Laila Lalami’s most recent novel, The Moor’s Account—released last year to rave reviews—reimagines a sixteenth-century Spanish expedition to Flordia from the perspective of a Muslim slave. Last week, the book was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize.

Listen as Lalami discusses quitting her day job and becoming a writer, from an event with The Moth during the 2007 PEN World Voices Festival.