; Literary Encyclopedia

Recommended reading for Leila Aboulela

Ball, Anna.“Re-Rooting Diasporic Experience in Leila Aboulela’s Recent Novels.” Rerouting the Postcolonial: New Directions for the New Millennium. Ed. Sarah Lawson and Janet Wilson. London: Routledge, 2010. Print.

Recommended by Anna Ball

This article explores Aboulela’s portrayals of diasporic Muslim experience in The Translator and Minaret. It suggests that these portrayals present a number of challenges to contemporary postcolonial theory, not only in their emphasis on spatial situation and religious fixity rather than transnational and ideological fluidity, but also in the relationships that they construct between Islam and postcolonial theory

Cariello, Marta.“Searching for Room to Move: Producing and Negotiating Space in Leila Aboulela’s Minaret.” Arab Voices in Diaspora: Critical Perspectives on Anglophone Arab Literature. Amsterdam and Atlanta, GA: Rodopi, 2009. Print.

Recommended by Anna Ball

This article examines Aboulela’s work within the broader context of Anglophone Arab literature written within the UK and USA in particular. It explores the complex cultural and psychological spaces occupied by the central character in Minaret, and relates these to contemporary postcolonial and poststructuralist conceptualizations of space and place by theorists such as Bhabha and De Certeau.

Cooke, Miriam. Women Claim Islam: Creating Islamic Feminism Through Literature. London: Routledge, 2001. Print.

Recommended by Anna Ball

Although this article does not discuss Aboulela’s work directly, it provides an interesting context to Aboulela’s affirmative portrayals of female Muslim identity in its discussion of ‘Islamic feminism’ within a broad range of works by contemporary Arab women writers.

Moore, Lindsey. Arab, Muslim, Woman: Voice and Vision in Postcolonial Literature and Film. London: Routledge, 2008. Print.

Recommended by Anna Ball

Moore’s work offers an interesting discussion of Aboulela’s ‘tongue-in-cheek “identity narrative”’ (157) that she produced in her essay, ‘Moving Away from Accuracy’ in Alif (2002) within the context of Anglophone Arab women’s writing more broadly. Her work also offers information on the broader context to contemporary Arab women’s writing, the role of Islam, and the transgressive and assertive identity politics (or resistance to it) that is currently being constructed by authors including Aboulela.

Stotesbury, John.“Genre and Islam in Recent Anglophone Romantic Fiction.” Refracting the Canon in Contemporary British Literature and Film. Ed. Susana Onega and Christian Gutleben. Amsterdam and Atlanta, GA: Rodopi, 2004. Print.

Recommended by Anna Ball

Stotesbury’s discussion of Aboulela’s novel The Translator forms part of a larger chapter on fiction produced by Muslim women novelists writing in English. It explores the ways in which Western romance traditions are at once appropriated and subverted by authors such as Aboulela, whose characters ‘challenge and refract the…personal and sociopolitical desires of their Western generic counterparts’ (69).

Ball, Anna.“Re-Rooting Diasporic Experience in Leila Aboulela’s Recent Novels.” Rerouting the Postcolonial: New Directions for the New Millennium. Ed. Sarah Lawson and Janet Wilson. London: Routledge, 2010. Print.

Recommended by Anna Ball

This article explores Aboulela’s portrayals of diasporic Muslim experience in The Translator and Minaret. It suggests that these portrayals present a number of challenges to contemporary postcolonial theory, not only in their emphasis on spatial situation and religious fixity rather than transnational and ideological fluidity, but also in the relationships that they construct between Islam and postcolonial theory

Cariello, Marta.“Searching for Room to Move: Producing and Negotiating Space in Leila Aboulela’s Minaret.” Arab Voices in Diaspora: Critical Perspectives on Anglophone Arab Literature. Amsterdam and Atlanta, GA: Rodopi, 2009. Print.

Recommended by Anna Ball

This article examines Aboulela’s work within the broader context of Anglophone Arab literature written within the UK and USA in particular. It explores the complex cultural and psychological spaces occupied by the central character in Minaret, and relates these to contemporary postcolonial and poststructuralist conceptualizations of space and place by theorists such as Bhabha and De Certeau.

Cooke, Miriam. Women Claim Islam: Creating Islamic Feminism Through Literature. London: Routledge, 2001. Print.

Recommended by Anna Ball

Although this article does not discuss Aboulela’s work directly, it provides an interesting context to Aboulela’s affirmative portrayals of female Muslim identity in its discussion of ‘Islamic feminism’ within a broad range of works by contemporary Arab women writers.

Moore, Lindsey. Arab, Muslim, Woman: Voice and Vision in Postcolonial Literature and Film. London: Routledge, 2008. Print.

Recommended by Anna Ball

Moore’s work offers an interesting discussion of Aboulela’s ‘tongue-in-cheek “identity narrative”’ (157) that she produced in her essay, ‘Moving Away from Accuracy’ in Alif (2002) within the context of Anglophone Arab women’s writing more broadly. Her work also offers information on the broader context to contemporary Arab women’s writing, the role of Islam, and the transgressive and assertive identity politics (or resistance to it) that is currently being constructed by authors including Aboulela.

Stotesbury, John.“Genre and Islam in Recent Anglophone Romantic Fiction.” Refracting the Canon in Contemporary British Literature and Film. Ed. Susana Onega and Christian Gutleben. Amsterdam and Atlanta, GA: Rodopi, 2004. Print.

Recommended by Anna Ball

Stotesbury’s discussion of Aboulela’s novel The Translator forms part of a larger chapter on fiction produced by Muslim women novelists writing in English. It explores the ways in which Western romance traditions are at once appropriated and subverted by authors such as Aboulela, whose characters ‘challenge and refract the…personal and sociopolitical desires of their Western generic counterparts’ (69).

Ball, Anna.“Re-Rooting Diasporic Experience in Leila Aboulela’s Recent Novels.” Rerouting the Postcolonial: New Directions for the New Millennium. Ed. Sarah Lawson and Janet Wilson. London: Routledge, 2010. Print.

Recommended by Anna Ball

This article explores Aboulela’s portrayals of diasporic Muslim experience in The Translator and Minaret. It suggests that these portrayals present a number of challenges to contemporary postcolonial theory, not only in their emphasis on spatial situation and religious fixity rather than transnational and ideological fluidity, but also in the relationships that they construct between Islam and postcolonial theory

Cariello, Marta.“Searching for Room to Move: Producing and Negotiating Space in Leila Aboulela’s Minaret.” Arab Voices in Diaspora: Critical Perspectives on Anglophone Arab Literature. Amsterdam and Atlanta, GA: Rodopi, 2009. Print.

Recommended by Anna Ball

This article examines Aboulela’s work within the broader context of Anglophone Arab literature written within the UK and USA in particular. It explores the complex cultural and psychological spaces occupied by the central character in Minaret, and relates these to contemporary postcolonial and poststructuralist conceptualizations of space and place by theorists such as Bhabha and De Certeau.

Cooke, Miriam. Women Claim Islam: Creating Islamic Feminism Through Literature. London: Routledge, 2001. Print.

Recommended by Anna Ball

Although this article does not discuss Aboulela’s work directly, it provides an interesting context to Aboulela’s affirmative portrayals of female Muslim identity in its discussion of ‘Islamic feminism’ within a broad range of works by contemporary Arab women writers.

Moore, Lindsey. Arab, Muslim, Woman: Voice and Vision in Postcolonial Literature and Film. London: Routledge, 2008. Print.

Recommended by Anna Ball

Moore’s work offers an interesting discussion of Aboulela’s ‘tongue-in-cheek “identity narrative”’ (157) that she produced in her essay, ‘Moving Away from Accuracy’ in Alif (2002) within the context of Anglophone Arab women’s writing more broadly. Her work also offers information on the broader context to contemporary Arab women’s writing, the role of Islam, and the transgressive and assertive identity politics (or resistance to it) that is currently being constructed by authors including Aboulela.

Stotesbury, John.“Genre and Islam in Recent Anglophone Romantic Fiction.” Refracting the Canon in Contemporary British Literature and Film. Ed. Susana Onega and Christian Gutleben. Amsterdam and Atlanta, GA: Rodopi, 2004. Print.

Recommended by Anna Ball

Stotesbury’s discussion of Aboulela’s novel The Translator forms part of a larger chapter on fiction produced by Muslim women novelists writing in English. It explores the ways in which Western romance traditions are at once appropriated and subverted by authors such as Aboulela, whose characters ‘challenge and refract the…personal and sociopolitical desires of their Western generic counterparts’ (69).

Nash, Geoffrey.“Re-Siting Religion and Creating Feminised Space in the Fiction of Ahdaf Soueif and Leila Aboulela.” Wasafiri: Journal of Caribbean, African, Asian and Associated Literatures and Film 35 (2002): n. pag. Print.

Recommended by Anna Ball

This article offers a comparative discussion of Aboulela’s and Soueif’s work in order to establish the importance of feminocentric communities and perspectives in their work. He offers a thorough and thoughtful account of the various role reversals and shifts in power dynamic that take place between male and female, Western and diasporic characters in Aboulela’s novel The Translator, and argues that Aboulela’s work can ultimately be read in terms of a subversive postcolonial and Islamic feminist sentiment.

Sethi, Anita.“Keep the Faith.” The Guardian (2005): n. pag. Print.

Recommended by Anna Ball

This article is based on an interview carried out with Aboulela in 2005, in which she discusses her faith and the role of religion in her upbringing, and her writing.

Smyth, B.“To Love the Orientalist: Masculinity in Leila Aboulela’s The Translator.” Journal of Men, Masculinities and Spirituality 1 (2007): n. pag. Print.

Recommended by Anna Ball

This article offers an interesting exploration of the ways in which Aboulela not only subverts stereotypes surrounding Muslim women, but also Western men. The author argues that the character Rae in The Translator can be seen to destabilize the gendered and cultural dynamics that underpin Orientalist discourse, and in doing so, presents an alternative and implicitly postcolonial account of gender and cultural interaction, offering ‘a model of progressive, socially engaged masculinity rooted in Islamic tradition’ (170).

Nash, Geoffrey.“Re-Siting Religion and Creating Feminised Space in the Fiction of Ahdaf Soueif and Leila Aboulela.” Wasafiri: Journal of Caribbean, African, Asian and Associated Literatures and Film 35 (2002): n. pag. Print.

Recommended by Anna Ball

This article offers a comparative discussion of Aboulela’s and Soueif’s work in order to establish the importance of feminocentric communities and perspectives in their work. He offers a thorough and thoughtful account of the various role reversals and shifts in power dynamic that take place between male and female, Western and diasporic characters in Aboulela’s novel The Translator, and argues that Aboulela’s work can ultimately be read in terms of a subversive postcolonial and Islamic feminist sentiment.

Smyth, B.“To Love the Orientalist: Masculinity in Leila Aboulela’s The Translator.” Journal of Men, Masculinities and Spirituality 1 (2007): n. pag. Print.

Recommended by Anna Ball

This article offers an interesting exploration of the ways in which Aboulela not only subverts stereotypes surrounding Muslim women, but also Western men. The author argues that the character Rae in The Translator can be seen to destabilize the gendered and cultural dynamics that underpin Orientalist discourse, and in doing so, presents an alternative and implicitly postcolonial account of gender and cultural interaction, offering ‘a model of progressive, socially engaged masculinity rooted in Islamic tradition’ (170).

Nash, Geoffrey.“Re-Siting Religion and Creating Feminised Space in the Fiction of Ahdaf Soueif and Leila Aboulela.” Wasafiri: Journal of Caribbean, African, Asian and Associated Literatures and Film 35 (2002): n. pag. Print.

Recommended by Anna Ball

This article offers a comparative discussion of Aboulela’s and Soueif’s work in order to establish the importance of feminocentric communities and perspectives in their work. He offers a thorough and thoughtful account of the various role reversals and shifts in power dynamic that take place between male and female, Western and diasporic characters in Aboulela’s novel The Translator, and argues that Aboulela’s work can ultimately be read in terms of a subversive postcolonial and Islamic feminist sentiment.

Smyth, B.“To Love the Orientalist: Masculinity in Leila Aboulela’s The Translator.” Journal of Men, Masculinities and Spirituality 1 (2007): n. pag. Print.

Recommended by Anna Ball

This article offers an interesting exploration of the ways in which Aboulela not only subverts stereotypes surrounding Muslim women, but also Western men. The author argues that the character Rae in The Translator can be seen to destabilize the gendered and cultural dynamics that underpin Orientalist discourse, and in doing so, presents an alternative and implicitly postcolonial account of gender and cultural interaction, offering ‘a model of progressive, socially engaged masculinity rooted in Islamic tradition’ (170).

Add Recommended Reading