November 2: Virtually Yours with Leila Aboulela

Leila Aboulela’s River Spirit is the featured book for the series “Virtually Yours,” which runs on November 2, 2023. He will be moderated by Zukiswa Wanner. The event hosted by Goethe-Institut Namibia will run from 4pm GMT, 5pm WAT, 6pm CAT, and 7pm EAT.

Virtually Yours is a regional project of Goethe-Institut Sub Saharan Africa, a series of online discussions with contemporary authors from Africa. “Virtually Yours” aims to create an online platform for avid readers, writers, academics, publishers, agents, and anyone else interested in literature by writers from Africa. The series of online discussions held once a month has featured Kalaf Epalanga, Abubakar Adam Ibrahim, Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor, Oswalde Lewat, Niq Mhlongo, Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi, Tendai Huchu, Natasha Omokhodion-Kalulu Banda, Ondjaki, Ishmael Beah, Siphiwe Gloria Ndlovu, Rémy Ngamije, and Nadifa Mohamed.

The featured guest for this event is Leila Aboulela’s River Spirit.

Leila Aboulela

Leila Aboulela
Leila Aboulela

Leila Aboulela is the inaugural winner of the Caine Prize for African Writing. Her sixth novel, River Spirit, was published in March 2023 and described by the New York Times as ‘dazzling… a novel about war, love, faith, womanhood and, above all, the struggle for truth and public narratives’. Leila’s previous novels include Bird Summons, The Kindness of Enemies, The Translator, Minaret and Lyrics Alley, winner of the Scottish Book Awards for Fiction. Her collection of short stories, Elsewhere, Home, won the Saltire Fiction Book of the Year. Leila’s work has been translated into fifteen languages and she has been shortlisted three times for the Orange Prize (now the Women’s Prize for Fiction). She grew up in Khartoum and moved to Scotland in her mid-twenties, where she now lives. Leila is an Honorary Professor at the WORD Centre, University of Aberdeen, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.

River Spirit

RIver Spirit by Leila Aboulela

1890s Sudan. When Akuany and her brother are orphaned in a village raid, they are taken in by a young merchant, Yaseen, who promises to care for them – a vow that tethers him to Akuany throughout their adulthood. As revolution begins to brew, led by the self-proclaimed Mahdi, 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 is moved 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. River Spirit is the unforgettable story of a people who, against the odds and for a brief time, gained independence from foreign rule through their willpower, subterfuge and sacrifice.

When: Thursday, November 2nd 2023

04:00 PM Universal Time (UTC) Accra
05:00 PM West African Time (WAT) Lagos, Douala
06:00 PM Central African Time (CAT) Windhoek, Johannesburg
07:00 PM East African Time (EAT) Nairobi, Addis Abeba

To register for this event please click here.

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