I was born an unexpected footnote in the mid-90s Chicago punk scene when my band was discovered at the Fireside Bowl. By the time I was 20 I had played CBGB and had had my first CD mastered at Abbey Road studios. I went to school a few years later than most as a result. I studied in Paris for a semester as an undergrad English literature major, drawn to the City of Light by my love of the ex-pats. It was in Paris that I was first introduced to writers from North Africa and the Middle East who work primarily in French. What ensued in the next decade was more music, translation and editing work, graduate school, and lots more time in Paris, living in Ménilmontant, near Place de Clichy, off Canal St. Martin and, during the summer of 2005, in Aubervilliers at the home a friend whose family hails from Tizi-Ouzou, the Kabyle hub of Algeria.
I received my PhD in French from University of Michigan in 2011, and I teach at University of Illinois—Chicago. Over the past several years, my attention has turned increasingly to fiction writing in addition to my research on French-speaking North Africa and the Middle East. My scholarly work, The Performance of Listening to Contemporary Francophone Culture, is forthcoming with Liverpool University Press. I have had short creative works, essays on teaching, and literary craft essays published in several places, and I’m a contributing editor at Fiction Writers Review. I’m also an MFA candidate in the Bennington Writing Seminars, where I am working on two novels-in-progress, one about a Chicago indie rock band in therapy, the other a family mystery set in the contemporary immigrant neighborhoods of Paris.