Dinaw Mengestu was born, in 1978, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in 1978. In 1980 he immigrated to the United States with his mother and sister, joining his father, who had fled the communist revolution in Ethiopia two years before.
Mengestu is the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship, was one of the New Yorker’s "20 Under 40." He has won the Guardian First Book Award. He is the recipient of a fellowship in fiction from the New York Foundation for the Arts and a Lannan Literary Award, and received a "5 under 35" Award from the National Book Foundation.
His first novel, The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears, was named a New York Times Notable Book and awarded the Guardian First Book Award and the Los Angeles Times Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction, among numerous other honors.
Mengestu now  lives with his wife and son in Paris.
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