'One of the world's most prominent postcolonial writers ... He has consistently and with great compassion penetrated the effects of colonialism and its effects on the lives of uprooted and migrating individuals' Anders Olsson, chairman of the Nobel Committee Delivered in London on 7 December 2021, 'Writing' is the lecture of the Nobel Laureate in Literature, Abdulrazak Gurnah. Collected here with three further essays, it explores his coming-of-age, his early experiences in 1960s Britain, the narratives of oceans, his lifelong love affair with reading, and the power of writing to subvert the stories that have been handed to us. Generous, funny and wise, this collection is the perfect introduction to the storyteller described as 'one of Africa's most important living writers'; whose work, now spanning four decades, continues to spin wonder and magic while offering penetrating insight into exile, migration and homecoming. 'In book after book, he guides us through seismic historic moments and devastating societal ruptures while gently outlining what it is that keeps those families, friendships and loving spaces intact' Maaza Mengiste 'A wondrous writer' Philippe Sands
Paradise is Abdulrazak Gurnah's fourth novel, a beautiful story of African life.
BY THE WINNER OF THE 2021 NOBEL PRIZE IN LITERATURE SHORTLISTED FOR THE 2021 ORWELL PRIZE FOR POLITICAL FICTION LONGLISTED FOR THE 2021 WALTER SCOTT PRIZE 'Riveting and heartbreaking ... A compelling novel, one that gathers close all those who were meant to be forgotten, and refuses their erasure' Maaza Mengiste, Guardian 'A brilliant and important book for our times, by a wondrous writer' Philippe Sands, New Statesman, Books of the Year _______________ While he was still a little boy, Ilyas was stolen from his parents by the German colonial troops. After years away, fighting in a war against his own people, he returns to his village to find his parents gone, and his sister Afiya given away. Another young man returns at the same time. Hamza was not stolen for the war, but sold into it; he has grown up at the right hand of an officer whose protection has marked him life. With nothing but the clothes on his back, he seeks only work and security - and the love of the beautiful Afiya. As fate knots these young people together, as they live and work and fall in love, the shadow of a new war on another continent lengthens and darkens, ready to snatch them up and carry them away... _______________ 'One of the world's most prominent postcolonial writers ... He has consistently and with great compassion penetrated the effects of colonialism in East Africa and its effects on the lives of uprooted and migrating individuals' Anders Olsson, chairman of the Nobel Committee 'In book after book, he guides us through seismic historic moments and devastating societal ruptures while gently outlining what it is that keeps those families, friendships and loving spaces intact, if not fully whole' Maaza Mengiste 'Rarely in a lifetime can you open a book and find that reading it encapsulates the enchanting qualities of a love affair ... One scarcely dares breathe while reading it for fear of breaking the enchantment' The Times
Staggering novel of displacement and loss from the critically acclaimed author
By the winner of the 2021 Nobel Prize in Literature 'The elegance and control of Gurnah's writing, and his understanding of how quietly and slowly and repeatedly a heart can break, make this a deeply rewarding novel' Kamila Shamsie, Guardian ________________________ For seven-year-old Salim, the pillars upholding his small universe - his indifferent father, his adored uncle, his treasured books, the daily routines of government school and Koran lessons - seem unshakeable. But it is the 1970s, and the winds of change are blowing through Zanzibar: suddenly Salim's father is gone, and the island convulses with violence and corruption the wake of a revolution. It will only be years later, making his way through an alien and hostile London, that Salim will begin to understand the shame and exploitation festering at the heart of his family's history. ________________________ 'Riveting ... The measured elegance of Gurnah's prose renders his protagonist in a manner almost uncannily real' New York Times 'Glittering ... Each work is different from the last, yet they build into a powerfully evocative oeuvre that keeps coming back to the same questions, in spare, graceful prose, about the ties that bind and the ties that fray' Telegraph 'A colourful tale of life in a Zanzibar village, where passions and politics reshape a family... Powerful' Mail on Sunday
The breakthrough book from the highly acclaimed author of By the Sea
By the winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature 2021 A searing tale of a young woman discovering her troubled family history and cultural past Dottie Badoura Fatma Balfour finds solace amidst the squalor of her childhood by spinning warm tales of affection about her beautiful names. But she knows nothing of their origins, and little of her family history - or the abuse her ancestors suffered as they made their home in Britain. At seventeen, she takes on the burden of responsibility for her brother and sister and is obsessed with keeping the family together. However, as Sophie, lumpen yet voluptuous, drifts away, and the confused Hudson is absorbed into the world of crime, Dottie is forced to consider her own needs. Building on her fragmented, tantalising memories, she begins to clear a path through life, gradually gathering the confidence to take risks, to forge friendships and to challenge the labels that have been forced upon her.
By the winner of the 2021 Nobel Prize in Literature 'There is a wonderful sardonic eloquence to this unnamed narrator's voice' Financial Times 'I don't think I've ever read a novel that is so convincingly and hauntingly sad about the loss of home' Independent on Sunday _____________________ He thinks, as he escapes from Zanzibar, that he will probably never return, and yet the dream of studying in England matters above that. Things do not happen quite as he imagined - the school where he teaches is cramped and violent, he forgets how it feels to belong. But there is Emma, beautiful, rebellious Emma, who turns away from her white, middle-class roots to offer him love and bear him a child. And in return he spins stories of his home and keeps her a secret from his family. Twenty years later, when the barriers at last come down in Zanzibar, he is able and compelled to go back. What he discovers there, in a story potent with truth, will change the entire vision of his life.
By the winner of the 2021 Nobel Prize in Literature An extraordinary depiction of the life of an immigrant, as he struggles to come to terms with the horror of his past and the meaning of his pilgrimage to England ________________________ Dear Catherine, he began. Here I sit, making a meal out of asking you to dinner. I don't really know how to do it. To have cultural integrity, I would have to send my aunt to speak, discreetly, to your aunt, who would then speak to your mother, who would speak to my mother, who would speak to my father, who would speak to me and then approach your mother, who would then approach you. Demoralised by small persecutions and the squalor and poverty of his life, Daud takes refuge in his imagination. He composes wry, sardonic letters hectoring friends and enemies, and invents a lurid colonial past for every old man he encounters. His greatest solace is cricket and the symbolic defeat of the empire at the hands of the mighty West Indies. Although subject to attacks of bitterness and remorse, his captivating sense of humour never deserts him as he struggles to come to terms with the horror of his past and the meaning of his pilgrimage to England.
The debut novel by the winner of the 2021 Nobel Prize in Literature Vehement, comic and shrewd, Abdulrazak Gurnah's first novel is an unwavering contemplation of East African coastal life Poverty and depravity wreak havoc on Hassan Omar's family. Amid great hardship he decides to escape. The arrival of independence brings new upheavals as well as the betrayal of the promise of freedom. The new government, fearful of an exodus of its most able men, discourages young people from travelling abroad and refuses to release examination results. Deprived of a scholarship, Hassan travels to Nairobi to stay with a wealthy uncle, in the hope that he will release his mother's rightful share of the family inheritance. The collision of past secrets and future hopes, the compound of fear and frustration, beauty and brutality, create a fierce tale of undeniable power. ____________________ 'Gurnah is a master storyteller' FINANCIAL TIMES 'Exile has given Gurnah a perspective on the "balance between things" that is astonishing, superb' OBSERVER 'A captivating storyteller' GUARDIAN 'Gurnah etches with biting incisiveness the experiences of immigrants exposed to contempt, hostility or patronising indifference on their arrival in Britain' SPECTATOR
Sold by his father in repayment of a debt, 12-year-old Yusuf is thrown from his simple rural life into the complexities of precolonial urban East Africa. Through Yusuf's eyes, Gurnah depicts communities at war, trading safaris gone awry, and the universal trials of adolescence.
'One of Africa's greatest living writers' Giles Foden Restless, ambitious Ilyas was stolen from his parents by the Schutzruppe askari, the German colonial troops; after years away, he returns to his village to find his parents gone, and his sister Afiya given away. Hamza was not stolen, but was sold; he has come of age in the schutztruppe, at the right hand of an officer whose control has ensured his protection but marked him for life. The century is young. The Germans and the British and the French and the Belgians and whoever else have drawn their maps and signed their treaties and divided up Africa. As they seek complete dominion they are forced to extinguish revolt after revolt by the colonised. The conflict in Europe opens another arena in east Africa where a brutal war devastates the landscape. Hamza does not have words for how the war ended for him. Returning to the town of his childhood, all he wants is work, however humble, and security - and the beautiful Afiya. As these interlinked friends and survivors come and go, live and work and fall in love, the shadow of a new war lengthens and darkens, ready to snatch them up and carry them away.
An astounding meditation on family, self and the meaning of home by the Booker-shortlisted author of Desertion
Barack Obama, via Facebook: "A compelling story of how the transformative events of history weigh on individual lives and relationships."
The Nobel Prize-nominated Kenyan writer's best-known novel, featuring an introduction by Nobel Prize winner Abdulrazak Gurnah
Set in the wake of the Mau Mau rebellion and on the cusp of Kenya's independence from Britain, A Grain of Wheat follows a group of villagers whose lives have been transformed by the 1952-1960 Emergency. At the center of it all is the reticent Mugo, the village's chosen hero and a man haunted by a terrible secret. As we learn of the villagers' tangled histories in a narrative interwoven with myth and peppered with allusions to real-life leaders, including Jomo Kenyatta, a masterly story unfolds in which compromises are forced, friendships are betrayed, and loves are tested.
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These are not fictions. Nor are they testimonies from some distant, brutal past, but the frighteningly common experiences of Europe's new underclass - its refugees.