Laila Lalami

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Laila Lalami
Born 1968
Rabat, Morocco
Occupation Novelist, Professor
Nationality Morocco, United States

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

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 switched to 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 new novel, The Moor's Account, is based on the true story of the first black explorer of America. It was published by Pantheon Books in September 2014.[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 currently an associate professor of creative writing at the University of California, Riverside.[7]

Awards and Honors[edit]



  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. ^ Hedgebrook Hedgbrook News
  9. ^ Lannan Lannan Residency

External links[edit]