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TitleSeason of Migration to the North
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Page 2

TAYEB SALIH was born in 1929 in the Northern Province of Sudan, and has
spent most of his life outside the land of his birth. He studied at Khartoum
University before going to England to work at the British Broadcasting
Corporation as Head of Drama in the Arabic Service. He later worked as
Director-General of Information in Qatar in the Arabian Gulf; with UNESCO in
Paris and as UNESCO’s representative in Qatar. Culturally, as well as
geographically, Tayeb Salih lives astride Europe and the Arab world. In addition
to being well read in European literature, his reading embraces the wide range to
be found in classical and modern Arabic literature as well as the rich tradition of
Islam and Sufism. Before writing , Tayeb Salih
published the novella , which was made into an Arabic film
that won an award at the Cannes Film Festival in 1976. He has also written
several short stories, some of which are among the best to be found in modern
Arabic literature, and the novel .

DENYS JOHNSON-DAVIES is the leading translator of Arabic fiction into
English. Born in Canada, he studied Arabic at the Universities of London and
Cambridge. He has to date published some twenty volumes of novels, short
stories, plays and poetry from modern Arabic literature. He is a Visiting
Professor at the American University in Cairo.

WAIL S. HASSAN teaches in the Department of Comparative and World
Literature at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is the author of

and of numerous articles
on Arabic and comparative literature. A native of Egypt, he has lived in the
United States since 1990.

Page 110

*According to pages of 24 and ll4 in Wail S. I-Iassan’s Tayeb Salib: Ideology and tbe Craft of

Fiction (Syracuse, New York: Syracuse University Press, 2003), in Arabic, ‘infidel’ is never used to refer to
Christians and jews, who are regarded as ‘People of the Book’ who worship the same God of the Muslims;
rather it refers to those who worship other gods. The translation may have overlooked this distinction made
in the Qur’an and reinforces the Orientalist misconception that Islam is inherently hostile to Christians,
when in fact a European Christian would not, in any case, be referred to as an inHdel. Therefore, ‘Christian’
would be a more fitting term than ‘infidel’ in this context.

* i.e. 1306 of the Hegira, or Moslem Calendar, which starts in 622 CE

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