Photography by Vaida V Nairn



I write about what I find moving and disturbing.
Culture-shock or how, again and again, the carpet gets pulled from under our feet.

My fictional worlds reflect Muslim logic. But my characters do not necessarily behave as 'good' Muslims; they are not ideals or role models. They are flawed and complex, trying to practise their faith or make sense of Allah's will, in difficult circumstances.

The early years of my life in Sudan are my bearings and measure. In term of aesthetics, in terms of colours and smells, I am in tune with the Khartoum I knew.

Missing Out Published in Granta 111: Going Back

In his first term at college in London, Majdy wrote letters home announcing that he would not make it, threatening that he would give up and return. To call him on the phone, his mother made several trips to the Central Post Office in Khartoum, sat for hours on the low wooden bench, fanning her face with the edge of her tobe in the stifling heat, shooing away the barefooted children who passed by with loaded trays trying to sell her chewing gum, hairpins and matches.

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The New York Times Saturday Profile

Back to the First Caine Prize – Exclusive Q&A

50 Books by African Women that Everyone Should Read

Top Authors Who Matter Jo Lee Magazine’s Choice

Listen to the Podcast – Muslim Logic in Fictional Narratives a recent talk given at the Al-Waleed Centre

Short Film Leila visits her old school in Khartoum Continue reading


*****Robin Yassin-Kassab reviews Lyrics Alley in Wasafiri.
*****Review of Lyrics Alley in The Economist. In the Boston Globe And in the New York Times
*****Review by Anita Sethi in the Sunday Telegraph and by Aminatta Forna in the Financial Times
*****Interview with Donna Walters Kozberg in Publisher’s Weekly
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Leila Aboulela Copyright 2014
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