Sudanese literature are both oral as well as written works of fiction and nonfiction that were created during the cultural history of today's Republic of the Sudan. This includes the territory of what was once Anglo-Egyptian Sudan, the independent country's history since 1956 as well as its changing geographical scope in the 21st century.
Even though there exist records about historical societies in the area called Sudan, like the Kingdom of Kush in Nubia, little is known about the languages and the oral or written literature of these precursors of the Sudan of today. Moreover, the notion of Bilad al-Sudan, from which the name of the modern country is derived, referred to a much wider geographic region to the south of the Sahara, stretching from western to eastern Central Africa.
Like in many African countries, oral traditions of diverse ethnic or social groups have existed since time immemorial, but a modern written Sudanese literature can only be traced back to the beginning of the 20th century. Through the publication of written literature in Sudanese newspapers and books, as well as through formal, non-religious education in the 20th century and beyond, a modern Sudanese literature of fiction and nonfiction in Arabic began to appear. Today, electronic media, which often rely on written texts, connect people in Sudan with their compatriots at home as well as in the world-wide Sudanese diaspora. Some contemporary writers who have Sudanese roots and live in other countries, like Leila Aboulela or Jamal Mahjoub, write in English. Together with translations of original works written in Arabic, they have made fictional literature about Sudan accessible to an international audience.
Historical precursors of literature in SudanEdit
The oldest existing records of the precursors of a distinctive Sudanese literature can be dated to about 300 BCE and were written in the Meroitic script. These historical records, such as inscriptions on sandstone, bear testimony of the kings of Kush or deities of the Kushite culture in northern Sudan. During the Christianization of Nubia in the sixth century CE, the Kushite language and cursive script were replaced by Byzantine Greek, Coptic, and Old Nubian languages, with texts relating both to religion, to public affairs or to private life. From the fourteenth century onwards, Arabic gradually became the primary language in Nubia and, with the spread of Islam, developed into the main written and spoken language for religious and secular affairs in most other parts of Sudan.
A rare historical record written in the early 19th century by Shaykh Ahmad ibn al-Hajj Abi Ali (b. 1784-5) and other early Sudanese historians are the Arabic manuscripts called The Funj Chronicle. These manuscripts, preserved in several versions by different authors, present a history of the Funj sultanate (1504–1821) and its capital at Sennar, on the Blue Nile, and of the Turco-Egyptian regime that succeeded it. The manuscripts were edited as an annotated translation under the title "The Sudan of the Three Niles" in 1999 by British historian Peter M. Holt. In her review of this edition, historian Heather J. Sharkey wrote: "Along with the Tabaqat of Wad Dayf Allah (a biographical dictionary of Sudanese Muslim holy men compiled in the late eighteenth century), the Funj Chronicle is the most important Arabic source for the northern riverain Sudan in the Funj era, a period when Islam was spreading widely."
Traditional and modern forms of oral literatureEdit
Literature in contemporary Sudan is either recited orally or written in the Arabic language, with certain types also in local languages, such as poetry in the Fur language of western Sudan. As in other African countries, both written literature and genres of oral tradition, such as folk tales, proverbs or poems, are common, but depend on their social setting, such as in rural, partly illiterate or in urban educated societies. These oral types of storytelling may be simply recited by individuals or by groups of persons, or they may be accompanied by singing and musical accompaniments, thus transgressing the theoretical definition of literature and music.
"Long before the novel and short story became known as literary genres, Sudanese literature existed in the form of oral stories and narrative poems, most of which, until recently, were transmitted from one generation to the next.", as literary critic Eiman El-Nour put it in his seminal paper The Development of Contemporary Literature in Sudan.
Among the living oral traditions, there are the Ahaji folk tales and the Madih, or religious praise tales. The first kind generally have a mythological and often local character. According to literary critic Eiman El-Nour, "they invariably have happy endings and are full of fanciful scenes and superstitions that describe the magic powers of genies and ogres." Madih, the other kind of poetry is typically recited by a singer and chorus, and has a religious character, praising the prophet Muhammad or revered religious leaders.
From the beginning of modern written literature, and going back to age-old oral traditions, poetry and songs have been the most popular genres in Sudan. Before independence, poems and the lyrics of songs were expressions of nationalism and other political issues. Khalil Farah (1892–1932) was an important poet, and his patriotic verses have been used in popular songs like "Azza fī Hawāk" (My beloved Azza). was . Poetry and songs continue to occupy a prominent role in Sudanese culture. Songs celebrating the beauty of the land, its regions and scenery have been very popular in modern music since at least the 1930s. During modern times of political oppression, these forms of oral literature have been expressions of resistance towards the rulers of the day, and have led to the imprisonment or exile of poets like Mahjoub Sharif (1948–2014) or musicians like Mohammed Wardi (1932–2012).
A traditional form of oral poetry are the songs of praise or ridicule by female singers of Western Sudan, called Hakamat. These are women of high social standing, respected for their eloquence, intuition and decisiveness, who may both incite or vilify the men of their tribe, when engaged in feuds with other tribes. The social impact of these Hakamat can be exceptionally strong. Because of this, they have recently been invited by peacebuilding initiatives in Darfur in order to exert their influence for conflict resolution or other social issues, like environmental protection. Other forms of popular oral literature are Sudanese folk tales, often narrated by female storytellers.
In the 21st century, contemporary forms of oral literature in urban settings as an expression of identity, political resistance or visions of the future include the forms of spoken word poetry, political slogans, rap, or hip hop music that preceded and accompanied the Sudanese Revolution of 2018/19.
The beginnings of modern Sudanese literatureEdit
In the Sudan, as in other Third World countries, an inherent respect for the spoken word has created an awareness of the intimate links between language, literature and social reality. (...) This awareness of the intimate links between language and society causes the Sudanese writers' conception of literature to be more holistic than the view of his Western counterpart. It is believed that "Art" has always been in the service of man.— Constance E. Berkley (1981), "The Contours of Sudanese Literature", p. 109.
Moreover, literary scholar Constance E. Berkley states that "Sudanese Arabic literature has links with all Arabic literature, both past and present. At the same time, it is valid in its own right. Among the Sudanese, as among other African and/or Arabic speaking people, poetry is the preferred literary form." On the further issue of writing in Arabic with a distinct Sudanese character, the Sudanese poet and critic Mohammed Abdul-Hayy writes: "Muhammad Ahmed Mahgoub was one of the leading literary spokesmen who (...) expressed the idea of a Sudanese literature 'written in Arabic, but infused with the idiom of our land, because this (idiom) is what distinguishes a literature of one nation from another.'"
Although there were several newspapers published in Sudan around the beginning of the 20th century, like Jaridat al-Sudan, a biweekly paper published in Arabic and English first printed in 1903, arguably the most important newspaper in terms of impact on modern Sudanese literature was Al-Ra'id (The Pioneer). This newspaper, published in Arabic, started in Khartoum, the Sudanese capital, in 1914 and presented a variety of poetry and other literary forms. Its first editor was the well-known poet and journalist Abdul Raheem Glailati. In 1917, the British authorities deported him to Cairo because of his article criticising the poor living conditions of Sudanese. Despite this, he later could publish a collection of revolutionary, nationalist poetry in 1924. In 1934, the literary journal Al Fajr (The Dawn) was founded and became known for publishing the first Sudanese short stories.
Another important factor for the development of written literature in Sudan was the spread of modern educational institutions, like the Gordon Memorial College in Khartoum and other non-religious schools in major cities like Omdurman or Wad Madani. Before this development, the only books available for education were those written in Arabic. Schooling in the English language also provided Sudanese intellectuals with access to English literature, translations from other Western languages and to non-fictional publications on world-wide issues.
Apart from poetry, the most prominent literary genre in Sudan is the short story. This form of writing started in the 1920s and was largely influenced by Arabic short stories in Egyptian newspapers. Since the period preceding the independence of Sudan in 1956, short stories and novels have dealt with political and social issues, as well as with the question of the country's complex cultural identity. This central theme of what it means to be Sudanese is marked in more or lesser degrees by both African roots as well as by Arabic cultural influences. It also gave the name to a group of writers of the 1960s, comprising Al-Nur Osman Abkar, Mohammed Abdul-Hayy, Ali El-Makk or Salah Ahmed Ibrahim, called The Forest and Sahara school, where forest stands for the rainforests of the South and sahara for the deserts of Northern Sudan.
A Sudanese journalist and renowned poet in the Arabic literary world was Muhammad al-Fayturi (1936–2015), whose extensive poetic work "particularly draws upon his experience as an African living among Arabs, and thus addresses issues such as race, class and colonialism."
In line with social and political developments in other countries at the time, stories, novels and poems dealing with social realist themes, like the conflicts between social classes were also written in Sudan. These were spurred on by Sudanese academics, who were returning home from studying in Egypt or in European countries. Literary critic Eiman El-Nour states that a novel by the title of "Al-Faragh al-'arid" (The vast emptiness or The wide hollowness) was the first "true example" of this type. Published in 1970, after the death of its author Malkat Ed-Dar Mohamed, the work reportedly caused quite a stir, having been written both by a woman and dealing with themes of social reality.
Arguably the most notable Sudanese writer is Tayeb Salih (1929–2009), who wrote both novels and short stories. His most famous work, translated as Season of Migration to the North and published in 1966, deals with the coming of age of a student returning to Sudan from England. The novel was banned in the author's native Sudan for a period of time, because of its sexual imagery, but today it is readily available. It became famous among Arabic readers across the region, was included in Banipal magazine's list of the 100 Best Arabic Novels, and has been translated into more than twenty languages.
Ibrahim Ishaq (1946–2021) was a Sudanese novelist and short story writer, whose narrative works are mostly set in his native Darfur region of western Sudan. From 1969 on, he published six novels and three collections of short stories, as well as academic studies about the history and literature of Africa. Through his subject-matters and appropriate local elements of language, he introduced the life and culture of Darfur to readers in other parts of the country.
Contemporary Sudanese literature in ArabicEdit
According to the editor and translator of The Book of Khartoum, Max Shmookler, Sudanese literature of the late 20th century is characterized by an "association between estrangement (ghurba) and the West (al-gharb)" that "has run deep in Sudanese society and literature." This cultural contrast between a largely conservative society, even in the urban centres, and the growing influence of a globalized world, is reflected in the choice of characters and plots of many contemporary authors. Examples for this contrast and estrangement can be found in Tayeb Salih's Season of Migration to the North, but also in stories about human tragedy, like the pandemic in Amir Taj al-Sir's novel Ebola 76 or in the short story Isolation by one of the youngest authors, Sabah Sanhouri.
Here we find the tension between Sudanese society as it is and how it might have been and could, perhaps, still become. This is the tension between the present state of conflict — over resources, political power, and identity — and the nostalgia for a more harmonious past, or perhaps the aspiration for a different type of future.— Max Shmookler, Biting their Mother-Tongue: Three Sudanese Short-Stories about Estrangement
Other recurrent themes are the "undeniable and long history of conflict and political turbulence", caused by authoritarian governments, for example in the political poems of Mahjoub Sharif, violent clashes between militias and impoverished human beings in Abdelaziz Baraka Sakin's novels or discrimination and violence against women, told by female authors like Rania Mamoun or Stella Gaitano. Among contemporary Sudanese poets Mahjoub Sharif is remembered for his poems "for freedom, full with music, witty, agitating, but always didactic." As literary critic Magdi El Gizouli wrote in his obituary for Sharif: "A school teacher by training, this secular prophet spoke truth to power in a creative language that readily transformed into powerful memes, and as a consequence landed him habitually in the detention cells of Sudan’s military rulers."
Political discrimination has also affected the Sudanese Writers Union, which was founded in 1985 in order to promote freedom of expression and to bring together writers of different cultural groups. It was dissolved by the military government of Omar al-Bashir in 1989 and could only be revived from 2006 onwards. After ten years of activities in the general context of suppression of free expression, it was closed down again in 2015, but upon a court ruling in 2016, the Union managed to resume its activities.
The list of Sudanese literary authors with works translated into English comprises both established as well as recent male and female writers:
Bushra Elfadil, (born 1952), a former lecturer of Russian literature at the University of Khartoum, and now living in exile in Saudi Arabia, won the prestigious Caine Prize in 2017 with "The Story of the Girl Whose Birds Flew Away". This short story has been called "a mix of classical traditions as well as the vernacular contexts of its location" and was first published in The Book of Khartoum.
Born in Cairo of Sudanese parents in 1959, Tarek Eltayeb has been living in Vienna, Austria, since 1984. In addition to seven books in Arabic, he has published his poetry, novels and short stories in German translation. His novel Cities Without Palms tells the story of a young man from Sudan, who first migrated to Egypt and then further on to Europe.
Another Sudanese writer of international recognition is Amir Taj al-Sir, born in 1960. He has published more than a dozen books, including poetry and nonfiction. His first novel Karmakul came out in 1988, and his novel The Hunter of the Chrysalises was shortlisted for the 2011 International Prize for Arabic Fiction, mentored by the Booker Prize Foundation in London.
Abdelaziz Baraka Sakin (born 1963) has written several popular novels and collections of short stories, including al-Jango, which deals with the conditions in a women's prison and won the Al-Tayeb Salih Award for Creative Writing. His books were initially sold in local bookstores, but later confiscated and banned by the Sudanese authorities and were subsequently only available outside of Sudan. His novel The Messiah of Darfur, which takes place in the context of the civil war in Darfur, was translated into French in 2016. Since 2012, Baraka Sakin has lived in exile in Austria and has been invited to a number of literary festivals in France and Germany.
Mansour El Souwaim, (born 1970), has released two novels and two collections of short stories. His second novel, entitled Memoirs of the Wicked, received the Tayeb Salih Award for Creative Writing in 2005.
Hamed al-Nazir (born 1975), a Sudanese journalist and novelist living in Qatar, has published three acclaimed novels. Two of them, The Waterman's Prophecy and The Black Peacock were longlisted for the prestigious International Prize for Arabic Fiction.
Hammour Ziada, (born 1979), has published several volumes of fiction in Arabic, and is best known for his second novel Shawq al-darwīsh (The Longing of the Dervish), which won the Naguib Mahfouz Prize in 2014 and was also nominated for the 2015 International Prize for Arabic Fiction. This novel and several of his stories have appeared in English translation, including in the anthology The Book of Khartoum (Comma Press, 2016) as well as in Banipal magazine.
Stella Gaitano, born in Khartoum of parents from southern Sudan in 1979, has published both short stories and a novel in Arabic that have been translated into English. She grew up and studied in Khartoum, and writes stories often dealing with the harsh living conditions of people from southern Sudan, who have endured discrimination and military dictatorship, or war and displacement in the northern part of Sudan.
Rania Mamoun (born 1979) is another contemporary female writer, who has written novels and short stories, translated as Thirteen Months of Sunrise. Several of her stories have appeared in English translation, including in The Book of Khartoum, Banthology and in Banipal literary magazine.
Sabah Sanhouri (born 1990), is a cultural essayist and literary author from Khartoum, who writes prose as well as poetry. Her story "Isolation" won the Al-Tayeb Salih Award for Creative Writing in 2009 and was published both in Arabic, and later in a French and English translation. Mirrors, her first collection of short stories, came out in Egypt and Sudan in 2014, and in 2019, she published her first novel, entitled Paradise.
In an article about Sudanese female novelists, Sawad Hussain, who has translated several novels from Arabic to English, discusses the difficulties of literature by Sudanese female authors, like Amna al-Fadl, Ann El Safi, Rania Mamoun, Sara Al-Jack, or Zeinab Belail, to be translated and published in English. In the same article, Sawad Hussain mentions a bibliography of the Sudanese novel by Nabil Ghali that lists 476 novels published in Arabic in Sudan from 1948 to 2015, and 314 of them between 2000 and 2015.
Sudanese works for young readers and graphic storytellingEdit
Modern literature for children and young adults has been written, among others, by authors and illustrators such as Abdel-Ghani Karamallah and Salah El-Mur. Also, the poet Mahmoud Sharif published a collection of short stories for children entitled Zeinab and the Mango Tree. Another book for children called Kadisa (Sudanese expression for cat) was written in 2017 by Sudanese-American elementary teacher Rasha Hamid and illustrated by Sharhabil Ahmed, a well-known musician and graphic artist.
In the 1950s and up to the mid-1990s, the Ministry of Education published comics magazines such as Al-Sabyan (Boy's Journal), Maryud and Sabah (Morning) in order to develop children’s literacy, but because of diminishing support, the numbers of such magazines and children's books decreased from 30.000 copies a week of the most popular magazine to a much lower number of such publications.
In the 21st century, Sudanese comic strips and graphic storytelling have beeb enjoying a growing audience, mainly being published on social media, but also in the form of magazines or during national comic competitions.
Literature in English by writers with Sudanese rootsEdit
The earliest records of a writer from Sudan are the memoir and other literary works of Selim Aga, born around 1826 in Taqali, a historical state in the Nuba Hills, in modern-day central Sudan. As a young boy, he had been sold as slave to various owners and was eventually brought to Scotland in 1836. There, he was raised and educated as a free man by the family of Robert Thurburn, at the time British consul in Alexandria. In 1846, he published his autobiographical Incidents Connected with the Life of Selim Aga, written in "faultless idiomatic English".
Taban Lo Liyong, who was born in southern Sudan in 1939 and studied in the 1960s in the United States, is one of Africa's well-known poets, writers of fiction and literary criticism. According to the Encyclopædia Britannica, "Liyong wrote highly imaginative short narratives, such as Fixions (1969), and unorthodox free verse,( ...) His nonfiction output consists of argumentative and amusing personal essays and bold literary criticism (...), presenting challenging new ideas in an original manner." After teaching positions in several countries, including Sudan, he became professor of English at the University of Juba.
Leila Aboulela, who was born in 1964 in Cairo, Egypt, to an Egyptian mother and a Sudanese father, and grew up in Khartoum, is a Sudanese writer who lives in Great Britain and writes in English. Her poems, short stories and novels have received international acclaim.
Jamal Mahjoub, who was born in London in 1966 of British and Sudanese parents and grew up in Khartoum, writes in English and has published a trilogy taking place in Sudan. His novel A Line in the River (2019) recounts the years from the military coup of 1989 up to the separation of the North and South Sudan in 2001. In an article about literature in Sudan, written just about as the Sudanese Revolution of 2018/19 came to its final stage, he gave the following assessment of the limitations for writers, publishers and readers:
The last 30 years have been difficult for Sudanese artists of all kinds – among them musicians and painters, but particularly writers. The 1989 coup triggered an exodus. People left to settle in Cairo and the Gulf, North America and Europe, even Japan and Australia. Inside the country, a new generation of writers has since grown up in the shadow of repression. Despite these difficulties writers have continued to work and publish, both within the country and abroad. In a climate where newspapers are regularly censored, journalists detained and print runs seized, books have remained cherished items to be passed around with reverence.— Jamal Mahjoub, Top 10 books about Sudan. The Guardian, May 2019
A representative of young writers of Sudanese origin, living in the worldwide Sudanese diaspora, is Safia Elhillo (born 1990), a Sudanese-American poet known for her written and spoken poetry. Her poems have appeared in several publications, including Poetry, Callaloo, and the Academy of American Poets’ Poem-a-day series, and in anthologies, such as The BreakBeat Poets: New American Poetry in the Age of Hip-Hop and Women of Resistance: Poems for a New Feminism. Her collection of poetry The January Children (2017) refers to the children born in Sudan under British occupation, whose birth date was often indiscriminately recorded as 1 January.
Emtithal Mahmoud, who was born in Darfur in 1992, moved with her parents to the United States as a child. She became known as a spoken word poet and activist for refugees. In 2015, she won the Individual World Poetry Slam championship and has since published her first collections of poems in English, entitled Sisters' Entrance.
Daoud Hari, who was born as a tribesman in the Darfur region of Western Sudan, wrote an autobiographical memoir in English about life and people in Darfur, entitled The Translator: A Tribesman's Memoir of Darfur. Through his story, he tried to bring further international attention to the plight of his people and country.
Yassmin Abdel-Magied (born 1991), a Sudanese-Australian media presenter and writer, first became known for her outspoken engagement in community work and Australian media, including talks and blogs about her multicultural identity as a young Muslim woman in Australia. In 2016, she published her memoir called Yassmin's Story, and in 2019 a novel for young adults, entitled You Must Be Layla.
Traditional and modern forms of Sudanese theatreEdit
Rituals and theatre-like performances, such as the zār rituals, have been described by modern studies as part of ancient and traditional civilisations in Sudan. During the 1930s, Ibrahim al-Abadi (1894 -1980) created a play about an important Sudanese resistance fighter against the Turkish army, El Mek Nimr, and Khaled Abu Al-Rous wrote a play about a village love story called Tajouj. Along with other Sudanese or foreign plays, they were produced at the National Theatre of the time.
In a period of flourishing cultural life in Sudan from the 1960s and up to the restrictions of many public activities by the Public Order Laws since 1989, foreign and Sudanese theatre plays in the modern sense enjoyed a certain amount of popularity in Khartoum. Nevertheless, the College of Music and Drama of the Sudan University of Science and Technology has been offering studies and degrees since 1977, and together with the Sudanese Dramatists Union has organized theatre festivals and workshops at the National Theatre, opened in 1959 in Omdurman.
Academic scholarship on Sudanese literature and Arabic languageEdit
An outstanding Sudanese scholar and literary critic with a long list of publications on poetry or other genres from Sudan and in Arabic in general, was Abdalla Eltayeb (1921–2003). His primary field of study was the Arabic language and its creative use in poetry. One of his most notable works is A Guide to Understanding Arabic Poetry, a massive opus written over thirty-five years. Eltayeb was also president of Khartoum's Arab Language League and a member of the Academy of the Arabic Language in Cairo. Through his works of fiction and radio programmes on literature, he contributed to a wider appreciation of literature for people without access to written sources.
Another notable scholar on language and culture in Sudan was Awn Alsharif Qasim (1933–2006). Among many other works, he authored the Sudanese Encyclopedia of Tribes and Genealogies, a pioneer, state of the art series of books about the different Sudanese tribes, their roots and origins.
Several departments of the University of Khartoum, like the Faculty of Arts, the Institute of Asian and African Studies or of Islamic Studies, publish academic scholarship relating to the history and present of culture in Sudan.
Anthologies of Sudanese literatureEdit
After the 2009 collection of short stories in French translation, Nouvelles du Soudan, several anthologies in English, such as I Know Two Sudans: An Anthology of Creative Writing from Sudan and South Sudan, The Book of Khartoum, Literary Sudans: An Anthology of Literature from Sudan and South Sudan or Modern Sudanese Poetry: An Anthology have made contemporary literature from Sudan and South Sudan accessible to readers in translation. In addition, Banipal literary magazine published a special issue in 2016 on Sudanese literature today.
Apart from those names already mentioned above, writers featured in these compilations are Mohammad Jamil Ahmad, Najla Osman Eltom, Emad Blake, Nur al-Huda Mohammed Nur al-Huda, Ahmed Al Malik, Dan Lukudu, Agnes Ponilako, Kenyi A. Spencer, Mamoun Eltilb and others.
Nonfiction and cultural journalism by Sudanese writersEdit
The list of Sudanese writers of nonfiction, as another important form of narrative writing, includes authors like Abdullahi Ahmed An-Na'im or Sadiq al-Mahdi, known for their contributions to such topics as Islamic thought, politics or social issues in Sudan. Addressing Sudanese readers, these are mainly published in Arabic, with some publications presenting essays, academic scholarship, interviews or other journalistic texts also in English.
One of the Sudanese online magazines, focussing on Sudanese culture and the close relationships of life in Sudan and South Sudan, as well as with other East African neighbours, is Andariya Magazine.
Notes and referencesEdit
- On the notion of a modern national literature in Africa, compare the following definition by Nigerian novelist Chinua Achebe: "A national literature is one that takes the whole nation for its province and has a realized or potential audience throughout its territory. An ethnic literature is one which is available to one ethnic group within the nation." Chinua Achebe. Morning Yet on Creation Day (New York: Anchor Press/Doubleday, 1976), p. 75
- "Meroitic script". www.ucl.ac.uk. Retrieved 20 June 2020.
- Hoyland, Robert (2015). In God's Path: The Arab Conquest and the Creation of an Islamic Empire. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 77.
- Sharkey, Heather J. (2000). "The Sudan of the Three Niles: The Funj Chronicle". [Review]. International Journal of Middle East Studies. 32 (2): 288–290. doi:10.1017/S0020743800002361.
- "Some of the other major languages of the Sudan which possess both oral literature and written material, either in grammars, dictionaries, or recently compiled dual language folkloric text are Dinka, Fur, Nuer, Shilluk, Azande and Bari." Berkley 1981
- The article about 'Sudan - The arts' in the Encyclopedia Britannica online states: "The major language with a written literature in traditional Sudanese society is Arabic. The most widely known Sudanese literary works in this language are associated with Islam and its scholarship and include a large body of literature describing the lives and virtue of holy men. These works are best known through recitations on special anniversaries associated with pious persons. The combination of oral and written literature remains of major importance to both traditional and Westernized segments of Sudanese society." Source: Encyclopedia Britannica Sudan, accessed on 13 March 2021.
- Nigerian literary critic Mbube Nwi-Akeeri explained that Western theories cannot effectively capture and explain oral literature, particularly those indigenous to regions such as Africa. The reason is that there are elements to oral traditions in these places that cannot be captured by words alone, such as gestures, dance, and the interaction between the storyteller and the audience. According to Nwi-Akeeri, oral literature is not only a narrative, but also a social performance. Cf. Nwi-Akeeri, Mbube (2017). "Oral literature in Nigeria: A Search for Critical Theory" (PDF). Research Journal of Humanities and Cultural Studies. 3 (2): 41–51. ISSN 2579-0528.
- El-Nour 1997, p. 150.
- In his article "What's in a Sign", John M. Foley writes about the continuing importance of oral traditions in human communication: "Indeed, if these final decades of the millennium have taught us anything, it must be that oral tradition never was the 'other' we accused it of being; it never was the primitive, preliminary technology of communication we thought it had to be. Rather, if the whole truth is told, oral tradition stands out as the single most dominant communicative technology of our species, as both a historical fact and, in many areas still, a contemporary reality." Foley, John Miles. "What's in a Sign". (1999). In E. Anne MacKay (ed.). Signs of Orality. Leiden: BRILL Academic. pp. 1–2. ISBN 978-9004112735.
- El-Nour 1997, p. 155.
- Babikir, Adil (1 September 2019). Modern Sudanese Poetry: An Anthology. U of Nebraska Press. p. 1. ISBN 978-1-4962-1563-5.
- Vezzadini, Elena (2015). Lost Nationalism: Revolution, Memory and Anti-colonial Resistance in Sudan. Boydell & Brewer. p. 175. ISBN 978-1-84701-115-2.
- Ille, Enrico (2015). "'But They Can't Manage to Silence Us:' Mahjoub Sharif's Prison Poem 'A Homesick Sparrow' (1990) as Resistance to Political Confinement". Middle East - Topics & Arguments. 5: 117–130. doi:10.17192/meta.2015.5.3520.
- "Legend of Sudanese revolutionary singer Mohammad Wardi lives on". Al Arabiya English. 11 November 2013. Retrieved 25 June 2020.
- "Al-Hakamat :Queens of popular media in Western Sudan * Khartoum Star". Khartoum Star. 12 September 2019. Retrieved 2 July 2020.
- "Female Singers Stir Blood in Darfur". Institute for War and Peace Reporting. Retrieved 2 July 2020.
- El-Nour, Eiman Abbas H. (2011). "Not just a pretty face: Women as storytellers and subjects in the folktales of Northern Sudan". Tydskrif vir Letterkunde. 48 (2): 171–185. doi:10.17159/tl.v48i2.2262.
- "10 Hip Hop Tracks From The Sudanese Revolution". www.scenenoise.com. Retrieved 25 June 2020.
- "The revolution is on the curriculum". BBC News. 28 December 2019. Retrieved 25 June 2020.
- Berkley 1981, p. 113-114.
- Muhammad Abd al-Hayy, Conflict and Identity: The Cultural Poetics of Contemporary Sudanese Poetry. Khartoum University Press, 1976, p.21, quoted after Berkeley, 1981.
- El-Nour 1997, p. 151.
- El-Nour 1997, p. 154.
- Berkley 1981, p. 116.
- "The novel of the period prior to Independence dedicated itself to the search for an effective combative identity at the individual and the collective level. The post-Independence novel has attempted to grant us our profound and deeply rooted historical identity, with its negative and positive sides." El-Nur Osman Abkar, The post-Independence novel: The Search for an Historical cultural identity with El Tayeb Salih and Ibrahim Ishaq, al-Ayyam newspaper (18 February 1977), quoted after Berkley 1981, p. 117
- رحيل الشاعر السوداني النور عثمان أبكر أحد مؤسسي مدرسة «الغابة والصحراء», أخبــــــار. archive.aawsat.com (in Arabic). Retrieved 23 July 2020.
- "PressReader.com – Your favorite newspapers and magazines". www.pressreader.com. Retrieved 29 July 2020.
- el Shoush, Muhammad Ibrahim (1963). "Some Background Notes on Modern Sudanese Poetry". Sudan Notes and Records. 44: 21–42. ISSN 0375-2984. JSTOR 41716840.
- El-Nour 1997, p. 156.
- ʻĀshūr, Raḍwá; Ghazoul, Ferial Jabouri; Reda-Mekdashi, Hasna; McClure, Mandy (2008). Arab Women Writers: A Critical Reference Guide, 1873–1999. American University in Cairo Press. pp. 168–169. ISBN 978-977-416-146-9.
- GradeSaver. "Season of Migration to the North Study Guide | GradeSaver". www.gradesaver.com. Retrieved 22 January 2021.
- "The 100 Best Arabic Novels (2018)". www.banipal.co.uk. Retrieved 27 December 2020.
- Mahjoub, Jamal (20 February 2009). "Obituary: Tayeb Salih". the Guardian. Retrieved 22 July 2020.
- "Adieu… Great Novelist Ibrahim Ishaq| Sudanow Magazine". sudanow-magazine.net. Retrieved 10 February 2021.
- Cormack, Ralph; Shmookler, Max (eds.). "The Book of Khartoum". Retrieved 28 June 2020.
- Shmookler, Max. "Biting their Mother Tongue: Three Sudanese Short Stories about Estrangement". Words Without Borders. Retrieved 21 January 2021.
- Sanhouri, Sabah Babiker Ibraheem. "Isolation". Words Without Borders. Retrieved 22 January 2021.
- Polonsky, Naomi (2 November 2018). "The Expansive Literary Output of Sudan and South Sudan, on Display". Hyperallergic. Retrieved 21 January 2021.
- El Gizouli, Magdi (3 April 2014). "Mahjoub Sharif: a secular prophet". sudantribune.com. Retrieved 23 January 2021.
- Miraya (17 August 2009) Sudanese Writers Union launches a new House after 20 years
- "Sudanese Writers Union celebrates return with cultural festival". Radio Dabanga. Retrieved 17 December 2020.
- "Bushra El Fadil". www.banipal.co.uk. Retrieved 22 January 2021.
- "Story exploring freedom wins Caine Prize for African Writing | The Bookseller". www.thebookseller.com. Retrieved 22 January 2021.
- "Tarek ELTAYEB | The International Writing Program". iwp.uiowa.edu. Retrieved 23 June 2020.
- "Tarek Eltayeb – Arab Literature – Works". www.eltayeb.at. Retrieved 23 June 2020.
- "Shortlist announced for the International Prize for Arabic Fiction 2001". www.banipal.co.uk. 9 December 2010. Retrieved 22 January 2021.
- "The International Prize for Arabic Fiction (IPAF) is one of the most prestigious and important literary prizes in the Arab world". arabicfiction.org. Retrieved 22 January 2021.
- Obank, Margaret. "Book review: The Jungo: The Stakes of the Earth". www.banipal.co.uk. Retrieved 23 June 2020.
- "Abdel Aziz Baraka Sakin – Comma Press". commapress.co.uk. Retrieved 23 June 2020.
- "Censor confiscates ten books at Sudanese Writers Union fair". Radio Dabanga. Retrieved 23 June 2020.
- Hassan, Waïl S. (1 August 2017). The Oxford Handbook of Arab Novelistic Traditions. Oxford University Press. p. 428. ISBN 978-0-19-934980-7.
- "Abdelaziz Baraka Sakin — internationales literaturfestival berlin". www.literaturfestival.com. Retrieved 23 June 2020.
- "Hamed el-Nazir". www.banipal.co.uk. Retrieved 27 December 2020.
- "Hammour Ziada". www.banipal.co.uk. Retrieved 22 January 2021.
- Kushkush, Isma’il (25 December 2015). "Telling South Sudan's Tales in a Language Not Its Own". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 20 June 2020.
- Mahjoub, Jamal (15 May 2019). "Top 10 books about Sudan". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 21 June 2020.
- "Banthology – Comma Press". commapress.co.uk. Retrieved 1 July 2020.
- "Rania Mamoun – Comma Press". commapress.co.uk. Retrieved 22 June 2020.
- PEN International (4 March 2016). "International Women's Day: PEN talks to Sudanese journalist Sabah Sanhouri". Retrieved 26 June 2020.
- "Sabah Sanhouri | The International Writing Program". iwp.uiowa.edu. Retrieved 25 June 2020.
- "Sabah Sanhouri ~ Home". Sabah Sanhouri. Retrieved 25 June 2020.
- "Sawad Hussain". Words Without Borders. Retrieved 6 December 2020.
- "Amna al-Fadl". Words Without Borders. Retrieved 6 December 2020.
- "Ann El Safi". Words Without Borders. Retrieved 6 December 2020.
- "Sara Al-Jack". Words Without Borders. Retrieved 6 December 2020.
- "Zeinab Belail". Words Without Borders. Retrieved 6 December 2020.
- This article also features audio files and links to stories by these writers: Hussain, Sawad. "Aperture: Sudanese Female Novelists Coming into Focus". Words Without Borders. Retrieved 6 December 2020.
- The Common literary organization (27 April 2020). "The Creator". The Common. Retrieved 22 January 2021.
- "Scattered Thoughts, Salah Elmur | Artspace.com". Artspace. Retrieved 22 January 2021.
- "Mahjoub Sharif: a secular prophet – Sudan Tribune: Plural news and views on Sudan". sudantribune.com. Retrieved 23 January 2021.
- "Kadisa: A new children's book written in collaboration with children by Ola Diab". Andariya. Retrieved 7 March 2021.
- "Sharhabil Ahmed". lambiek.net. Retrieved 22 January 2021.
- Fayez, Yasser. "Publishing for the Children of Sudan… Readers vs Regime | Nasher News". nasher-news.com. Retrieved 22 February 2021.
- "Khartoum Comic Con Bringing Together Sudan's Comic Fans". 500 Words Magazine. 24 December 2020. Retrieved 22 January 2021.
- McCarthy, James (2007). "Selim Aga: New Light on his Life and his Explorations in West Africa" (PDF). The Journal of the Hakluyt Society. ISSN 2051-543X. Archived (PDF) from the original on 1 October 2020.
- "Taban lo Liyong | South Sudanese and Ugandan writer". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 22 January 2021.
- "Leila Aboulela – Literature". literature.britishcouncil.org. Retrieved 20 June 2020.
- Nebraska Press. "The January Children". www.nebraskapress.unl.edu. Retrieved 25 June 2020.
- Forbes Africa (4 June 2018). "Under 30 Creatives". Forbes Africa. Retrieved 25 June 2020.
- "Emtithal Mahmoud and the poetry of resilience". The World from PRX. Retrieved 8 September 2020.
- "You searched for 9781449492793". Andrews McMeel Publishing. Retrieved 8 September 2020.
- Hari, Daoud (18 March 2008). The Translator: A Tribesman's Memoir of Darfur. Random House Publishing Group. ISBN 978-1-58836-737-2.
- Abdel-Magied, Yassmin (2016). Yassmin's Story: Who Do You Think I Am?. Australia: Vintage Books. ISBN 9780857986153. OCLC 951650673.
- Abdel-Magied, Yassmin (2019). You Must be Layla. North Sydney: Penguin. ISBN 9780143788515. OCLC 1089827087.
- Kolk, Mieke (2006). "Rituals and theatre in Sudan: from cultural heritage into syncretic theatre forms". In Kolk, Mieke (ed.). Rituals and Ceremonies in Sudan: From Cultural Heritage to Theater. Institute for Theatre Studies. pp. 5–14. OCLC 149988928.
- This play was based on the romantic story Tajouj by Osman Mohamed Hashim, considered by some as the first Sudanese novel, according to Eiman El-Nour, 1977, p. 156. In 1977, this story was turned into the feature film Tajouj by prominent filmmaker Gadalla Gubara .
- "Sudan for all". sudan-forall.org. Retrieved 27 August 2020.
- "Sudanese theatre enjoys revival after years of war". Reuters. 4 April 2011. Retrieved 29 July 2020.
- "Home – College of Music and Drama". drama.sustech.edu. Retrieved 29 July 2020.
- "Theatre in Sudan now". 19 August 2009. Archived from the original on 19 August 2009. Retrieved 29 July 2020.
- "King Faisal Prize". Retrieved 23 June 2020.
- Hassan, Yahya (9 March 2020). "Sudan: Prof. Awn Alsharif Qasim – a Life Story of Changing Fates". allAfrica.com. Retrieved 23 July 2020.
- "University Of Khartoum Electronic Journals System". onlinejournals.uofk.edu. Retrieved 23 July 2020.
- Magid, Djamela; et al. (eds.). "I Know Two Sudans: An Anthology of Creative Writing from Sudan and South Sudan". Retrieved 28 June 2020.
- "Review | Literary Sudans: An Anthology of Literature From Sudan and South Sudan". Brittle Paper. 9 January 2017. Retrieved 28 June 2020.
- Babikir, Adil (ed.). "Modern Sudanese Poetry: An Anthology". www.nebraskapress.unl.edu. Retrieved 28 June 2020.
- "Sudanese literature today". www.banipal.co.uk. Retrieved 28 June 2020.
- WorldCat identities. "Naʻīm, ʻAbd Allāh Aḥmad 1946–". worldcat.org.
- WorldCat identities. "Sadiq al-Mahdi – مهدي، الصادق".
- "Arabnet | Andariya Wants to Help Put the Sudans on the Digital Map". www.arabnet.me. Retrieved 22 January 2021.
- Andariya Magazine. "About us". Retrieved 1 July 2020.
- Al-Malik, A., Gaetano, S., Adam, H., Baraka, S. A., Karamallah, A., Mamoun, R., & Luffin, X. (2009). Nouvelles du Soudan. Paris: Magellan & Cie. (in French) ISBN 9782350741604
- Babikir, Adil (ed.) (2019). Modern Sudanese Poetry: An Anthology. Lincoln, NE, USA. ISBN 978-1-4962-1563-5
- Cormack, Ralph and Shmookler, Max (eds.) (2016) The Book of Khartoum. A City in Short Fiction. ISBN 9781905583720
- Elhillo, Safia. The January Children. University of Nebraska Press, 2017
- Lynx Qualey, Marcia. Sudanese Literature: North and South. 2012, on arablit.org
- Lynx Qualey, Marcia. 10 Sudanese & South Sudanese Short Stories for the Solstice, 2019, on arablit.org
- Magid, Djamela et al. (eds.), I Know Two Sudans: An Anthology of Creative Writing from Sudan and South Sudan, 2014 ISBN 978-0993110801
- Mahjoub, Jamal. Top 10 books about Sudan. The Guardian, May 2019
- Mahjoub, Jamal. Navigation of a Rainmaker (1989), Wings of Dust (1994), In the Hour of Signs (1996)
- Shringarpure, Bhakti et al. (2016) Literary Sudans: An Anthology of Literature from Sudan and South Sudan. Trenton: The Red Sea Press, ISBN 978-1569024348