laila lalami

Literary Birthday – 24 February – Laila Lalami

Happy Birthday, Laila Lalami, born 24 February 1968.


  1. Immigration, a lexicon. You’re a ‘migrant’ when you’re very poor; ‘immigrant’ when you’re not so poor; and ‘expat’ when you’re rich.
  2. Historical novels, in particular, allow us to relive the past without the neatness of history, and with all the complexity of the present.
  3. In some ways, I think it’s the closest that we come to the truth — is in the form of fiction.
  4. A name is precious; it carries inside it a language, a history, a set of traditions, a particular way of looking at the world. Losing it meant losing my ties to all those things too.
  5. There are writers I return to no matter what I’m working on, writers like the South African, J.M. Coetzee. He has an ability to make you feel that he is writing for you alone.
  6. Every book leaves its mark on you. It might leave you hungry for that kind of book or you may be satiated, and you’re eager to read something else. It might send you in a completely different direction. I love that about reading.

Laila Lalami is a Moroccan-American novelist, essayist, and professor. In 1992, she completed a PhD in linguistics at the University of Southern California. The Other Americans was a Los Angeles Times bestseller and a finalist for the National Book Award. In 2015 she was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Fiction for The Moor’s Account. Her essays and criticism have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, the Guardian, and the New York Times.

Source for image, Photo credit: April Rocha / Source for quotes

 by Amanda Patterson

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Posted on: 23rd February 2020