2 March, 2023

The Portobello Bookshop, 46 Portobello High St, Portobello, Edinburgh EH15 1DA

The Portobello Bookshop are delighted to be welcoming Leila Aboulela to the bookshop for an event to celebrate her new novel, River Spirit. This historical novel follows seven different characters against the backdrop of 1890s Sudan struggling against British conquest, telling a tale of political corruption, sacrifice and familial ties.

This event will take place in the bookshop with an in-person audience, as well as a livestream for attendees watching from home.

In-person vouchers can be redeemed on the night of the event against a single copy of River Spirit – we will have a list of attendees with vouchers to be redeemed. Please note that only one voucher can be redeemed per book. Livestream vouchers are valid until the day after the event and can be redeemed on our website against a single copy of River Spirit.

About River Spirit:

1890s 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.

Yaseen feels beholden to stand against this false Mahdi, a decision that threatens to splinter his family. Meanwhile, Akuany moves through her young adulthood and across the country alone, sold and traded from house to house, with only Yaseen as her intermittent lifeline. Their struggle mirrors the increasingly bloody struggle for Sudan itself – for freedom, safety, and the possibility of love.

Through the voices of seven men and women whose fates grow inextricably linked, River Spirit illuminates a fraught and bloody reckoning with the history of a people caught in the crosshairs of imperialism. This is a powerful tale of corruption, coming of age, and unshakeable devotion – to a cause, to one’s faith, and to the people who become family.

£3.00 – £16.99
→ Buy Tickets