Laila Lalami

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Laila Lalami
Born 1968
Rabat, Morocco
Occupation Novelist, Professor
Nationality Morocco, United States
External images
Author photo, 2014

Laila Lalami (Arabic: ليلى العلمي‎, born 1968) is a Moroccan American novelist and essayist.

Early life[edit]

Lalami was born and raised in Rabat, Morocco, where she earned her B.A. in English from Université Mohammed V. In 1990, she received a British Council fellowship to study in England and completed a M.A. in Linguistics at University College London. After graduating she returned to Morocco and worked briefly as a journalist and commentator. In 1992 she moved to Los Angeles to attend the University of Southern California, from which she later graduated with a Ph.D. in Linguistics.[1]


Lalami began writing fiction and nonfiction in English in 1996.[2] She has published literary criticism and political essays in The Boston Globe, Boston Review, The Los Angeles Times, The Nation, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Daily Beast, and elsewhere.

Her debut collection of stories, Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits, was released in the fall of 2005 and has since been translated into six languages. Her first novel, Secret Son, was published in the spring of 2009 and was longlisted for the Orange Prize.[3][4] Her novel, The Moor's Account, is based on the true story of the first black explorer of America and the Narváez expedition.[5]

Lalami is the recipient of an Oregon Literary Arts grant and a Fulbright Fellowship. She was selected by the World Economic Forum as a Young Global Leader in 2009.[6]

She is an associate professor of creative writing at the University of California, Riverside.[7]




  1. ^ Essay World Literature Today.
  2. ^ Interview Writers & Books.
  3. ^ Profile Thorne, John. The National
  4. ^ Levy, Mantel battle 7 debut novels for Orange prizeReuters
  5. ^ Review Los Angeles Times
  6. ^ Press Release YGL Honorees 2009.
  7. ^ UCR UCR Creative Writing
  8. ^ The Wall Street Journal The Wall Street Journal
  9. ^ NPR NPR
  10. ^ The New York Times The New York Times
  11. ^ Kirkus Reviews Kirkus Reviews
  12. ^ Hedgebrook Hedgbrook News
  13. ^ Lannan Lannan Residency

External links[edit]