Photo of Laila Lalami

Ten Evenings

Laila Lalami

“A name is precious; it carries inside it a language, a history, a set of traditions, a particular way of looking at the world. Losing it meant losing my ties to all those things too.”


Prize-winning novelist (The Moor’s Account, The Other Americans) Laila Lalami’s Conditional Citizens shares her experience as a Moroccan immigrant to create a deeply personal investigation of the place of nonwhites in American culture.

In this starkly illuminating and impassioned book, 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. Lalami poignantly illustrates how white supremacy survives through adaptation and legislation. Conditional citizens, she argues, are all the people whom America embraces with one arm and pushes away with the other.

Lalami was born and raised in Morocco, a place whose past and present permeate her writing. A novelist, short story writer, and essayist, Lalami is a unique and confident voice in the conversations about race and immigration that increasingly occupy our national attention. The Moor’s Account was a finalist for the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, and was longlisted for both the Man Booker Prize and the International Dublin Literary Award. The Other Americans was a finalist for the National Book Award for Fiction and the Kirkus Prize for Fiction and won the Simpson Family Literary Prize. She is a regular contributor to publications that include The Nation, the Los Angeles Times, and the New York Times Magazine.

More about Laila Lalami

New York Times, November 2016

My Life as a Muslim in the West’s ‘Gray Zone’, by Laila Lalami

Between the Covers podcast from Tin House

Laila Lalami : The Moor’s Account

Time Magazine, January 2020

The Complicated Truth About What U.S. Citizenship Means Today, by Laila Lalami

Laila Lalami’s Website

“Consistently thoughtful and incisive, the book confronts the perils of our modern age with truths to inspire the coalition-building necessary to American cultural and democratic survival. A bracingly provocative collection perfect for our times.”



White Whale Bookstore will have copies of Laila Lalami’s books available for sale. The Other Americans is available now.

Sponsored by Winchester Thurston

Conditional Citizens book cover


Monday, October 26, 2020 at 7:30 p.m.
If we cannot be together in person for this scheduled lecture, we will work with the author to create a virtual event viewable from home. If we can be together in person, we will make livestreaming an option for those who prefer to view from home.
Video links will be emailed to all ticket holders on the day of the scheduled lecture.


Online & in the Carnegie Music Hall
4400 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh, 15213


Upcoming Lectures

Stephen Heyman

AUG 13

Suzanne Nossel

AUG 20

Anna Bruno headshot

Anna Bruno

AUG 27

Deesha Philyaw