Maaza Mengiste was born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. A novelist and essayist, her fiction and nonfiction stories examine the individual lives at stake during migration, war and exile, and consider the intersections of photography, memory and violence. Mengiste is the author of The Shadow King, a gripping novel set during Mussolini’s 1935 invasion of Ethiopia, which takes us back to the first real conflict of World War II and casts light on the women soldiers who were left out of the historical record. Author Salman Rushdie raves the Shadow King is “a brilliant novel, lyrically lifting history towards myth. It’s also compulsively readable.” Former Sojourn author Andrew Sean Greer calls the book “beautiful, horrifying, elegant, and haunted…a modern classic.” Her debut novel, Beneath the Lion’s Gaze, was selected by The Guardian as one of the 10 best contemporary African books and named one of the best books of the year by Christian Science Monitor, Boston Globe and other publications. Mengiste is the recipient of fellowships from the Fulbright Scholar Program, National Endowment for the Arts and Creative Capital. Her work can be found in The New Yorker, The New York Review of Books, Granta, The Guardian, The New York Times, Rolling Stone and BBC, among other places. She was a writer on the documentary projects Girl Rising and The Invisible City: Kakuma, and is a professor in the MFA in Creative Writing and Literary Translation program at Queens College.