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Daniel Alarcón, a native of Peru, was raised, from the age of 3, in Birmingham, Alabama. He earned a bachelor's degree in anthropology from Columbia University and a master's from the Iowa's Writer's Workshop.

His first book, War by Candlelight, was a finalist for the 2006 PEN/Hemingway Foundation Award. In 2008, he was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship, named a "Best Young American Novelist" by Granta magazine, and one of 39 under 39 Latin American Novelists. In 2010, he was also recognized by the New Yorker as one of 20 promising writers under 40.

Alarcón's novel Lost City Radio, named a Best Novel of the Year by the San Francisco Chronicle and the Washington Post, was published 2007, and has been translated into Spanish, Portuguese, French, German, Dutch, Greek, and is forthcoming in Italian, Serbian, Turkish, and Japanese. In 2009, he published a collection of short stories, El rey está siempre por encima del pueblo (The king is always above the people), and the following year, "Ciudad de payasos", a graphic novel adapted from his 2003 story City of Clowns, with illustrations by Peruvian artist Sheila Alvarado. In 2011, with partners Carolina Guerrero, Martina Castro and Annie Correal, he founded Radio Ambulante, a Spanish language podcast telling Latin American stories. His most recent novel, At Night We Walk in Circles, was a finalist for the 2014 PEN/Faulkner Award.

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