Abstract

Abstract:

This essay focuses on the literary voices of two Scottish-based Muslim writers: Suhayl Saadi and Leila Aboulela, who both negotiate the role of religion in a postcolonial and post-national Scotland. Hybridity is a re-occurring motif in Saadi's novels and short stories. His novels Psychoraag (2004) and Joseph's Box (2009) draw inspiration from various cultural sources such as South Asian or Persian mythology, but are also rooted in a distinctively Scottish landscape and culture. Aberdeen-based Sudanese writer Leila Aboulela set both her first novel The Translator (1999) and her fourth novel The Kindness of Enemies (2015) in Scotland. Both writers negotiate the status which Islam holds in a Western context, combine this with their experiences of prejudice and racism, and present a Scotland in which people seek to transcend nationality through other markers of identity. Despite this similarity, these writers have very divergent views on religion and offer different options for a post-national framework. For Saadi, Islam is important as a cultural entity. Aboulela's works, on the other hand, represent faith as the most important marker of identity and as the only palpable alternative point of identification which questions nationality. Aboulela and Saadi can be read as part of a wider stream of Scottish fiction that tries to move beyond a nationalist literature concerned solely with Scottishness towards a more globalised and cosmopolitan perspective.

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Additional Information

ISSN
2050-6678
Print ISSN
1756-5634
Pages
pp. 51-67
Launched on MUSE
2021-06-04
Open Access
No
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