Join Laila Lalami for a talk about “The Border and Its Meaning: Forgotten Stories,” the theme of this year’s Northwest Women Writers Symposium.
Lalami’s novel “The Moor’s Account” won the American Book Award, the Arab American Book Award, and the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award. It was on the Man Booker Prize longlist and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.
A stunning work of historical fiction, “The Moor’s Account” is an imagined memoir by the first black explorer of America, a Moroccan slave whose testimony was not included in the historic record of a disastrous 1527 Spanish expedition to what is now the Gulf Coast of the U.S. The narrator is one of only four survivors who went on to make a journey across America that transformed them from proud conquistadores to humble servants, from fearful outcasts to faith healers.
The Moor’s Account brilliantly captures Estebanico’s voice and vision, giving readers an alternate narrative for this famed event – and in particular, the role of black and Native American participants. The novel illuminates the relationships among storytelling, history, redemption, and survival.
Laila Lalami was born in Rabat, Morocco. In addition to “The Moor’s Account,” she is the author of the novels “Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits,” which was a finalist for the Oregon Book Award and “Secret Son,” which was on the Orange Prize longlist. Her essays and opinion pieces have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, The Nation, the Guardian, the New York Times, and in many anthologies. She writes the “Between the Lines” column for The Nation magazine and is a critic-at-large for the Los Angeles Times. The recipient of a British Council Fellowship, a Fulbright Fellowship, and a Guggenheim Fellowship, she is currently a professor of creative writing at the University of California at Riverside.
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