Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Dinaw Mengestu  

Pen Name: None

Genre: C:ADULT

Born: 1978 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia


Illinois Connection

Mengestu was raised in Peoria and Forest Park. He graduated from Fenwick High School in Oak Park.

Biographical and Professional Information

Dinaw Mengestu is an award-winning author and has been called, "one of the brightest young chroniclers of the African diaspora." He was born in Ethiopia and immigrated with his family to the US at the age of two. A graduate of Georgetown University and Columbia University's MFA program in fiction, Mengestu's articles have appeared in Harper's, Rolling Stone, The New Yorker, Granta among others. A recipient of the National Book Foundation's "5 Under 35" award and The New Yorker's "20 under 40" award Mengestu also received The Guardian's First Book Award. The Lannan Visiting Writer at Georgetown University for spring 2007 and a 2012 MacArthur Genius Grant recipient, Mengestu was the Lannan Foundation Chair in Poetics from 2012-2015. He currently resides in New York.

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library


-- '''''The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears''''' *Starred Review, Publishers Weekly '''''All Our Names''''' *Best book of the Year, New York Times *Best book of the Year, The Washington Post *Best book of the Year, NPR *Best book of the Year, The Boston Globe *Best book of the Year, The Christian Science Monitor *Best book of the Year, The Daily Beast