10 March, 2023

The Yellow, 1 Humphry Repton Lane Wembley Park HA9 0GL

Join Golden Threads in conversation with highly acclaimed and award-winning author, Leila Aboulela about her new spellbinding novel ‘River Spirit.’

Award-winning author of numerous novels including Bird Summons, The Kindness of Enemies, The Translator – a New York Times book of the year, Minaret, Lyrics Alley and many more, speaks to Golden Threads and An-Nisa Society about her spellbinding new novel, River Spirit. The story revolves around an embattled young woman in the years leading up to the British conquest of Sudan

1880s Sudan. When Akuany and her brother Bol are orphaned in a village raid, they’re taken in by a young merchant, Yaseen, who promises to care for them: a vow that tethers him to Akuany through their adulthood. As a revolutionary leader rises to power – the self-proclaimed Mahdi, prophesied redeemer of Islam – Sudan begins to prise itself from Ottoman rule, and everyone must choose a side.


Leila Aboulela’s work is characterised by its distinctive exploration of identity, migration and Islamic spirituality. Highlighting the challenges facing Muslims in Europe and “telling the stories of flawed complex characters who struggle to make choices using Muslim logic”, Aboulela’s work explores significant political issues. Her personal faith and the move, in her mid-twenties, from Sudan to Scotland, are a major influence on her work.

Leila Aboulela’s works have been included in cultural educational programs supported by the British Council and the National Endowment for the Humanities in the US. One of her short stories ‘Something Old, Something New’, about a young Scottish man from Edinburgh who visits his fiancée’s family in Sudan, is included in the GCSE English Literature syllabus.

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