Spring Update

Laila Lalami
Friends, I’m delighted to share the news that I’ve been awarded a yearlong fellowship at the Radcliffe Institute at Harvard University. I’ll be using the time and space to work on my new novel, The Dream Hotel, which follows a museum archivist who gets detained after an algorithm accuses her of a crime. (That’s a picture of me in the California desert, wondering if I can handle an east coast winter!)

Speaking of California, the New York Times Magazine devoted a special issue to the future of the state, looking at everything from housing to the YIMBY movement. I contributed the opening essay, which uses the history of California’s highways and byways to explore how the past shapes the future. (The stunning illustration is by Benjamin Marra.) Take a look, let me know what you think!

In August, Bloomsbury UK is releasing a new edition of The Moor’s Account, with this gorgeous cover art by Carmen R. Balit. It really is thrilling to see this novel continue to find new readers, and I’m so grateful to all the booksellers, librarians, teachers, and festival curators who’ve embraced it and continue to share it with people. I spoke to NPR affiliate KUNM about it just recently. Have a listen if you’re curious.

In other news, if you find yourself in Berlin this summer, please come see me at the African Book Festival, which takes place August 25-27 and will feature Leila Aboulela, VĂ©ronique Tadjo, and your humble servant, among others.

On a less celebratory note, I found out recently that my novel The Other Americans was banned by a school district in Ohio because it included “a sexual intimacy scene.” As you know, book bans are on the rise across the United States. (Often it takes a single complaint by a parent for a book to be removed from a school library or a course reading list!) If you’re in one of these districts, please connect to Books Unbanned, an initiative by the Brooklyn Public Library that allows teens to get a free library card to access their extensive ebook library.

And finally, for those of you in Los Angeles, I’ll be in conversation with the writer, editor, and critic David Ulin about my most recent novel, The Other Americans, on July 13 at 6 pm. The setting is Zibby’s, the very cozy new bookstore in Santa Monica. Come say hello!

That’s about it for now. For more updates, you can find me on Twitter or Instagram. You can also check out my events page for public readings and talks.