age novel follows the unanchored adolescent lives of Ilyas, Hamza and Afiya disrupted by the First World War, and interrogates the personal and political cost of rebellion.
In the story of two forbidden love affairs and their effects on the lovers’ families, Abdulrazak Gurnah brilliantly dramatizes the personal and political consequences of colonialism, the vicissitudes of love, and the power of fiction..
Gurnah's novel is a painful, unapologetically literate probe into the tragedy of the postcolonial world, where refugees are always emerging, "stunned, into the light of yet another gathering shambles." (June).
Disclaimer: Books by our festival guests will be available during and after the event from our partnering bookshop, Prestige Bookshop