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Home »» Moroccan Of The Month

Laila Lalami  [ July, 2005 ]
Laila Lalami Laila Lalami is a fiction writer based in Portland, Oregon.  Born in Rabat, she received a B.A. in English Language and Literature from Mohammed V University, a M.A. in Linguistics from University College London, and a Ph.D. in Linguistics from the University of Southern California.  She taught language and linguistics at the University of Southern California and California State University-Northridge before working in industry, first as a thesaurus editor at the Getty Information Institute, then as a project manager for the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (a NASA contractor) and finally as a director of data and development for Applied Semantics, which was later acquired by Google, Inc. 

 

In 2002, Laila left her computational linguistics job in order to write full-time.  Her short stories have appeared in Mizna, First Intensity, and The Baltimore Review, and have been anthologized.  In 2003, her story "El Dorado" won the Morocco/British Council award for short fiction.  Her essays and book reviews have appeared in The Los Angeles Times, The Los Angeles Review, The Oregonian, and elsewhere.  One of her stories was nominated for Best New American Voices 2006.

 

Laila's first book of fiction, Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits, will be published by Algonquin Books in October 2005.  It tells the story of four Moroccans who try to cross the Straits of Gibraltar on a lifeboat.  Why are they risking their lives?  And are the rewards worth it?  The answers unfold in a series of narratives, dealing with key events in the characters' past and how their lives are forever changed, for better or for worse, by their decision.  The book will be available at all major bookstores, as well as from online retailers like Powells.com, Barnesandnoble.com, and Amazon.com.  Laila is currently at work on her second novel, A Place To Call Home, which is set in Casablanca and Los Angeles in the 1990s.

 

 

Laila is also the editor of the popular literary blog  MoorishGirl http://www.moorishgirl.com, which features news, commentary, book reviews and author interviews as well as occasional political and cultural links.  Moorishgirl has been mentioned favorably in USA Today, The Los Angeles Times, The Portland Tribune, The Observer, The Scotsman, and L'Opinion.



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