Ali, Monica

Monica Ali

Elected: 2019

Year of birth: 1967

Monica Ali is an award-winning, bestselling writer whose work has been translated into 26 languages. She is the author of four books, Brick Lane (shortlisted for the Man Booker prize), Alentejo Blue, In the Kitchen, and Untold Story. Her subject matter has ranged widely, from an immigrant community in London to a rural village in Portugal, from a decaying northern mill town to a multicultural London hotel kitchen, and most recently a ‘what if’ novel, based on Princess Diana. Writing in The Financial Times, Suzi Feay traced Ali’s trajectory: ‘With the publication of Brick Lane, Monica Ali was welcomed as a bright new voice, peeling back the walls of a decrepit housing estate and revealing the complex lives of the Bangladeshi community within…As subsequent novels appeared, it became clear that Ali was a different sort of novelist altogether; a more universal voice, a writer who disappeared entirely within the world of her fiction, confounding those who initially saw her as a mouthpiece for a particular constituency…Untold Story is her fourth novel, and different again from the other three…Now she poses an intriguing question: what if Diana, Princess of Wales, hadn’t died after all and had instead invented a new life for herself…A thoughtful, compassionate and utterly untrashy piece of work.’ Monica Ali was chosen as one of Granta’s 2003 Best of Young British Novelists. She has judged several literary prizes including as Chair of the Asian Man Booker. Her writing has appeared in numerous publications including The Guardian, the Times, The New Yorker, and the New York Times. Monica has been a guest editor of BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, and is an occasional presenter of Radio 4 ‘s, A Point of View. She is a Fellow of the RSA and the Orwell Prize. She has taught creative writing at Columbia University and, from 2015 to 2018, was Distinguished Writer in Residence at Surrey University. She is a Trustee of the St Giles Trust, a charity that helps marginalised and disadvantaged people in the UK.

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Fellowship Election Process​

Fellows are nominated by peers and elected by our Council of writers – our governing Board. Being elected a Fellow of the RSL is a lifetime honour. This role gives them the opportunity to support other writers, readers and the future of literature. The RSL connects writers in the Fellowship to one another, and to a wider readership.