This short lecture is delivered by Abdulrazak Gurnah, the 2021 winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature.
It is a concise, masterly exposition about the birth of the writing process in the young mind, as well as how, as a mature writer, the author begins to finally see the warped mirror reflecting the reality of the landscape of colonialism, racism and inequality.
In this video essay Abdulrazak Gurnah traces the arc of anger, joy, confusion and the quest for clarity in a troubled world. His writing is, in essence, a tool chipping away at the vaunting edifice of inequality, mis-direction by elites, cruelty and injustice.
It is a long journey from Zanzibar to the University of Kent, but the journey began with a sheet of paper and a pen.
In his opening stanza, Gurnah reads us an excerpt from the writings of Lawrence, that beautifully captures the experience of the young person discovering the illustrative power of reflection…a sensation, a memory, that any putative writer, in any setting will recognise immediately.
Masterly is too slight a word for this video essay, and it will remain laden with meaning and message for all of us as 2021 comes to an end…
We commend it to our readers, as we hopefully await sunnier uplands in 2022.