Alain Mabanckou, nicknamed ‘the African Beckett’, grew up in Pointe-Noire, Republic of Congo, and studied law in Brazzaville and Paris.
His first novel was published in 1998, and since then he has published regularly, writing novels, essays, and poetry, and becoming one of the best-known novelists in France.
His work has won many prizes, including the Renaudot Prize for Memoires of a Porcupine in 2006, and his novel Broken Glass was ranked by the Guardian as one of the 100 best books of the 21st century.
He has been shortlisted for the International Booker Prize twice: once in 2015, when the prize was for a body of work, and once in 2017 for a single novel, Black Moses.
In 2002 he became writer-in-residence at Ann Arbor, Michigan, before being hired in 2006 by the University of California at Los Angeles. He has translated works from English into French, including Beasts of No Nation by the Nigerian-American novelist Uzodinma Iweala (later adapted into a film by Cary Joji Fukunaga).
Alain Mabanckou is now a full Professor of Literature at UCLA.