Laila Lalami winner of 2020 Arab American Book Award

Author: Jessica Weber
October 22, 2020

UCR author Laila Lalami is among the recipients of the 2020 Arab American Book Awards. Awards are given in the categories of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and children/young adult. Lalami’s novel “The Other Americans” was selected as the winner in the fiction category.

Laila Lalami

Set in the Mojave Desert, “The Other Americans” follows a Moroccan American family as they grapple with tragedy, providing a contemporary portrait of the immigrant experience. The book was published in March 2019 and was previously shortlisted for a Kirkus Prize, National Book Award, and California Book award.

“I’m thrilled and honored to receive the Arab American Book Award in fiction,” said Lalami, who is of Moroccan descent. “This is a novel about family and community and to see it embraced in this way feels wonderful.”

Established in 2006 by the Arab American National Museum, the Arab American Book Awards honor books written by and about Arab Americans and aims to generate greater awareness of Arab American scholarship and writing through the annual award competition and educational outreach. The winning titles are chosen by groups of selected readers including authors, university professors, and museum staff. Recipients of this year’s awards were announced Aug. 31.

Lalami is a professor of creative writing and the author of four novels including “The Other Americans,” “The Moor’s Account,” “Secret Son,” and “Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits.” Her latest book, “Conditional Citizens,” was published September 2020.