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Nobel Prize–winner Abdulrazak Gurnah explores Tanzania's colonization in 'Afterlives'

"Afterlives" author Abdulrazak Gurnah
Mark Pringle
"Afterlives" author Abdulrazak Gurnah

In 2021, Abdulrazak Gurnah was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, in recognition of his decades of work focusing on colonialism and the refugee experience.

His newest novel, Afterlives, was originally released in the UK in 2020, and has finally been released here in the US by Riverhead.

I recently spoke with Gurnah about the 20th century German colonization of Tanzania, his publishing process, and the power of language. Here’s our conversation.


Afterlives by Abdulrazak Gurnah was published by Riverhead Books.

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Marginalia was produced at KMUW Wichita.

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Beth Golay is KMUW's Director of Marketing and Digital Content. She is the host of the KMUW podcast Marginalia and co-host with Suzanne Perez of the Books & Whatnot podcast. You can find her on Wichita Transit in conversation with other riders for En Route, a monthly segment on KMUW's weekly news program The Range.