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Leila Aboulela Named 2024–25 Shaftesbury Creative Writer-in-Residence

Apr. 11, 2024
Leila Aboulela is the fourth person to hold the prestigious Shaftesbury Creative Writer-in-Residence role at Victoria College, where she will offer a seminar in the Winter 2025 term and mentor students. (Photo by Rania Rustom)

Leila Aboulela is the fourth person to hold the prestigious Shaftesbury Creative Writer-in-Residence role at Victoria College, where she will offer a seminar in the Winter 2025 term and mentor students. (Photo by Rania Rustom)

Acclaimed author Leila Aboulela has been appointed the Shaftesbury Creative Writer-in-Residence at Victoria College for 2024–2025. Ms. Aboulela was born in Egypt, grew up in Sudan and immigrated to Scotland in 1990. She earned a BA from the University of Khartoum and an MSc and an MPhil from the London School of Economics before turning to fiction. 
 
Her first novel, The Translator, was published in 2006 and was named a New York Times Notable Book that year. (Fittingly, her work has been translated into 15 languages.) She has published five other novels, including River Spirit (2023) and Lyrics Alley (2010, Fiction Winner of the Scottish Book Awards), as well as two short story collections and numerous radio plays. Ms. Aboulela’s honours also include the first Caine Prize for African Writing, three long-listings for the Orange Prize (now the Women’s Prize for Fiction), and the Saltire Fiction Book of the Year. In 2023, she was elected as a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. 
 
Each year, Vic appoints an exceptional writer as the Shaftesbury Creative Writer-in-Residence. This role supports the teaching and learning that takes place in the Creativity and Society program and Vic One’s Norman Jewison stream, and helps foster creative citizenship among the Vic U community. Ms. Aboulela will offer a seminar in the Winter 2025 term, and will participate in events and student mentoring throughout the academic year. 
 
Ms. Aboulela is the fourth person to hold the prestigious Shaftesbury Creative Writer-in-Residence role, previously held by Canisia Lubrin in 2021–22, Liz Howard in 2022–23 and Rawi Hage in 2023–24. The Shaftesbury Creative Writer-in-Residence is supported by a generous gift made to Victoria College by Shaftesbury Inc., a Toronto-based entertainment company founded by Vic alumna Christina Jennings, C.M. 
 
“In light of Norman Jewison’s recent passing, it’s especially meaningful for me to see yet another appointee named to an initiative that builds on the Norman Jewison stream of the Vic One program,” says Ms. Jennings, chairman and president of Shaftesbury. “Leila Aboulela represents a new generation of artists and writers, furthering Victoria College’s commitment to creative excellence. Congratulations, Leila.”


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