The Pittsburgh-based City of Asylum has announced a new writer-in-residence: Sudanese author Rania Mamoun.
Mamoun is set to become the City of Asylum’s fourth writer-in-residence, joining Osama Alomar, Tuhin Das, and Israel Centeno.
The author is expected to arrive in June.
In addition to her short-story collection Thirteen Months of Sunrise, which Jaquette won a PEN/Heim grant to translate, Mamoun has published two novels: Green Flash (2006) and Son of the Sun (2013).
The author has won a number of other accolades. In 2010, she took part in the International Prize for Arabic Fiction writers retreat, or nadwa, and, in 2014, she won a Al-Mawred Al-Thaqafy grant to write a novel she was titling Azeeb, which she’s also worked on in an AFAC-sponsored writing workshop with celebrated novelist Jabbour Douaihy. Her work has appeared in translation in The Book of Khartoum and Banthology.
Mamoun is also known for her activism. She was arrested in September 2013 and put on trial for “inciting riots.” In December 2013, she was convicted of causing a disturbance during protests sparked by rising fuel prices. According to AFP, she was ordered to pay 500 pounds, about $65, or spend a month in jail. In the City of Asylum release, they write that she “is currently unable to write freely in Sudan and will be coming with two daughters, aged 1 and 9.”
They add that, “While in residence at COA, Rania will be a scholar at Chatham University, which has sponsored her visa. Rania will be the first COA writer-in-residence to come from abroad since the Trump Administration’s visa policies were implemented.”
City of Asylum provides “sanctuary to endangered literary writers, so that they can continue to write and their voices are not silenced. They also offer a range of literary programs that engage the local community.
The COA release adds that popular Syrian short-story writer Osama Alomar — known for his allegorical short-short stories, such as in The Teeth of the Comb and Other Stories, tr. Alomar and CJ Collins — has just completed the first draft of a novel.
The novel, which they’re calling The Broken Souls, recreates “a manuscript lost in Syria. He has been very active, doing many readings around Pittsburgh—you may have seen him recently at the Bach Choir’s Peace concert–and throughout the U.S., most recently in Austin, Chicago, and Princeton.”