Samina Ali was born in Hyderabad, India and raised both there and in the United States. Her debut novel, Madras on Rainy Days, chronicles a young Muslim American woman's journey to freedom. It was awarded the Prix du Premier Roman Etranger 2005 (Best First Novel in Translation of the Year) by France and was chosen as the finalist for both the PEN/Hemingway Award in Fiction as well as the California Book Reviewers Award. Poets&Writers named Madras one of the Top 5 Best Debut Novels of the Year. The novel has been translated into many different languages and released around the world. Samina has been invited to lecture on the book extensively, from University of California, Berkeley to Harvard and Yale. She is the recipient of the Rona Jaffe Foundation and Barbara Deming Memorial awards for fiction. Most recently, essays of hers have been included in The May Queen and Living Islam Out Loud anthologies. She has also written for Self and Child, The New York Times and The San Francisco Chronicle. She resides in California with her son.