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Dinaw Mengestu

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Dinaw Mengestu

Mengestu at Georgetown University in 2012.
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Novelist, Professor of Creative
Nationality American
Ethnicity Ethiopian
Alma mater
Georgetown University; Columbia
Realism, postmodernism
Dinaw Mengestu (born 1978) is an Ethiopian-American novelist and writer. In addition to three
novels, he has written for Rolling Stone on the war in Darfur, and for Jane Magazine on the
conflict in northern Uganda.
His writing has also appeared in Harper's, The Wall Street
Journal, and numerous other publications. He is Lannan Chair of Poetics at Georgetown
Since his first book was published in 2007, he has received numerous literary
awards, and was selected as a MacArthur Fellow in 2012.

1 Early life
2 Career
3 Awards and honors
4 Bibliography
5 References
6 External links
Early life[edit]
Dinaw Mengestu was born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. His family left Ethiopia during the war
when he was two years old and immigrated to the United States. He was raised in Peoria, Illinois,
and graduated from Fenwick High School in Oak Park, Illinois.

Mengestu received his B.A. in English from Georgetown University, and his MFA in fiction
from Columbia University.

Mengestu's dbut novel, The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears, was published in the United
States in March 2007 by Penguin Riverhead. It tells the story of Sepha Stephanos, who fled the
warfare of the Ethiopian Revolution seventeen years before and immigrated to the United States.
He owns and runs a failing grocery store in Logan Square, then a poor African-American section
of Washington, D.C. that is becoming gentrified. He and two fellow African immigrants, all of
them single, deal with feelings of isolation and nostalgia for home. Stephanos becomes involved
with a white woman and her daughter, who move into a renovated house in the neighborhood.
The novel was published in the United Kingdom as Children of the Revolution in May 2007 by
Jonathan Cape. It has been translated into more than a dozen languages.

Mengestu's second novel, How to Read the Air, was published in October 2010.
Part of the
novel was excerpted in the July 12, 2010, issue of The New Yorker, after Mengestu was selected
as one of their "20 under 40" writers of 2010.
This novel was also the winner of the 2011
Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence. This literary award was established in 2007 by
the Baton Rouge Area Foundation.

In 2014, he was selected for the Hay Festival's Africa39 project as one of 39 Sub-Saharan
African writers aged under 40 with the potential and the talent to define the trends of the

Awards and honors[edit]
This article contains a list of works that does not follow the Manual of Style for lists of
works (often, though not always, due to being in reverse-chronological order) and
may need cleanup. (July 2014)
2012 Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence

MacArthur Foundation Fellow, 2012

The New Yorker "20 Under 40", 2010

Los Angeles Times Book Prize, 2008
New York Public Library Young Lions Award Finalist 2008
Dylan Thomas Prize, Finalist 2008
Prix du Premier Meilleur Roman Etranger, 2007
Grand Prix des Lectrices de Elle, Finalist 2007
Prix Femina Etranger, Finalist, 2007
Guardian First Book Award, 2007
National Book Award Foundation, 5 Under 35 Award, 2007
Lannan Fiction Fellowship, 2007
New York Times Notable Book 2007
The Beautiful Things that Heaven Bears, Penguin Riverhead, 2007, ISBN 1594489408;
Children of the Revolution, Vintage, 2008, ISBN 9780099502739
How to Read the Air, Penguin, 2010, ISBN 9781594487705
All Our Names (Knopf, 2014)
1. Jump up ^ Dinaw Mengestu, "The Tragedy of Darfur", Rolling Stone
2. Jump up ^ "Acclaimed Writer to Teach Students at Georgetown". Goergetown University.
Retrieved 1 March 2013.
3. ^ Jump up to:

"2012 MacArthur Foundation 'Genius Grant' Winners". AP. 1 October 2012.
Retrieved 1 October 2012.
4. Jump up ^ Thomas, Mike (October 20, 2012). "Writers long road to genius is a story of
overcoming racism". Chicage Sun Times. Retrieved 22 October 2012.
5. Jump up ^ "Columbia University School of the Arts WRITING'", Columbia University
6. Jump up ^ "Dinaw Mengestu", Hodder & Stoughton.
7. Jump up ^ "Two Riverhead Authors: Dinaw Mengestu and Salvatore Scibona Make the New
Yorker's 20 under 40 Fiction Writers to Watch", Riverhead Books
8. Jump up ^ "The New Yorker Excerpts Dinaw Mengestu's Forthcoming Novel 'How to Read the
Air'", Riverhead Books
9. Jump up ^ Hatley, James. "Making Gaines", "225", Louisiana, 22 May 2012.
10. Jump up ^ Africa39, Hay Festival.
11. Jump up ^ Wendland, Tegan."Dinaw Mengestu Wins Ernest Gaines Literary Award",
WRKF.org89.3, Louisiana, 25 January 2012
12. Jump up ^ "Fiction: 20 under 40: Dinaw Mengestu", The New Yorker, 14 June 2010
External links[edit]
Linda Kulman, "Dinaw Mengestu Captures Immigrant Life", NPR, 19 February 2008.
Sarah Crown, "Ethiopian-American wins Guardian First Book Award", The Guardian, 5
December 2007
"Dinaw Mengestu",
Authority control
VIAF: 56040841
ISNI: 0000 0001 1492 0471
BNF: cb15553978w (data)

Retrieved from
American writers of African descent
21st-century American novelists
American male novelists
American magazine journalists
Writers from Illinois
MacArthur Fellows
Georgetown University alumni
Columbia University alumni
American people of Ethiopian descent
Ethiopian emigrants to the United States
People from Peoria, Illinois
1978 births
Living people
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