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“I am African” – Laila Lalami Responds to Being Identified as a US Author on the 2015 Man Booker Prize Longlist

The Moor's AccountThe FishermenThe 2015 Man Booker Prize longlist was announced yesterday, with 13 authors representing the US (five), the UK (three), Ireland, Jamaica, Nigeria, India and New Zealand.

This is only the second year the Man Booker Prize has been open to American authors, a move that many suggest has led to writers from the Commonwealth being “squeezed out”.

The only African author on the list, as identified by the Prize, was Nigerian Chigozie Obioma, longlisted for his debut novel, The Fishermen.

However, after the announcement Moroccan-born author Laila Lalami, author of The Moor’s Account, objected to being identified as not African.

Lalami tweeted a link to The Guardian’s announcement of the prize, and quoted a sentence declaring Obioma the “sole African writer” on the list. Lalami raised an eyebrow at the statement:

 
The author, who has lived in the United States since 1992 but was born and raised in Rabat, Morocco, clarified her reaction in a follow-up tweet:

 
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