Photo by Michael Delott

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 teach at University of Illinois—Chicago, and I’m an MFA candidate in the Bennington Writing Seminars.