Dinaw Mengestu was born in Ethiopia in 1978 and raised in Illinois. His first novel, Children of the Revolution (published in the US as The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears), won the Guardian First Book Award in 2008, as well as the Los Angeles Times Book Award and the Prix du Premier Roman Étranger. It was followed by How to Read the Air in 2010.
Mengestu's novels have been translated into more than a dozen languages and his fiction and journalism have been published in the New Yorker, Granta, Harper's, Rolling Stone, and the Wall Street Journal. He was chosen for the 5 under 35 Award by the National Book Foundation in 2007 and was one of the New Yorker's 20 under 40 in 2010. In 2012, he was the recipient of a MacArthur Foundation Genius Award. He currently lives with his family in New York.