Nobel Prize Winning Novelist Abdulrazak Gurnah on Cruelty, Love and Weakness

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A black and white headshot of Abdulrazak Gurnah on the left and a picture of the cover of his book "After Lives."
 (Mark Pringle)

People often like to introduce novelist Abdulrazak Gurnah as a writer who tackles the traumas and aftereffects of colonialism, especially in East Africa. But in accepting the Nobel Prize for literature last year, he made space for the fullness of all lives, not least those living in traumatic places. “Writing cannot be just about battling and polemics, however invigorating and comforting that can be,” he said. “Writing is not about one thing, not about this issue or that, or this concern or another, and since its concern is human life in one way or another, sooner or later cruelty and love and weakness become its subject.” We’ll talk to Gurnah abou his gorgeous novel "After Lives" which is being published in the U.S. this month.


Abdulrazak Gurnah, novelist and author, "After Lives" - winner of the 2021 Nobel Prize in Literature