Alain Mabanckou was born in 1966. He currently spends his time between Paris, Congo and Los Angeles, where he teaches literature at UCLA. In 2012 Mabanckou took up a residency in the ArtAngel project, A Room for London.
Mabanckou is the author of six volumes of poetry and six novels, with his works published in 15 languages. He won the prestigious Grand Prix de la Littérature Henri Gal in 2012 for his body of work, and has received the Sub-Saharan African Literature Prize (for Blue-White-Red) and the Prix Renaudot (for Memoirs of a Porcupine). He has been longlisted and shortlisted for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize, for Black Bazaar and Broken Glass respectively. He was selected by the French journal Lire and by Vanity Fair as one of the 50 writers to watch out for this coming century.