Leila Aboulela

Leila Aboulela was announced the winner of best fiction book award at the Scottish Saltire Literary Prize 2018 at a ceremony in Edinburgh, Scotland on November 30th, 2018.

The Saltire Literary Awards were founded to recognise books which are either by “living authors of Scottish descent or residing in Scotland,” or which deal with “the work or life of a Scot or with a Scottish question, event or situation.

Aberdeen-based writer from Sudan, Leila Aboulela, won the best fiction book prize for a short story collection Elsewhere, Home on the lives of immigrants “as they forge new identities and reshape old ones.” She would go home with 2,000 pounds for her work beating out five other worthy entries in her category. Her book has the following blurb;

From one of our finest contemporary writers whose work has been praised by J.M. Coetzee, Ali Smith and Aminatta Forna, Leila Aboulela’s Elsewhere, Home offers us a rich tableau of life as an immigrant abroad.

A young woman’s encounter with a former classmate elicits painful reminders of her former life in Khartoum. A wealthy Sudanese student in Aberdeen begins an unlikely friendship with a Scottish man. A woman experiences an evolving relationship to her favourite writer, whose portrait of their shared culture both reflects and conflicts with her own sense of identity.

Shuttling between the dusty, sun-baked streets of Khartoum and the university halls and cramped apartments of Aberdeen and London, Elsewhere, Home explores, with subtlety and restraint, the profound feelings of yearning, loss and alienation that come with leaving one’s homeland in pursuit of a different life.

Leila Aboulela was born in Cairo, brought up and studied economics at a university in Khartoum before studying at the London School of Economics. She is the author of five novels: Bird Summons (due for publication in March 2019), The Kindness of Enemies, The Translator (a New York Times 100 Notable Books of the Year), Minaret and Lyrics Alley (Fiction Winner of the Scottish Book Awards). She was the first winner of the Caine Prize for African Writing back in 2000.

Click here to read more about the winners in the other categories.