I was born and raised in Morocco. I fell in love with books at a young age, probably because both of my parents were readers. One of my earliest memories is watching my mother and father, sitting on either end of the sofa, each with a book in their hands. I’ve been writing stories since I was nine years old, but I didn’t try to publish until after I finished my doctoral degree, started working for a software start-up company, and realized that I needed a creative outlet more than ever before.
My first book, the collection of short stories Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits (2005), is about a group of Moroccan immigrants who cross the Mediterranean on a lifeboat. My second book, the novel Secret Son (2009), tells the story of a young man from a Casablanca slum who discovers the identity of his real father, leading him on a journey that has devastating personal and political consequences. My third book, The Moor’s Account (2014), is based on the true story of the first black explorer of America, a Moroccan slave known as Estebanico, who was part of the Narváez expedition to Florida in 1528. My most recent book, The Other Americans (Pantheon, 2019), is about the suspicious death of a Moroccan immigrant in California, which sets off a chain of events that reveals a family’s secrets, a small town’s hypocrisies, and the ties that bind people together.
LA Times in the author interview section credit Dania Maxwell and the Los Angeles Times, Copyright 2019