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Amir Tag Elsir is a Sudanese writer, who now works as a doctor in Qatar. He has published 24 books, comprising novels, biographies and poetry, including the novels The Dowry of CriesThe Copt’s Worries and The French Perfume (all 2009) and The Crawling of the Ants (2010). His novel The Grub Hunter (2010) was shortlisted for the International Prize for Arabic Fiction in 2011 before being translated into English and Italian. His novel 366 (2013) was longlisted for the same prize in 2014 and was among the winners of the 2015 Katara Prize for the Arabic NovelThe Resort of the Enchantresses (2015) was also longlisted for the 2017 International Prize for Arabic Fiction.

Flowers in Flames
Khamila has inherited her Italian mother’s beauty and her father’s wealth. Nearly 20, she returns from Egypt, where she has been studying aesthetics, to her cosmopolitan home town ‘Al-Sur’. Suddenly, scrawling appears on the walls that has been carried out by a group calling themselves ‘Remembrance and History’, who declare war upon infidels and take over the town, slaughtering its inhabitants. The women become objects of pleasure for the princes of the religious revolution, flowers of many colours eaten by the flames. An era has ended and a new one has begun. Khamila, whose name is now ‘N’anaa’a, waits to be married off to one of the princes, perhaps even their leader: ‘the Pious One’, himself.

160 pages – Original language: Arabic (Dar Al Saqi, 2017)

[Amir Tag Elsir]

Witches’ Roost
The Witches’ Roost follows Ababa Tsfay, who gets off a bus coming from the Eritrean border, fleeing war in her country. She is a striking beauty who has ended up in the wrong place, friendless and penniless, without a place of refuge. Abdel Quyum Dalil Jum’a is a practised thief who lives on the streets. After noticing her, he elects himself as her protector and his love for her changes his life. However, fate has other plans in store for them.
Meanwhile refugees from many nations pour in the country and the subsequent economic and social changes are reflected in venues offering libertine conduct and the sale of locally brewed booze, just as religious extremism is symbolized by the returns of fighters such as Faraj al-Nur from the Chechen war.

Witches’ Roost, written in the author’s typically smooth, lyrical language, appeared on the longlist of two major awards for Arabic literature: The International Prize for Arabic Fiction (the Arab Booker) and the Sheikh Zayed Book Award.

176 pages – Original language: Arabic (Dar Al Saqi,Lebanon, 2016)

[Amir Tag Elsir]

French Perfume (Aleutur alfaransia ,2010)
Where we hear of the residents of the popular neighbourhood of Ghaib (i.e.: ‘non-existent’) in an unspecified large Sudanese town, and of their excitement for the arrival of a mysterious French woman.  A strategy team is assembled composed by a fortune teller, the internet boy, the village busybody, the wretched one and Ali Jarjar, the narrator. Each will have a task to absolve to make sure the French woman is properly received, but also to ensure that her stay will bring benefits to the villagers, ranging from repaired potholes to marriage proposal. Ghaib is the light-hearted allegory of a colourful African city neighbourhood with its array of innocent-eyed characters whose naivety leaves them open to the manipulations of the world outside the confines of the village. With humour and a language that mixes irony and classical resonances, the author creates a panoramic view of themes such as religious intolerance, dictatorship, corruption, emigration

148 pages – Original language: Arabic (Arab Scientific Publishers, Lebanon, 2010) – Translations: English (Anti Book Club, 2015); French (L’Harmattan, 2010); Farsi

[Amir Tag Elsir]

The Grub Hunter (Sa’id al-Yaraqat ,2011)
Abdallah Harfash, a former secret service agent, is determined to become a writer after an accident costs him his leg and his job. This quest takes him on a curious and often comic journey. He starts to visit a café frequented by intellectuals, only to find himself the subject of police scrutiny. Amir Tag Elsir’s novel is filled with strange situations and even stranger characters such as the renowned athor A.T. who becomes an unlikely mentor to Harfash. This sharply original novel explores notions on identity and writing with wit and humour.

Shortlisted for the ARABIC BOOKER / INTERNATIONAL PRIZE for Arabic Fiction (IPAF), 2012

166 pages – Original language: Arabic (Dar Al Saqi, Lebanon, 2011) – Translations: English (Heinemann, 2012), Italian (Nottetempo, 2013), Polish (Claroscuro, 2015), Turkish (Cumartesi Kitalpigi, 2019)

[Amir Tag Elsir]

Ebola ‘76 (‘Iibula ‘76, 2012)
Ebola ’76follows the story of Louis, a simple blue-collar worker who unwittingly transports the deadly disease back to his home country, with disastrous consequences for his family, friends and colleagues alike. In a series of bizarre and comical human encounters, the disease takes a firm hold of the city of Anzara. Blind guitar players, comely barbers, tyrannical factory owners and spurned wives all soon find themselves desperately fighting for their lives in the “Time of Ebola”.

Among the novel’s most unusual characters is Ebola itself, a strikingly dark and sinister presence that haunts the pages of this fast-paced, tragicomic satire. Cackling with glee, hovering in drops of spittle, and gliding slyly from body to body, Ebola is the most evil and unpredictable of villains.

144 pages – Original language: Arabic (Dar Al Saqi,Lebanon, 2012) – Translations: English (Darf Publishers, 2015), French (Balland Editions, 2016), Turkish (Cumartesi Kitalpigi, 2018)

[Amir Tag Elsir]

Amir Tag Elsir - TelepathyTelepathy (Taqs, 2014)
A Sudanese writer begins to suspect that one of his most idiosyncratic characters from a recent novel resembles – in an uncanny, terrifying way – a real person he has never met. Since he condemned this character to an untimely death in the novel, should he attempt to save this real man from a similar fate?

Set in both sides of Khartoum – the bustling capital city and the neglected, poverty-stricken underbelly – this is a novel of unreliable narrators, of insane asylums and of the dubious relationship between imagination and reality.

160 pages – Original language: Arabic (Bloomsbury Qatar Foundation Publishing, 2014) – Translations: English (Bloomsbury Qatar Foundation Publishing, 2015)

© ampimargini