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The power in Gurnah’s writing lies in this ability to complicate the Manichean divisions of enemies and friends, and excavate hidden histories By Lizzy Attree The Nobel Prize in Literature, considered the pinnacle of achievement for creative writers, has been awarded 114 times to 118 Nobel Prize laureates between 1901 and 2021. This year it went to novelist Abdulrazak Gurnah, who was born in Zanzibar, the first Tanzanian writer to win. The last black African writer to win the prize was Wole Soyinka in 1986. Gurnah is the first black writer to win since Toni Morrison in 1993. Charl Blignaut asked Lizzy Attree to describe the winner and share her views on his literary career. Who is Gurnah and what is his place in East African literature? Abdulrazak Gurnah is a Tanzanian writer who writes in English and lives and works in the UK. He was born in Zanzibar, the semi-autonomous island off the east African coast, and studied at Christchurch College Canterbury in 1968. Zanzibar underwent a revolution in 1964 in which citizens of Arab origin were persecuted. Gurnah was forced to flee the country when he was 18.