The Nobel Prize in Literature is one of the awards that the Swedish philanthropist Alfred Nobel he left commissioners in his will, and with these it is intended to celebrate the writers who contribute the most to world literature. In 2021 the winner is the writer Abdulrazak Gurnah, from the African country of Tanzania, who has been recognized “for his uncompromising and compassionate penetration of the effects of colonialism and the fate of the refugee in the gulf between cultures and continents.”
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Abdulrazak Gurnah He was born on December 20, 1948 in Zanzibar. According to El País, at the end of the sixties he went as a refugee to the United Kingdom. In 1982 he obtained a doctorate from the University of Kent, where he is still a professor and director of undergraduate studies in the English department. Gurnah he has focused on postcolonialism and colonialism in Africa, the Caribbean, and India.
In Spanish we can find three of his novels, Paraíso (1996), Precario Silencio (1998) and On the shore (2003), but surely with the Nobel Prize several publishers will seek to publish more of his work translated into Spanish. Gurnah is also the author of two volumes of Essays on African Writing, and articles on postcolonial writers such as VS Naipaul, Salman rushdie and Zoë Wicomb.
The Nobel Prize winner writes in English and currently lives in the UK. He is most famous for the novels Paradise (1994), By the Sea (2001) and Desertion (2005). In addition to the fact that the Nobel Prize in Literature will drive more translations of his previous works, it is possible that Hollywood will acquire the rights to his novels to be brought to the big screen.
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Cinema and literature have maintained a constant dialogue since the emergence of the seventh art; Literature has been with us for much longer than cinema and that is why the latter has learned a lot from the great literary works and movements. Most of the films that reach the big screen, television or streaming, are based on literary works, ranging from novels, biographies and journalistic works to comics.
In fact, great film classics have been based on works by Nobel Prize winning writers in Literature; some prominent examples are The Vineyards of Wrath – 100%, directed by John Ford and based on the homonymous book by John Steinbeck, who won the Nobel Prize in 1962. Other of his works that were made into a movie and are now considered classics are East of Eden – 88% and ¡Viva Zapata! – 65%.
Doctor Zhivago – 83%, directed by David Lean, is based on the novel of the same name by Boris Pasternak, a Russian writer who won a Nobel Prize in 1958. The film was nominated for an Oscar for Best Picture and Best Director, and won in the Best Picture categories. Screenplay Based on Another Medium, Best Photography (color), Best Art Direction, Best Costume Design and Best Soundtrack.
Examples such as the above are abundant and would require an article by themselves, but we can also mention the most recent case of the Japanese-British Kazuo Ishiguro, winner of the 2017 Nobel Prize in Literature, and from whom some novels have been adapted, such as What remains of the day, directed by James Ivory, and starring Anthony Hopkins, Emma Thompson and Christopher Reeve. There’s also the 2010 adaptation of Never Leave Me – 71%, by Mark Romanek, which featured performances by Carey Mulligan, Keira Knightley and Andrew Garfield.
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