Biography of Tayeb Salih

Tayeb Salih was born in 1929 in rural Karmakol, in northern Sudan. He studied at the University of Khartoum, but there is no record that he graduated (Lalami). Like the narrator of Season of Migration to the North, Salih worked as a teacher in Sudan, before working for the BBC Arabic Service. He then worked in a variety of diplomatic positions, including as the director general of the Ministry of Information in Doha, Qatar, and as representative to the Gulf States for the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

After years of success as a diplomat and education advocate, Salih published Season of Migration to the North in 1969. The novel won immediate accolades from critics worldwide, and it remains his most famous book, alongside the novella The Wedding of Zein. Despite this critical acclaim, most of Salih's work remains untranslated. His collected works, which include political essays, travel writing, and book reviews, are popular and widely available in Arabic. Even so, Salih remained a controversial figure into his old age, publishing an essay in 1990 that was sharply critical of the Islamist regime in charge of Sudan at the time. He died in 2009.


Study Guides on Works by Tayeb Salih

Tayeb Salih published Season of Migration to the North in 1966, ten years after Sudan received its independence from the British empire on January 1, 1956. The novel is heavily influenced by the tumultuous politics of the period. The 1950s and...