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From his upbringing in a British colony to his Nobel Prize

From his upbringing in a British colony to his Nobel Prize


Born on the island of Zanzibar off the coast of East Africa, it is now a self-governing island kingdom in a union with Tanzania. Much of Abd al-Razzaq Jarna’s literature and academic work has been colored by his upbringing in a British colony that gained its peaceful independence in 1963. His mother tongue is Swahili.


He goes into exile in the UK and begins studying at the University of London, among other things due to persecution in his homeland. Under the regime of President Abeid Karume, the Muslim population of Arab origin, an ethnic group to which Gouma belongs, is being persecuted, threatened, and killed. He did not return home until 1984 to meet his elderly father.


PhD at the University of Kent in Canterbury after previously teaching at a university in Nigeria. He later remained loyal to his British university for many years and taught literature focusing on post-colonialism and the diaspora until his recent retirement.


Debuts with Memory of Departure, a sharp and entertaining novel set in a bustling coastal city in East Africa during the post-independence years from Great Britain. Narrator Hassan, a teenage boy on the run from a violent father, ends up in Nairobi in the hands of a suspicious uncle.


He was nominated for a Booker Prize and a Whitbread Prize for his development novel Paradise, which remains one of his most internationally acclaimed titles. The book is set in Muslim East Africa in the early twentieth century, when the region was on the verge of mass European colonization. Here ancient Swahili culture and German and British colonization meet.

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Nominated for a Los Angeles Times Book Award for the mystery novel By the Sea, an intimate tale of migration set between Zanzibar and London and revolving around Saleh, who lands in Gatwick with a mahogany box containing his dearest possession: incense.


Comprehensive working editor “The Cambridge Companion to Salman Rushdie” delves into Rushdie’s writings and the drama surrounding the fatwa that afflicted Rushdie after The Verses of Satan in the late 1980s. He has also written articles for other authors such as VS Naipaul, Wole Soyinka and Zoë Wicomb.


The first book in Swedish, “Paradist” (“Paradise”), was published in translation by Helena Hansson at Lund-based Cylanders Publishing. The same publisher also translated the novel The Last Gift (The Last Gift), which was published in Sweden three years later and revolved around some of Gourna’s favorite themes of exile and guilt.


Received the Nobel Prize in Literature, he is the sixth author in the history of the Nobel Prize for having roots on the African continent. Previous winners are Albert Camus (1957), Wole Soyinka (1986), Naguib Mahfouz (1988), Nadine Gordimer (1991) and JM Coetzee (2003). Jorneh, who lives in Brighton, will receive the award during the digital ceremony.