Dreaming of Ramadi in Detroit



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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

Dreaming, exploring, probing, confessing, Aisha Sabatini Sloan is always on the move. She crosses borders, turns fixed states of mind and heart into fresh sites of possibility and mystery. Those vast charged realities—race, class, gender, geography—become particular here, casting light and shadow on each other in startling ways.

This is a luminous book.

Margo Jefferson, author of Negroland

I’m so impressed by the critical lucidity of Aisha Sabatini Sloan’s Dreaming of Ramadi in Detroit. Essay by essay, paragraph by paragraph, sometimes even sentence by sentence, Sloan roves, guided by a deliberate, intelligent, associative logic which feels somehow both loose and exact, at times exacting. The implicit and explicit argument of these essays is that there’s no way out but through—and maybe even no way out. So here we are, so lucky to have Sloan as our patient, wry, questing companion and guide.

Maggie Nelson, author of The Argonauts

Aisha_AuthorPicAisha 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 just chosen by Maggie Nelson as the winner of the 1913 Open Prose Contest and will be published in 2017.

Aisha’s essays have been included in the anthologies How We Speak to One Another (Coffee House Press 2017) and The Sonoran Desert: A Literary Field Guide (University of Arizona Press 2016). Her work has been named notable for the Best American Non-Required Reading and Best American Essays anthologies and nominated for a Pushcart Prize. In 2014, she was a finalist for the inaugural Write-A-House contest in Detroit, and in 2015 she was a nonfiction finalist for the Disquiet Literary Prize.

A contributing editor for Guernica: A Magazine of Art & Politicsher writing can be found in The Offing, EcotoneNinth Letter, Identity Theory, Michigan Quarterly Review, Terrain.org, Callaloo, The Southern Review, Sierra Nevada Review, Essay Daily, Tarpaulin Sky, Drunken Boat, Catapult, Sublevel, Autostraddle and Guernica. She has taught at the University of Arizona, Pima Community College, the University of Michigan’s New England Literature Program (NELP), Carleton College and OSU Cascades’ Low-Residency MFA Program.

Represented by Janklow & Nesbit Associates and Jack Jones Literary Arts.

Photo Credit: Hannah Ensor