Fiction and Autobiography by Arab Writers in English
Chapter 3 Jamal Mahjoub and Tony Hanania: Unravelling Anglo-Arab Hybridity
Jamal Mahjoub His subject was extraterritoriality – the state of being neither here nor there. Edward Said (2001, p.99) ‘You’re British?’… ‘Yes…no.’ Jamal Mahjoub (1989, p.178) Jamal Mahjoub was born in 1960 of a Sudanese father and a British mother. After a period in Liverpool the family moved to Khartoum where Jamal received his education at Comboni College, an institution run by Italian priests. He later went to Atlantic College in Wales on a scholarship, then Sheffield University where he obtained a degree in Geology. After returning briefly to Sudan, he has gone on to live in London, then Aarhus in Denmark, and latterly Barcelona. Mahjoub has worked as a freelance journalist and translator from Arabic, Dan- ish and Catalan, and has won a number of literary prizes, including the Heinemann/Guardian African Short Story Prize. Of the writers dis- cussed in this study, Mahjoub’s shifting of location and his own statements on the craft of writing probably make him personally the least well disposed toward being categorised according to ethnicity. However, I include him under an Anglo-Arab rubric for the main reason that he starts out by writing the hybrid elements of his own Anglo-Arab/African self, and from this beginning moves toward the confrontation of nations and cultures. Eventually he extends this meeting of opposites as far as to describe two intersecting circles: the 88 civilisations of Northern Christendom and the Islamic South. Of all the authors I discuss, Mahjoub’s vision is potentially the most all embracing even as...
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