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FEMRITE honours TZ Nobel laureate

Prof Abdulrazak Gurn

Prof Abdulrazak Gurn

The Uganda Women Writers Association (FEMRITE) starting today hosts a three-day international conference on literature to honour the life and works of Abdulrazak Gurnah.

The conference takes place at Kyambogo University, November 22 to 24, 2023. FEMRITE is working with the Pan-African Writers Association (PAWA) and Kyambogo University, with other key partners in the arts and literary sector, to honour the Tanzanian national Prof Abdulrazak Gurnah who is the 2021 Nobel Prize for Literature laureate.

To emphasise Gurnah’s feat, a statement by FEMRITE said the Nobel Prize, which started in 1901, has so far been awarded to 954 individuals, of whom only 1.7 per cent are blacks. Gurnah is the first in East Africa to receive this prestigious and financial prize.

The conference will feature two keynote addresses, paper presentations, panel discussions, audio-visual screenings and exhibitions. It will also accommodate four book launches: Kamaliloka Lawino, a translation of Song of Lawino into Lumasaba, by Lucy Sophie Lunyolo; Nalule’s Travels and Adventures, by Helen Liebling; When We Heard Echoes, by Taban el Tablaz Nassur; and Mourning Glory by Egara Kabaji.

With theme,‘Celebrating the life and works of Abdulrazak Gurnah for the future of African literature’, the keynote speakers are Prof Tina Steiner of Stellen-bosch University and Dr Godwin Siundu of Nairobi University.


Abdulrazak Gurnah was born in Zanzibar in 1948, but he migrated to Britain following the Zanzibar revolution of 1964. He won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2021, with the official citation for the award stating that he deserved it, “for his uncompromising and compassionate penetration of the effects of colonialism and the fates of the refugee in the gulf between cultures and continents.”

The Tanzanian-born British academic and novelist has 10 novels and many short stories and essays to his name. His novels focus on effects of colonialism, refugee and immigrant experiences and wars, and displacement across the world.

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