Author Laila Lalami will headline CSWS women writers symposium

Laila Lalami

Laila Lalami, author of the award-winning novel “The Moor’s Account,” will headline the April 25 CSWS Northwest Women Writers Symposium, sponsored by the UO’s Center for the Study of Women in Society.

Lalami will deliver the keynote address, “The Border and Its Meaning: Forgotten Stories,” at 6 p.m. at the downtown Eugene Public Library, 100 W. 10th St. She will give readings from “The Moor’s Account” at a panel discussion starting at 3 p.m. in the Ford Lecture Room at the UO’s Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art. Both events are free and open to the public.

'The Moor's Account' cover“The Moor’s Account” won the American Book Award, the Arab American Book Award and the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award. It was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and on the long list for the Man Booker Prize.

Lalami also writes the “Between the Lines” column for The Nation magazine. Her essays and opinion pieces have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, the Guardian, the New York Times and many anthologies. She is a professor of creative writing at the University of California, Riverside and speaks frequently on college campuses and elsewhere.

A native of Morocco, Lalami was educated there, Great Britain and the United States. Her first novel, “Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits,” was a finalist for the Oregon Book Award in 2006 and weaves the stories of four migrants from Morocco who risk their lives crossing the Mediterranean to seek a better life in Spain.

In her keynote address, Lalami not only will talk about her writing but also about her personal experiences with borders. In an article that appeared last year in the New York Times Magazine, Lalami wrote about being stopped by the U.S. Border Patrol in Texas while traveling with friends. All were asked if they were U.S. citizens, and she in particular received an extra long gaze from an officer, who then waved them through.

“Except this was not a border,” she wrote. “This was the middle of Interstate 10 between El Paso and Marfa, Tex.”

“The Moor’s Account” will be the focus of a panel discussion that includes commentary by UO faculty members Elizabeth Bohls, English; Miriam Gershow, English; Angela Joya, international studies; Lamia Karim, anthropology; and Michael Najjar, theater arts.

Sponsored by the UO Center for the Study of Women in Society, the CSWS Northwest Women Writers Symposium has developed over time a strong cooperative effort with the Eugene Public Library, which hosts a portion of each year’s offerings.

Co-sponsors include the Oregon Humanities Center’s Endowment for Public Outreach in the Arts, Sciences, and Humanities; UO Libraries; College of Arts and Sciences Humanities; Department of English; Department of Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies; School of Journalism and Communication; Center for Latino/a and Latin American Studies; and the Wayne Morse Center for Law and Politics.

For more detailed information about the symposium, go to: