Sudan: Writer Ali Alrufa'ee - a Masterly, Little Known Novelist

7 February 2021

Khartoum — Sudanese novelist Ali Alrufa'ee has now opted to live on what he writes preferring to work and write in his home village of Algurair away from the noise of the cities.

A graduate of the Faculty of Arts, University of Khartoum, Ali Alrufa'ee started his careers as an administrator, teacher and then a translator in the Gulf region.

He has now settled down in his home village in the north of Sudan, writing and looking after his own farm.

Rufa'ee has produced several novels and short story collections.

Not very much was known about writer Rifa'ee until when his novel Jeenat Aailat Mero "Mero Family Genes" won two of the Katara Prize for Arabic Novel, category of unpublished literary works and the best novel for TV and film adaptation, in 2016.

The Katara Prize for Arabic Novel is an Arabic literary prize based in Qatar. It was established in 2014 by the Katara Cultural Village. The total prize pool is $650,000 and the main prize $200,000, making it one of the riches literary prizes in the World. One of its sponsors is UNESCO. The winning novels are translated into five languages - including French and English.

In addition to this Katara Prize, Rufa'ee had collected several other prizes.

Novelist Mansoor Alsuwaim, who had in 2005 co-won the Altayeb Salih Novel Prize with Rufa'ee, says Rufa'ee's winning of the Katara Novel Prize, "is a practical indication of this writer's faith in and devotedness to his literary project on which he works in silence, away from the noise of the media.

This project is one of the most sustainable and distinctive novel projects. Writer Rufa'ee is an established narrator, with a clear thumbprint in writing, whereby his published works are characterized with their rich language and their varied techniques and themes. I can state that he has become a distinct school in modern novel writing in Sudan, given the novelty of his themes and the techniquese uses," maintains Suwaim.

Critic Majzoub Aydaroos said "Rufa'ee, who lives in the same geographical area expressed in the works of novelist Tayeb Salih, has coexisted with the people of that region, sharing their preoccupations and ambitions.

Rufa'ee had expressed in his novels "Windows of the Other Face" and "A Tribe From Beyond the Horizon" the developments in his home area in Northern Sudan. His novels demonstrate great care about the language, a narration language in which he is concerned with the smoothness and beauties of the language in a manner unseen in contemporary fiction. He is a real addition to the Sudanese and Arabic narrative library."

Majzoub Aydaroos

Aydaroos also paid tribute to the Sudanese literary critics who "embraced" Rufa'ee's talent though he is always away from the limelight. It was because of this care accorded to him by the critics that the readers got informed about him, so qualifying him for the Tayeb Salih awards (Tayeb Salih Prize for Literary Creativity presented by the Abdel Karim Mirghani Cultural Center and Tayeb Salih International Award for Creative Writing sponsored by the telecommunication company Zain).

The Katara prize and the other Arabic literary awards enthuse writers for more creativity. This prize and the prize won by Sudanese novelist Amir Taj Alsir constitute important breakthroughs for the Sudanese novel and qualify them for the position they deserve in the literary world, maintained Aydaroos.

The late Sudanese Novelist Ibrahim Ishaq was of the view that the acclaim received by Rufa'ee was well deserved.

"Writer Rufa'ee is an example of a diligent man of letters who reflected the general Sudanese environment," said Ishaq.

Novelist and story writer Ahmed Alfadl said Rufa'ee is perpetual writer who bent himself on his careful work away from the city's noise.

Writer Ali Alrufa'ee was born in the City of Atabara, Northern Sudan, on 9 August 1948.

Then he grew up in his home village of Algurair, in the North of the country.

Mansoor Alsuwaim

He graduated from the Faculty of Arts, University of Khartoum.

He then worked as administrative supervisor and interpreter in the Desert Gharaba Forests Camp in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). He then served as a translator in the Abu Dhabi Defense Force in the UAE also.

Then he taught English in the intermediate education in Sirte (Libya).

He is now working on his farm in his home village Algurair.

His other novels include:

-The Nile Crosses to the Other Bank

- The Windmill

-The Sun Sets Upwards

In addition, he has written a collection of short stories he entitled "Who Can Buy My Father's Pants" and an unpublished collection of poems.

He is father of three daughters, namely Tayseer, Belgees and Salma.

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