Moroccan-American author Laila Lalami has a new book forthcoming on September 22, 2020 from Pantheon Books.
Titled Conditional Citizens, the memoir details Lalami’s journey from her home country Morocco to the United States, and her experiences as an immigrant in America.
At 208 pages, the book is Laila Lalami’s debut work as a memoirist, and her fifth book in total following the novels Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits (2005), The Secret Son (2009), The Moor’s Account (2014) and The Other Americans (2019).
“What does it mean to be American? In this starkly illuminating and impassioned book, Pulitzer Prize–finalist Laila Lalami recounts her unlikely journey from Moroccan immigrant to U.S. citizen, using it as a starting point for her exploration of the rights, liberties, and protections that are traditionally associated with American citizenship. Tapping into history, politics, and literature, she elucidates how accidents of birth—such as national origin, race, and gender—that once determined the boundaries of Americanness still their shadows today.
Lalami poignantly illustrates how white supremacy survives through adaptation and legislation, with the result that a caste system is maintained that keeps the modern equivalent of white make landowners at the top of the social hierarchy. Conditional citizens, she argues, are all the people with whom America embraces with one arm and pushes away with the other.
Brilliantly argued and deeply personal, Conditional Citizens weaves together Lalami’s own experiences with explorations of the place of nonwhites in the broader American culture.”
Conditional Citizens has already received advanced praise and is listed as one of the most anticipated books in 2020 by Electric Literature, Buzzfeed, Millions, LitHub, Ms Magazine, among others.
Born in Rabat and educated in Morocco, Great Britain, and in the US, Lalami is the author of the novels Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits, which was a finalist for the Oregon Book Award; Secret Son, which was on the Orange Prize longlist; and The Moor’s Account, which won the American Book Award, the Arab American Book Award, and the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and longlisted for the Man Booker Prize.
Her latest novel The Other Americans was a finalist for the National Book Awards in 2019 and the 2020 Aspen Words Literary Prize. A critic-at-large for the Los Angeles Times, Lalami is 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.
Congrats to Laila Lalami!
Note: This post has been updated to reflect a change in the book’s release date from April 2020 to September 2020.