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Leila Aboulela
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Leila Aboulela

Sudan/ UK

Leila Aboulela is a Sudanese writer whose work has received critical recognition and a high profile for its depiction of the interior lives of Muslim women and its distinctive exploration of identity, migration and Islamic spirituality. She is the author of six novels: River Spirit, Bird Summons, Minaret, The Translator, a New York Times 100 Notable Books of the Year, The Kindness of Enemies and Lyrics Alley, Fiction Winner of the Scottish Book Awards. Leila was the first winner of the Caine Prize for African Writing and her latest story collection, Elsewhere, Home won the Saltire Fiction Book of the Year Award. Her work has been translated into fifteen languages and she was long-listed three times for the Orange Prize, (now the Women’s Prize for Fiction). Leila grew up in Khartoum and moved in her mid-twenties to Aberdeen. Attending the Macondo Literary Festival 2023 marks her first ever visit to Kenya.
(Source: author's website)
What you can't miss:

Through the voices of seven men and women whose fates grow inextricably linked, Aboulela’s latest novel illuminates a fraught and bloody reckoning with the history of a people caught in the crosshairs of imperialism. River Spirit is a powerful tale of corruption, coming of age, and unshakeable devotion – to a cause, to one’s faith, and to the people who become family.


The New York Times

Africa in Words

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From the heat of Khartoum at the height of summer to the wintery streets of London, from the concrete high rises in the Gulf to the blustery coast in Aberdeen, this elegant and moving collection vividly evokes the overlapping worlds of Africa, Britain and the Middle East. Beautifully observed and written with empathy, Leila Aboulela’s stories deftly capture the search for home in our fast-changing world.


The Guardian

The Muslim Vibe

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From present day Scotland to the court of the Tsar, The Kindness of Enemies follows the sword and legacy of a legendary warrior. Told with Aboulela’s inimitable elegance and narrated from the point of view of both Natasha, a half Russian, half Sudanese professor of History, and the historical characters she is researching, The Kindness of Enemies is an engrossing story of a provocative period in history and an important examination of what it is to be a Muslim in a post 9/11 world.


The New York Times

The Washington Post

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