September 23, 2023

Celebrating Christian and Nubian Heritage in Sudan

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Angels in Foras: by the Sudanese Novelist Emad Blake

In Angels in Foras (Cairo: Willows House for Printing and Publishing, 2023), Sudanese novelist Emad Blake seeks to celebrate the history of Christians and Nubians in Sudan, and to advocate for them by exposing some of the harsh practices that led to their estrangement from their lands and heritage. Centred around a Polish archaeologist who settles in Sudan, and adores its land and people,

the novel depicts the strangeness of human lives and how individual existence is connected to many things, memories and details; we are all the product of the meanings we acquire and the interpretations into which we enter.

Stories intercross and complement one another, misconceptions overlap and one narrative sprouts from the corpse of another.

The cover Blake has chosen for his novel is a photo of St Anne. It is a mural from the era of the Kingdom of Makuria in what is now northern Sudan, estimated to date from the eighth or ninth centuries. Painted on plaster with limestone colours, this unknown work of art was found, according to Warsaw Museum, in the cathedral of Foras city in old Nubia, where a Polish expedition carried out excavations in 1962, before the construction of the Aswan Dam.

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