Leila Aboulela's picture

Leila Aboulela

Sudan (b.1964)

Leila Aboulela was born in 1964 and grew up in Khartoum, learning English at an American primary school and later at The Sisters' School, a private Catholic school. She took a degree in Economics at the University of Khartoum and then travelled to Britain to study for an M.Sc. in Statistics at the London School of Economics. In 1990 she moved to Scotland with her husband and their three children. She started writing in 1992 while lecturing in Statistics and working as a part-time Research Assistant. Her first stories were broadcast on BBC Radio and an anthology Coloured Lights was published by Polygon in 2001. The Translator was first published to critical acclaim in 1999. It was long-listed for the Orange Prize 2000 and also long-listed for the IMPAC Dublin Literary Awards 2001. Leila Aboulela won the Caine Prize for African Writing in 2000 for 'The Museum', published in Heinemann's short-story collection, Opening Spaces.

Genres: Literary Fiction, General Fiction
Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction Best Book nominee (2006) : Minaret
Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction Best Book nominee (2011) : Lyrics Alley

Leila Aboulela recommends
My Name Is Salma (2007)
Fadia Faqir
"Exquisitely woven."
Swallow (2010)
Sefi Atta
"Tender, fierce, vivid and memorable -- a bold, distinctive novel from a writer who doesn't compromise her integrity"
The Bamboo Stalk (2015)
Saud Alsanousi
"Bold, heartfelt...A narrative with power and resonance."
Born on a Tuesday (2016)
Elnathan John
"[An] impressive debut . . . I was carried along by the endearing voice of the young, sensitive narrator, his instinctive goodness and intelligence in making sense and finding beauty in the brutality, poverty, and oppression surrounding him. The novel manages to pull off two aims at the same time?giving the reader a sophisticated understanding of contemporary Nigerian politics and the pleasure of a tender and classy coming of age story."
Scabby Queen (2020)
Kirstin Innes
"A warm, gritty, capacious take on the endearing theme of the fallen star. Irresistible."
Crooked Hallelujah (2020)
Kelli Jo Ford
"Startling close-ups of the sticky relationship between mothers and daughters, between body and nature, between childhood certainties and adult skepticism. Kelli Jo Ford's writing is heartfelt and brimming with talent. This is a stunning, awe-inspiring debut."
The Red Children (2022)
Maggie Gee
"Stylish and intriguing. A charming, sparkling jewel of a novel to be cherished and held high as an antidote to modern day bleakness and climate despair."
Things They Lost (2022)
Okwiri Oduor
"A wondrous newborn - mewling, dewy, twinkling, gurgling a tale steeped in the acrid surrealism of childhood, populated by wicked wraiths and held together by the vicious spell mothers can cast on their daughters."

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