The author of Season of Migration to the North and The Wedding of Zein, he is one of Sudan's best-known fiction Writers. He also worked for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.
After graduating from the University of London, he worked in broadcasting and briefly taught school. For over a decade, he wrote a column for an Arabic newspaper based in London.
Both the Tayeb Salih Innovative Novel Writing Prize and the Altayeb Salih Prize for Creative Writing were named in his honor.
He grew up in the small village of Al Dabah in Sudan's Northern Province.
His novel, The Season of Migration to the North, has been compared to Heart of Darkness, a classic novel by Joseph Conrad .