Monica Ali’s first novel, Brick Lane, propelled her onto Granta’s list of Best Young British Novelists of the Decade. It was described by The New Republic magazine as ‘a great achievement of the subtlest storytelling’.
Her second book, a novel-in-stories, Alentejo Blue, was set in rural Portugal, a country which she first fell in love with twenty years ago, and where she now spends long summers with her family. It was described by the Sunday Telegraph as ‘A kind of Portuguese version of Under Milk Wood…wise, graceful and supremely elegant.’
In the Kitchen, the third novel, entailed a year’s research in London hotel kitchens, including chopping up a lot of onions. The Sunday Times called it ‘dazzling,’ and the Scotsman said of it, ‘This is a book about what it means to live in the twenty-first century; what it means to be good in this world of moral and political quicksand…Monica Ali is on top form.’
Her most recent novel, Untold Story, inspired by Princess Diana, has been described by Lady Antonia Fraser as ‘haunting and intensely readable, something between a thriller and a ghost story.’
Monica Ali has taught creative writing on the MFA programme at Columbia University, is the chair of the 2011 Asian Man Booker Prize, and a member of the Board of Trustees of English PEN. She has a number of charity interests, including being an active supporter of Oxfam and a patron of the Attlee Youth and Community Centre in Tower Hamlets.