Double Visions: Aminatta Forna and Laila Lalami

14 May 2022
6:00 pm ET
Strand Book Store

In both of their recent essay collections, Windham Campbell Literature Prize winner Aminatta Forna and Pulitzer Prize Finalist Laila Lalami draw from their own lives to explore the desire for belonging in boundary-crossing experiences centered on identity, notions of place, and questions of origin. Forna’s 2021 collection The Window Seat: Notes from a Life in Motion “rov[es] farther and deeper than most” as it “takes us from Sierra Leone to the Shetland Islands, from Iran in 1978 on the verge of revolution to a Whole Foods outside Washington, D.C., in 2020” (Los Angeles Times) in a “moving examination of places and people, filled with [the author’s] carefully constructed observations and analysis” (Time Magazine). In the “sharp, bracingly clear essays” (Entertainment Weekly) that comprise her “no-holds-barred non-fiction debut” (NPR) Conditional Citizens, Lalami ponders how we arrived in our current political landscape and argues that legal citizenship does not guarantee belonging. Together, they discuss how their nonfiction works document life on the edges of belonging—across cultures, countries, and eras.

Laila Lalami headshot
Laila Lalami
Aminatta Forna headshot
Aminatta Forna