Lauren Wilkinson grew up in New York City and lives in the Lower East Side. She earned her MFA in Fiction and Literary Translation from Columbia University and has taught writing at Columbia and the Fashion Institute of Technology. She has received writing fellowships from the Center for Fiction and the MacDowell Colony, and her fiction has appeared in Granta.
The genre-breaking spy story . . . If this isn't made into a film/HBO series then there's something wrong with the world. Written with verve and detail, this is a fantastic thriller that explores the black experience in Reagan's America, the personal vs political of serving your country and just who is on the side of righteousness * Stylist * [A] romantically offbeat mix of fiction and fact * Peterborough Evening Telegraph * American Spy is unusual, intelligent, compassionate and thoroughly original * Shots magazine * A smart page-turner that gives the genre a welcome shot in the arm * The i * Lauren Wilkinson reminds us of a less-covered side of the Cold War with her debut set in 1986 Africa. FBI agent Marie Mitchell is stationed in Burkina Faso, and when she's assigned to shadow Thomas Sankara, 'Africa's Che Guevara,' the personal, political and professional collide for her in unforgettable ways * Washington Post * [In] this genre-defying novel . . . Marie's journey into the moral and spiritual morass of espionage is inventive . . . Unlike the heroes of John Le Carre's novels, Marie must also grapple with the cognitive dissonance of serving a country in which she is regarded as a second-class citizen * Vulture (Best Books of 2019 So Far) * An expertly written spy thriller . . . that tackles issues of politics, race and gender . . . Like the best of John le Carre, it's extremely tough to put down. It marks the debut of an immensely talented writer who's refreshingly unafraid to take risks, and has the skills to make those risks pay off * NPR * This unflinching debut combines the espionage novels of John le Carre with the racial complexity of Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man * Publishers Weekly * American Spy is by turns suspenseful, tender, and funny, always smart and searingly honest. Lauren Wilkinson renders the world of spies with vivacity and depth, and shines a penetrating light on what it's like to be a black woman in America. But like all great novels, this one teaches us most about ourselves and our values * Sara Novic, author of Girl at War * It might seem hyperbolic to say that this book is riveting and thrilling from the very first page, except that it totally is. . . . It's a refreshing take on an espionage story . . . that's sexy and suspenseful in equal measure * Marie Claire * A fresh perspective. Marie Mitchell, a black female spy, goes on a mission to track down Thomas Sankara, the African Che Guevara, and has to choose between love, her family and her country * Sunday Times (Style) * A gutsy new thriller . . . challenging boundaries is what brave fiction does, and Wilkinson proves confident enough to carry it off * New York Times * For the novel's engaging intelligence and serious reckoning with the world's postwar order, Wilkinson deserves the comparisons to John le Carre she's already receiving. But in bringing a virtually unheard-from fictional viewpoint to espionage literature, she has reinvigorated the genre * Time * A novel that will snatch your summer away. There has never been anything like it, and not because of the Black female spy telling the story, but the kind of story it is: espionage thriller, African political drama, wild romance and doomed family epic -- Marlon James * GQ * An intelligent and propulsive debut tackles issues of politics, race, gender and moral ambiguity in a tale of espionage that moves between black FBI agent Marie Mitchell's 1960s New York childhood, her involvement in the 1987 Burkina Faso coup d'etat as a CIA operative and her retreat to Martinique in 1992 * Guardian * Echoing the stoic cynicism of Hurston and Ellison, and the verve of Conan Doyle, American Spy lays our complicities-political, racial, and sexual-bare. Packed with unforgettable characters, it's a stunning book, timely as it is timeless * Paul Beatty, Man Booker Prize-winning author of The Sellout *