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Gurnah's Nobel Prize in Literature highlights overlooked human suffering

NCCU researcher Song Kuo-cheng calls Gurnah’s work ‘post postcolonial literature’

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Tanzanian writer Abdulrazak Gurnah poses for the media in Canterbury, England, Thursday, Oct. 7, 2021. (Steve Parsons/PA via AP)

Tanzanian writer Abdulrazak Gurnah poses for the media in Canterbury, England, Thursday, Oct. 7, 2021. (Steve Parsons/PA via AP)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — National Cheng Chi University (NCCU) Institute of International Relations researcher Song Kuo-cheng (宋國誠) said on Friday (Oct. 8) that Gurnah’s receipt of the Nobel Prize for Literature reflects that contemporary writing has not forgotten “narratives focusing on periphery suffering overlooked by the world.”

In a Facebook post, Song said the Swedish Academy has now awarded three Nobel Prizes in Literature to African postcolonial authors. He told CNA in an interview that one of the most urgent issues the world needs to address is the enormous increase in international refugees.

Song said to a degree, the decision to award Gurnah the Nobel Prize reflects white European reflection on history, as well as their way of seeking redemption and repenting, according to CNA.

For Syrian or African refugees, the decision to leave one’s home is not by choice, as the only thing that awaits them if they stay is death, Song added. He wrote on Facebook that, “Colonialism left behind a ‘crippled Africa,’ and the African people’s struggle to survive hardships continues today.”

He compared Gurnah’s “Paradise” to Joseph Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness,” saying Gurnah adopted a more tender tone to depict historical crimes and guilt against the background of trade. The warmth of Gurnah’s work allows it to delve deeper into humanity and sorrow, as well as historical elements.

Song said this means Gurnah can be considered a “post postcolonial” author, who writes postcolonial literature without aggressive accusations.


Updated : 2021-10-24 02:54 GMT+08:00