Monica Ali was born in Dhaka in 1967, to an English mother and a Bangladeshi father. The family left East Pakistan (as Bangladesh was called then) due to the civil war in 1971. They settled in Bolton, where Monica Ali grew up. She attended Bolton Girls’ School, and went on to read Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Wadham College, Oxford. She then worked in design and publishing. Her debut novel, “Brick Lane”, was given a great boost when Monica Ali was named as one of the “Best young British novelists” by Granta in 2003 prior to its actual publication. She has been invited to be a guest editor of “Today”, the BBC Radio Four’s flagship news programme. Leading Bollywood actress Sameera Reddy was approached to star in the movie of “Brick Lane”, but the role has now been won by Bangladeshi actress Tannishtha Chatterjee. The movie is currently subject to a protest by the real Brick Lane Bangladeshi community – you can read more about this here. Monica Ali’s second novel, “Alentejo Blue”, was published in 2006. Monica Ali lives in London with her husband and 2 children.
Sundowners – a Monica Ali story published in “The New Yorker”
Colour Blind - Maya Jaggi writes about the controversy surrounding her request to be the first to interview Monica Ali.
Roots Around London - gives a brief profile of Monica Ali
A Question of Merit - Stephanie Merritt writes about the ongoing controversy caused by only having novelists under 40 on Granta's Best of Young British Novelists list, and by including unpublished writers. I am most aggrieved myself, as I will be over 40 in 2013. It's time to start lying about my age. Either that, or I am going to have to start writing better novels
The Young Ones - the South African Sunday Times sees the Granta list as a "self-fulfilling prophecy"
Women writers top class of 2003 - just how many articles did the Guardian write on the Granta list? Although, this is from the Observer - same difference
Best of British - mentions Hilary Mantel's reservations about Granta's Best of Young Novelists 2003 - "My feeling is that the list is weaker than previous lists because of the apparent ease of getting published. There are half a dozen brilliant people on here ... but the competition was not that strong. Many of the others would not have been on in other times." I certainly would have not have put Hari Kunzru on the list, as I believe that he is a journalist first, and a novelist very much second, and David Mitchell really isn't that interesting or talented, despite the lavish praise that he has received. Although Hilary Mantel has praised 'Brick Lane', she has said that it is not without its problems.
Hollywood stalks Monica Ali – which authors aren’t Hollywood stalking?
Meet the Author – Monica Ali reveals that she started writing “Brick Lane” the day after her grandfather’s funeral
Barnes & Noble – their interview with Monica Ali
Ali’s in Wonderland – Harriet Lane interviews Monica Ali for “The Observer”
Heroes among us – Shahnaz Yousuf talks to Monica Ali
Transworld interview – Monica Ali gives more insight into what it was like being in East Pakistan during the civil war
Monica Ali from the Beginning – A Novel View conveys what the launch for “Brick Lane” was like
You ask the Questions – Monica Ali answers questions from the readers of The Independent. She reveals that some of her father’s colleagues were shot during the Bangladeshi civil war
My Year as a star – Monica Ali discusses “Brick Lane” and the various controversies surrounding the novel
Voice of Experience – Mick Brown’s interview with Monica Ali
Amanda Craig – gives more details about the Greater Sylhet Welfare and Development Council’s objections to the novel, and how Monica Ali was denied a visa to Bangladesh
Woman’s Hour – their interview with Monica Ali
Monica Ali changes course with surprising new novel – Alden Mudge’s interview with Monica Ali
Monica Ali’s heavenly halwa – Monica Ali’s recipe, printed in “The Independent”
Identity Crisis – Monica Ali participates in this debate about the race hate law in “The Guardian”
Local protests over Brick Lane film – “The Guardian” reports that some residents of Tower Hamlets don’t want “Brick Lane” filmed there
The Battle for Brick Lane – Jonathan Heawood’s excellent article about the decision not to film in Brick Lane due to local protests
In a sense, if you come under fire from conservative people, you must be doing something right – Maev Kennedy writes about the protests in “The Guardian”
‘You sanctimonious philistine’: Rushdie v. Greer, the sequel – Salman Rushdie and Germaine Greer have now entered the argument concerning Brick Lane on opposing sides
Novelists hit back at Brick Lane protestors – “The Guardian” reports that authors have attacked “community censorship”
End the Brick Lane brouhaha – an excellent blog on the subject by Sunny Hundal
Reality Bites Back – Germaine Greer defends her stance on the Brick Lane brouhaha, some of which doesn’t make sense – “I have been accused of saying things about Salman Rushdie that I actually said to him” – huh?
Brick Lane filming finishes despite difficulties – this article focuses mainly on the casting of Peter Simpson
Brick Lane to be shot in Cal – “The Times of India” reports that the movie of “Brick Lane” will be filming on location in Kolkata rather than Bangladesh, to avoid similar controversy to that aroused when the filmmakers tried to shoot in Brick Lane
London doesn’t have paddy fields – Sarah Gavron, the director of “Brick Lane”, talks about shooting the movie in Kolkata