CHESTERTOWN, MD—The Rose O’Neill Literary House will host one of the 2011 PEN World Voices Festival Fellows, Leila Aboulela, on Monday, April 25. In a program titled “New Writing from the New North Africa,” the author will read from her acclaimed work beginning at 4:30 p.m. on the enclosed porch of the Lit House, 407 Washington Avenue. The reading is free and open to the public.
Born in Cairo, raised in Khartoum, and now splitting her time between Abu Dhabi and Aberdeen, Aboulela writes short stories, novels and plays. Her novel The Translator was nominated for the Orange Prize and was one of the New York Times’ 2006 Notable Books of the Year. BBC Radio 4 has broadcast adaptations of her novels and short stories in addition to her radio plays The Mystic Life and The Lion of Chechnya.
Although she has lived and worked in Egypt, Jakarta, Dubai, London, and Scotland, Aboulela says that in her Islamic faith she has something she “can carry with me wherever I go.” Islam plays a major role in her life and the lives of her characters; she says of them, “They are not ideals or role models. They are, as I see them to be, flawed characters trying to practice their faith or make sense of God’s will, in difficult circumstances.”
Founded in 1921, International PEN is a worldwide association of writers that advocates for freedom of expression and emphasizes the importance of literature in the development of a world culture. Now in its seventh year, PEN’s annual World Voices Festival of International Literature brings together prominent writers from around the globe. This year’s festival will be held April 25 through May 1 in New York City.