Manchester-based independent publisher Comma Press will be releasing the Sudanese writer Rania Mamoun’s short story collection Thirteen Months of Sunrise. The collection won the 2017 PEN/Heim Translation Fund Grants, for its translator from Arabic, Elisabeth Jaquette.
In an email to Brittle Paper, Comma Press’ publicity and outreach officer Zoe Turner explained that the book, which arrives in May 2019, “will be one of only a few major translated collections of short stories by Sudanese women to be published in English.”
Here is a description of Thirteen Months of Sunrise by Comma Press:
A young woman sits by her father’s deathbed, lamenting her failure to keep a promise to him. A struggling writer walks every inch of the city in search of inspiration, only to find it is much closer than she imagined. A girl collapses from hunger at the side of the road and is rescued by the most unlikely of saviours.
In this powerful, debut collection of stories, Rania Mamoun expertly blends the real and imagined to create a rich, complex and moving portrait of contemporary Sudan. From painful encounters with loved ones to unexpected new friendships, Mamoun illuminates the breadth of human experience and explores, with humour and compassion, the alienation, isolation and estrangement that is urban life.
Bold and stylistically unique, Thirteen Months of Sunrise explores themes of motherhood, friendship, poverty, language and community in Sudan and across Ethiopia and Eritrea.
The collection comes with blurbs from Leila Aboulela (“Stunning, remarkable for its sweet clarity of voice and startling depictions of the marginalised and the destitute. With mastery, Rania Mamoun reaches straight into the heartbeat of her subject matter, laying bare humanity in all its tenderness and tenacity”) and Preti Taneja (“A phenomenal, exacting collection”).
Born in 1979, Rania Mamoun is a Sudanese author, journalist, and activist. She has published two novels in Arabic, Green Flash (2006) and Son of the Sun (2013), and her short stories have been published in various magazines and anthologies, including The Book of Khartoum (Comma Press, 2016), the first ever anthology of Sudanese short fiction in translation. She has worked as a culture page editor for Al-Thaqafi magazine, a columnist for Ad-Adwaa newspaper, and was the presenter of the “Silicon Valley.”
Check out her playlist for the collection on ArabLit.
A not-for-profit publisher, Comma Press places emphasis on short stories and translated fiction. It is the publisher of The Book of Khartoum, which contains Bushra al-Fadil’s “The Story of the Girl Whose Birds Flew Away,” winner of the 2017 Caine Prize. We look forward to the arrival of Thirteen Months of Sunrise, to Mamoun’s short stories helping to further bridge Sudanese fiction in Arabic and African readers in English.
Congratulations to Rania Mamoun.