Literature of the Two Sudans

A rich and unprecedented research of Sudan and South Sudan current state of literature


Summer 2018


Curator: Frédérique Cifuentes



P21 Gallery is delighted to be part of the Art Connects Us Research Grants Programme, sponsored by the British Council. 


Independent curator Frédérique Cifuentes will travel to Sudan / South Sudan in order to document and analyse the literature both from Sudan and South Sudan. Her research will bring a unique perspective of their contemporary literary scene; investigate the challenges and opportunities faced by authors and literary entrepreneurs; and finally focus on ways of setting up collaborations and literary initiatives between the UK and the Region. 

We will share the research findings with the UK creative community and audiences by organising and hosting an event at P21 Gallery in October-November 2018, dedicated to the literature from Sudan and South Sudan. With our partners, we will bring a vibrant programme offering a unique perspective on contemporary talents based in both countries as well as those from the Diaspora communities.



We will engage with authors, academics, journalists, publishers, critics, activists, and students of Sudan and South Sudan. Sudan and South Sudan present multiple literatures: the Arabic-based literature (its most well-known practitioner being Tayeb Salih), as well as literatures in English (Leila Aboulela, Jamal Mahjoub) and local languages, such as Beja (known for its poetic traditions) and Dinka (Makwei Mabioor Deng). 

In bringing together literature from the Sudan and South Sudan, we would like to challenges the mainstream notion that both countries have little else to offer beyond images of war, violence, and unending political unrest.

Our aims are to celebrate the literary side of life of these two countries, their writers and their work; to make the Sudan and South Sudan literature scene appealing to a wider audience around the world; to be part of the global literature network and build partnerships.      


Objectives of the research trip
- Establishing and fostering contacts with partners (public and private sector investors in the creative economy), authors and speakers, negotiating with partners and organisations.

- Increasing the number of cultural connections between the UK and East Africa
- Building market knowledge, developing project management skills, sharing best practice, digital outreach and networking with colleagues from across the continent.

- Helping emerging writers in Africa to enter the world of mainstream publishing industry
- Developing a creative economy in EA and fostering its innovative role in social and civic development



For further information, press images and interview opportunities, please contact the gallery:, Tel. 020 7121 6190, or Frédérique Cifuentes:, Tel : 077177 555 33


Supported by:  British Council