Wajahat Ali on being American with an asterisk

Wajahat Ali and his book.
Wajahat Ali is a writer, an activist, a tired dad to three kids and a believer in America, even when America doesn’t believe in him. His new book is “Go Back To Where You Came From: And Other Helpful Recommendations on How to Become American.”
Book cover courtesy of Norton | Author photo by Damon Dahlen | HuffPost

Wajahat Ali grew up in the Bay Area in the 1980s — a shy, chubby, awkward kid who was decidedly American but not always in the right way.

His journey to becoming a writer, public speaker and post-9/11 activist is the thread that weaves together his new book, “Go Back to Where You Came From: And Other Helpful Recommendations on How to Become American.”

A few things you need to know about Ali: He’s bracingly honest, disarmingly funny and despite all that he and his family have gone through, he remains defiantly hopeful. He knows America loves the concept of diversity more than the reality. But he also saw people who hate his politics offer to become liver donors after his toddler daughter was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer.

Don’t miss this week’s witty, wise and personal Big Books and Bold Ideas conversation between Ali and host Kerri Miller.


Use the audio player above to listen to the author interview.

Subscribe to the MPR News with Kerri Miller podcast on Apple PodcastsGoogle Podcasts or RSS.

Subscribe to the Thread newsletter for the latest book and author news and must-read recommendations.

Before you keep reading ...

MPR News is made by Members. Gifts from individuals fuel the programs that you and your neighbors rely on. Donate today to power news, analysis, and community conversations for all.