Leila Aboulela



Known for

Distinguished Author


Hijri 1383–Present (AH); Common Era 1964–Present (CE)

Leila Aboulela


Aboulela is a celebrated author whose literary work focuses on cultural identity and assimilation issues for Muslim expatriates. Religion is also a major theme throughout Aboulela’s work. The daughter of an Egyptian mother and a Sudanese father, she was born in Cairo and raised in Khartoum. She attended Khartoum University and received a degree in Economics. She then moved to London in 1987, where she attended the London School of Economics and obtained a masters degree in statistics. The economic crisis in Sudan and concern for her growing family led Aboulela to stay in Britain. Aboulela and her family then moved to Scotland, where she lectured in Statistics and worked as a part-time research assistant. Living in exile inspired Aboulela to begin writing in 1992; her stories were first broadcast on BBC Radio and published shortly thereafter. She has written several short stories, including The Museum,” which earned her the first-ever Caine Prize for African Writing. Her first novel, The Translator (1999), was long-listed for the Orange Prize for Fiction and shortlisted for the PEN/Macmillan Silver Pen Award. Her second novel, Minaret, was published in 2005. She has also written several radio play broadcasts, including The Mystic Life (2003) and The Lion of Chechnya (2005). The Translator is taught in universities in Sudan.


British Council of Contemporary Writers, “Leila Aboulela: Biography,” at: http://www.contemporarywriters.com/authors/?p=auth519F079C1b0d72542EXnS10B7B07 The Guardian, “Keep the faith,5 June 2005, at: http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2005/jun/05/fiction.features2 Heinemann Authors, “Leila Aboulela,” at: http://books.heinemann.com/authors/1621.aspx