Bird Summons

Salma, happily married, tries every day to fit into life in Britain. When her first love contacts her, she is tempted to risk it all and return to Egypt.

Moni gave up a career in banking to care for her disabled son, but now her husband wants to move to Saudi Arabia – where she fears her son’s condition will worsen.

Iman feels burdened by her beauty. In her twenties and already in her third marriage, she is treated like a pet and longs for freedom.

On a road trip to the Scottish Highlands, the women are visited by the Hoopoe, a sacred bird whose fables from Muslim and Celtic literature compel them to question the balance between faith and femininity, love, loyalty and sacrifice.

Brilliantly imagined, intense and haunting, Bird Summons confirms Leila Aboulela’s reputation as one of our finest contemporary writers.

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Leila Aboulela

Leila Aboulela (born 1964) is a Sudanese writer who lives in Great Britain and writes in English. Her most recent books are the novel Bird Summons (2019) and the short-story collection Elsewhere, Home which was the winner of the 2018 Saltire Fiction Book of the Year Award. Her novel The Kindness of Enemies (2015), was inspired by the life of Imam Shamil, who united the tribes of the Caucasus to fight against Russian Imperial expansion. Aboulela’s 2011 novel, Lyrics Alley, was Fiction Winner of the Scottish Book Awards and short-listed for a Regional Commonwealth Writers Prize. She is also the author of the novels The Translator (a New York Times 100 Notable Book of the Year) and Minaret. All three novels were long-listed for the Orange Prize and the IMPAC Dublin Award. Leila Aboulela won the Caine Prize for African Writing for her short story “The Museum”, included in the collection Coloured Lights, which went on to be short-listed for the Macmillan/Silver PEN award. Aboulela’s work has been translated into 15 languages and included in publications such as Harper’s Magazine, Granta, The Washington Post and The Guardian.

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