Monica Ali was born in Bangladesh and grew up in England. Her début novel, Brick Lane, was short listed for the Man Booker Prize and nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award. Her second book, Alentejo Blue, a collection of interlinking stories, came out in June; part of it originally appeared in the January 23rd, 2006, issue of The New Yorker.
Aleksandar Hemon was born in Sarajevo. He was stranded in the United States during the siege in 1992 and began writing in English three years later. He has published the story collection The Question of Bruno and the novel Nowhere Man, and has received a MacArthur Fellowship.