Out of Africa: East African Politics and Displaced Communities in the Novels of Abdulrazak Gurnah


Course Description

In his novels, Tanzanian-born British novelist Abdulrazak Gurnah is concerned with themes of exile, displacement, and belonging as related to colonialism, war, and emigration. Winner of the 2021 Nobel Prize for Literature, Gurnah was singled out for his compassionate representation of the refugee “in the gulf between cultures and continents.” 

In this course, we will read three of his novels, all exploring these themes under different guises: Paradise (1994); By the Sea (2001) and Afterlives (2020). We will ask a variety of questions as we read: How are origin stories complicated by leaving one place and going to another? How is identity fractured by the empire-building of colonialism—and then by emigration? What situations are responsible for states of displacement? Is fighting for your conqueror an act of desertion? How do you retrieve your past without denying or negating your present—and your future? 

To help frame some of these questions, we will turn to corollary texts such as Nancy Huston’s Losing North: Musings on Land, Tongue and Self and Anna Badkhen’s Bright Unbearable Reality: Essays. 

Books to Purchase (will be available at Argo Bookshop during the weeks prior to the course beginning):

  • Abdulrazak Gurnah, Afterlives, Bloomsbury (ISBN: 9781526615893)
  • Abdulrazak Gurnah, Paradise, New Press (ISBN: 9781565841635)
  • Abdulrazak Gurnah, By The Sea, Penguin (ISBN: 9780593541999)


Please call 514-935-9585 or e-mail info@thomasmore.qc.ca if you are interested in being added to the waitlist for this course. You will be contacted if space opens up.

Course Details

Location: Atwater

First Session: Tuesday, September 19th, 2023

Course Length: 12 weeks, Tuesdays, 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Leaders: Munirah Amra, Eileen Curran, Louise Jarrett       

Degree Credit: 3.0 credits

Course Fee: 

$150.00 (standard tuition)
$100.00 (promotion for new students)

Administrative Fee:



$185.00 (standard tuition)

$135.00 (promotion for new students)


Course fees are refundable in full before the second session. After the second session, a fee of $50 for the withdrawal will be applied. Refunds will not be issued after the third session. Please note that non-attendance does not constitute a withdrawal.

Students pursuing studies for credit are encouraged to consult with their advisers as they register for courses.

Course leaders, and students wishing to use credit vouchers, should call (514) 935-9585 to pay by phone or to schedule an appointment to pay in person.

Questions? Stuck? Give us a call at (514) 935-9585
or email us at info@thomasmore.qc.ca