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Coming into Focus: Sudanese Women Writers

December 2020

Image: Yasmeen Abdullah, “The Butterfly Effect.” By arrangement with the artist.

Image: Yasmeen Abdullah, “The Butterfly Effect.” By arrangement with the artist.

Only a small percentage of the literature published in Sudan is written by women, and even less finds its way into English. This month we’re taking a step toward addressing that imbalance by presenting excerpts from five novels by female Sudanese writers. Four of these writers make their English-language debuts here; all five offer compelling portraits of contemporary Sudanese society. Amna al-Fadl interprets a journalist’s recurring dream. Rania Mamoun sees a routine morning disrupted by sudden violence. Zeinab Belail observes a liminal street with a life of its own. Ann El Safi pens a tale of lifelong, and unrequited, devotion. And Sara Al-Jack tracks a young woman obsessed with a mysterious book. Guest editor Sawad Hussain provides an illuminating introduction.