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Laila Lalami Chris Abani

Associate Professor

Office: 4127 INTS
Phone: (951) 827-5570
E-mail: laila.lalami@ucr.edu

Personal Website

Laila Lalami was born and raised in Morocco. She earned her B.A. in English from Universite Mohammed V in Rabat, her M.A. from University College, London, and her Ph.D. in linguistics from the University of Southern California. Her work has appeared in The Boston Globe, The Los Angeles Times, The Nation, The New York Times, The Washington Post and elsewhere. She is the recipient of an Oregon Literary Arts grant and a Fulbright Fellowship. She was short-listed for the Caine Prize for African Writing (the "African Booker") in 2006. Her debut collection of short stories, Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits, was published in the fall of 2005 and has since been translated into Spanish, Dutch, French, Portuguese, Italian, and Norwegian. Her first novel, Secret Son, will be published in the spring of 2009. She is currently Associate Professor of Creative Writing at the University of California Riverside.


  • Ph.D. Linguistics. 1997. University of Southern California.
  • M.A. Linguistics. 1991. University College London, University of London.
  • B.A. English Language and Literature. 1990. Universite Mohammed-V


  • Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits. Algonquin Books, 2005. Harcourt, 2006.
  • Secret Son. Chapel Hill, North Carolina: Algonquin Books, 2009.

Short Stories

  • "The Trip." Translated into German as "Harragas." Lisan Verlag. May 2008.
  • "The Turning Tide." Elle India. April 2008. Translated into Italian as "Il destino nelle onde." Internazionale Magazine. December 2007.
  • "El Dorado." First Intensity. Fall 2005.
  • "Better Luck Tomorrow." The Baltimore Review. January 2005.
  • "The Lessons." Mizna. December 2004.


  • "The Dot Matrix." The Nation. January 21, 2008. 
  • "Beyond the Veil." The Nation. December 10, 2007. 
  • "Revenants." The Nation. November 22, 2007. 
  • "Native Speaker." The Boston Review. September/October 2006. 
  • "The Missionary Position." The Nation. June 19, 2006.
  • "Exile and the Kingdom." The Nation. March 20, 2006.
  • "Colonial encounters." The Nation. September 26, 2005. 


  • "Looking Past Cliches." The Nation. May 6, 2008.
  • "The Fear Factor in the Campaign." The Boston Globe. April 19, 2008. 
  • "The Fake Prince of Facebook." The Nation. February 21, 2008.
  • "Censorship's New Clothes." The New York Times. February 3, 2007. Reprinted in the International Herald Tribune. February 5, 2007.

Prizes and Awards

  • Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits, finalist for the Oregon Book Awards. 2006.
  • "The Fanatic" (from Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits), short-listed for the Caine Prize for African Writing (the "African Booker"). 2006.
  • Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits, finalist for the John Gardner Fiction Prize, awarded by Binghamton University. 2006.


  • Fulbright Fellowship to Morocco. November 2006-August 2007.
  • Fletcher Pratt Fellowship in Fiction. Bread Loaf Writers' Conference. August 2006.
  • Oregon Literary Arts Fellowship in Fiction. 2006.
  • British Council Graduate Fellowship. 1990-1991.