Nobel Prizes Awarded in Local Ceremonies Restricted by Pandemic

Winners of the 2021 Nobel prizes began receiving their awards Monday in scaled-down local ceremonies tailored for times of pandemic.

For the second year in a row, COVID-19 has scuttled the traditional formal banquet in Stockholm attended by the winners of the chemistry, physics, medicine, literature and economics awards, which were announced in October. The Nobel Peace Prize is awarded separately in Oslo, Norway.

Literature laureate Abdulrazak Gurnah was the first to receive his award at a lunchtime ceremony on Monday at the Swedish ambassador’s grand Georgian residence in central London.

Ambassador Mikaela Kumlin Granit said the UK-based Tanzanian author had been awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature for his “uncompromising and compassionate insight into the effects of colonialism and the fate of refugees in the gulf between cultures and continents. ».

“You would usually receive the award from His Majesty, the King of Sweden,” he told Gurnah at the ceremony attended by friends, family and colleagues. “However, this year you will be celebrated with a distance that is imposed on us due to the pandemic.”

Gurnah, who grew up on the island of Zanzibar and came to England as an 18-year-old refugee in the 1960s, has drawn on his experiences to write 10 novels, including “Memory of Departure,” “Pilgrims Way,” and ” Afterlives ». and “Paradise.” He has said that migration “is not just my story, it is a phenomenon of our time.”

Later on Monday, Italian physics laureate Giorgio Parisi will receive his award at a ceremony in Rome. American physics laureate Syukuro Manabe, chemistry laureate David WC MacMillan and economics laureate Joshua D. Angrist will receive their medals and diplomas in Washington.

More ceremonies will take place throughout the week in Germany and the United States. On Friday, the anniversary of the death of the prize’s founder, Albert Nobel, there will be a celebratory ceremony at Stockholm City Hall for a local audience, including King Carl XVI Gustav and high-level Swedish royalty.

A Nobel Prize comes with a diploma, a gold medal, and a cash prize of 10 million crowns ($ 1.15 million), which is shared if there are multiple winners.

The Nobel Peace Prize is awarded in Oslo because Nobel wanted it, for reasons that he kept to himself. On Friday there will be a ceremony for the winners, journalists Maria Ressa from the Philippines and Dmitry Muratov from Russia.

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Norwegian news agency NTB said the peace prize festivities would be reduced, with fewer guests and participants forced to wear face masks. Norway has seen a rebound in cases of the new omicron variant, and a spokesman for the Norwegian Nobel Committee told NTB that it was “in constant contact with the health authorities in Oslo.”

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Nobel Prizes Awarded in Local Ceremonies Restricted by Pandemic