Sabah Sanhouri

Sabah Sanhouri [© Mohamed Alhassan Cupa]
Sabah Sanhouri [© Mohamed Alhassan Cupa]

Sabah Sanhouri was born in Khartoum in 1990. Her short story »Isolation« won the Tayeb Saleh Award in 2009 and was filmed by Jordanian director Burhan Saadah in 2013. Her debut short story collection, »Mirrors« was published in 2014. In 2016, she founded the cultural project #OneDayFiction, which supports young writers, including people with disabilities and incarcerated people, on their journey with mentoring programs, workshops, and residencies. The project has resulted in a book of short stories by the participants, for which Sabah Sanhouri served as editor.

Her first novel was published in 2019 under the title »Paradise«. The title refers to the name of an agency where Salam, a writer who is naturally talented but unsuccessful, applies to be a content writer. She is invited for an interview at 4 Martyrs-Imran Street. There she learns that the agency’s services are being used by people who want to take their own lives. Salam’s job is to write personalized texts for the suicides’ last moments, which are then captured on camera for posterity. Passages in which Salam reports as a first-person narrator alternate with sections from her perspective and that of numerous other characters, all of whom are connected to the agency in one way or another – for example, Riad, who has applied for the job as photographer and videographer and is also invited to the interview. The novel, which is lively, rich in dialogue, and told with a lot of dark humor, can also be read as a commentary on contemporary Sudan. As such, the literary critic Ibrahim Abdin judged that »Sabah Sanhouri has created a new form of writing that rebels against the static cultural, political and social reality of Sudan.« The German translation of the book is published in the »Swallow Editions« series founded and edited by Rafik Schami, which aims to introduce readers to contemporary Arabic literature from around the world.

Sabah Sanhouri is a member of the Sudanese Writers’ Association and a jury member of the Khartoum University Short Story Competition. She has participated in numerous international cultural programs including literary festivals and events such as the Iowa City Book Festival in the United States, Salon Maghrebin du Livre in Morocco, and Africa Alive in Germany. She lives in Khartoum.

Date: 2022