Dreaming of Ramadi in Detroit is an otherworldly meditation on the elasticity of memory, the liveliness of blackness and possibilities of the essay. Aisha Sabatini Sloan manages to produce a collection of essays that are at once innovative, inspiring, sobering, and absolutely terrifying while daring every other essayist in the country to catch up.
—Kiese Laymon, author of How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America
Aisha was born and raised in Los Angeles. Her writing about race and current events is often coupled with analysis of art, film, and pop culture. She studied English Literature at Carleton College and went on to earn an MA in Cultural Studies and Studio Art from the Gallatin School of Individualized Study at NYU and an MFA in Creative Nonfiction from the University of Arizona. Her essay collection, The Fluency of Light: Coming of Age in a Theater of Black and White was published by the University of Iowa Press in 2013. Her most recent essay collection, Dreaming of Ramadi in Detroit, was chosen by Maggie Nelson as the winner of the 1913 Open Prose Contest and published in 2017. That book went on to be nominated for the Iowa Essay Prize, and to win CLMP’s Firecracker award for Nonfiction. Her book-length essay, Borealis, was recently published by Coffee House Press’ Spatial Species imprint, and an image/text collaboration with her father, Captioning the Archives, was released by McSweeney’s Publications. She is a recipient of the 2020 National Endowment for the Arts fellowship in creative writing, a 2021 National Magazine Award for Columns and Commentary, and Borealis is a finalist for the Lambda award for bisexual nonfiction.
Aisha has taught in a variety of contexts. For a short time, she was the Education Programs Coordinator at the University of Arizona Poetry Center, where she helped facilitate an artist-in-the schools program in Tucson public schools. She helped build a replica of Harlem out of cardboard boxes in the lobby of the Poetry Center, and as a teaching artist, she taught creative writing in elementary and middle school classrooms. She also helped facilitate creative writing workshops for incarcerated teens. She is currently an assistant professor of Creative Writing and English at the University of Michigan, where she holds a dual appointment with the Helen Zell Writers’ Program and the Residential College.
Aisha’s essays are included in the anthologies: Dear America (Trinity University Press), Trespass: Ecotone Essayists Beyond the Boundaries of Place, Identity, and Feminism (Lookout Books 2019), Truth to Power (Cutthroat 2017), How We Speak to One Another (Coffee House Press 2017), The Sonoran Desert: A Literary Field Guide (University of Arizona Press 2016) and Writing as Revision (Pearson Press, 2011). Her work has been named notable for the Best American Non-Required Reading and Best American Essays anthologies and nominated for multiple Pushcart Prizes. Her writing can be found in The Offing, Ecotone, Ninth Letter, Identity Theory, Michigan Quarterly Review, Terrain.org, Callaloo, The Southern Review, Sierra Nevada Review, Essay Daily, Tarpaulin Sky, Drunken Boat, Catapult, Sublevel, Autostraddle, Guernica, The Paris Review, LitHub, Gulf Coast, and Vanity Fair among other places.
Represented by Janklow & Nesbit Associates.
Photo Credit: Hannah Ensor