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December 2020

Coming into Focus: Sudanese Women Writers

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. 


Book Reviews

As American as Immigration: Małgorzata Szejnert Brings to Life the Many Stories of Ellis Island

Reviewed by Mauricio Ruiz

Drawing on unpublished letters and journals, the Polish journalist always keeps an eye on revealing details in her new book "Ellis Island: A People's History," the result of extensive research into the manifold trajectories of those who set foot on a new continent and helped forge the modern US.

A Bereaved Soldier Looks for Revenge in David Diop’s Disturbing ‘At Night All Blood is Black’

Reviewed by Martha Anne Toll

Via a forceful monologue, Diop's novel creates a tale of revenge with biblical overtones as it looks at the relatively little-known story of Senegalese riflemen fighting in the French army in the First World War.

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The Language of Identity: Kaaps Writing from South Africa

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The Slow Burn of Inner Chaos: Writing from Malaysia

Backstories: Afro-Italian Women Writers

The Queer Issue XII

Movement and Multiplicity: Writing from Mauritania

On the Edge: Writing from Iceland

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