Bushra al-Fadil on Writing ‘Something Similar to’ Sci Fi

Sudanese author Bushra al-Fadil — after winning the Caine Prize in 2017, along with translator Max Shmookler, who worked with support from Najlaa Osman Eltom — gave a talk about his writing to the Library of Congress:

For his talk, skip ahead to 12:00.

He says, among other things: “Now I’m trying to write, in my latest works, science fiction — or something similar to science fiction. I can’t write science fiction, because science fiction should be known to people who are living in countries where there is industries, developed, and so on. But I write something similar to it, so as to avoid saying science fiction, and with it, speak about my country, too.

“My latest novel is called 2084, and I’m imitating George Orwell in the name, but speaking about what it going to happen in my country after 70 or 80 years.”


Al-Fadil has published four collections of short stories in Arabic and holds a PhD in Russian language and literature.

His Caine Prize-winning “The Story of the Girl whose Birds Flew Away” can be heard on the Caine Prize website.