Leila Chatti


Cleveland State University Anisfield-Wolf Fellow

Leila is currently in residence at Cleveland State University as the inaugural Anisfield-Wolf Fellow in Publishing and Writing.


Leila’s chapbooks Tunsiya/Amrikiya (Bull City Press) and Ebb (Akashic Books) were released in April! Ebb was featured at Poetry Society of America and Tunsiya/Amrikiya has been reviewed in the Best American Poetry blog, The Journal, EcoTheo Review, and The Arab Weekly,  featured in Frontier Poetry, The Coil’s “Most Anticipated April 2018 Books,” Book Riot’s “14 Recommended Books for Arab American Heritage Month and Poetry Month,” and Hyacinth Girl Press’ “2018 Holiday Chapbook Gift Guide,” and was Small Press Distribution’s #1 poetry best seller in April.


Leila was awarded second prize for Narrative Magazine‘s 10th Annual Poetry Contest, second prize for Frontier Poetry‘s Summer Poetry Award, runner up for Fifth Wednesday Journal’s Editor’s Prize, and finalist for Mid-American Review‘s James Wright Poetry Award and Indiana Review‘s Poetry Prize.

Kenyon Review’s Resistance, Change, Survival

Leila’s essay “On Fear in the Year of Trump” was included in the Kenyon Review’s online feature Resistance, Change, Survival.


Leila was recently interviewed by The Adroit Journal (1|2).

Woke Africa

Leila was included in Woke Africa’s 21 Best African Writers of the New Generation.

WATER /ماء : Trespassing Liquid Highways

Leila’s poem “Upon Realizing There Are Ghosts in the Water” was featured in the exhibition “WATER /ماء : Trespassing Liquid Highways.”

32 Poems

Bruce Beasley wrote a brilliant response to Leila’s poem “Morcellation.”


Leila’s poems have recently appeared in American Poetry Review, Kenyon Review Online, Narrative, Tin House Online, Los Angeles Review of Books, Indiana Review, Southern Indiana Review, 32 Poems, Willow Springs, Crab Orchard Review, Mid-American Review, Passages North, fields, diode, and Frontier Poetry, which was listed as one of Entropy Mag’s Best of 2018 and translated into Dutch. Her work was also featured at Poem of the Week.

Fall 2017/Winter 2018

Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing

Leila is currently in residence at the University of Wisconsin-Madison as the 2017-2018 Ron Wallace Poetry Fellow.

Raleigh Review

Leila has joined the staff of the Raleigh Review as Consulting Poetry Editor.

Narrative Magazine’s 30 Below 30

Leila was listed as one of Narrative Magazine‘s 30 Below 30.

Best New Poets

Leila’s poem “Motherland” was selected by Natalie Diaz for the Best New Poets 2017 anthology.


Leila’s poems appear in Bettering American Poetry 2016, The Orison Anthology, and Best New Poets 2017.


Tunsiya/Amrikiya was included in Anomalous Press’ “Books to Watch Out For” and George Abraham’s list of “Favorite SWANA Poetry Books” (Sukoon).


Leila has recently been interviewed by The Massachusetts Review and Konya Shamsrumi.

Pushcart Prize Anthology

Leila’s poem “Hometown Nocturne” was listed as a special mention for the 2018 Pushcart Prizes, and she received nominations for the 2019 anthology from Gulf Coast, Third Coast, and Breakwater Review.

New Poems

Leila’s poems have recently appeared in West Branch, Prairie Schooner, Third Coast, The Massachusetts Review, The Cincinnati Review, Pleiades’ Poem of the Week, CALYX, Fifth Wednesday, Waxwing, Los Angeles Review, The Shallow Ends, wildness, and Best New Poets 2017, and she has poems forthcoming in Kenyon Review Online, 32 Poems, Crab Orchard Review, and diode.



Leila’s chapbook Ebb was selected by Kwame Dawes and Chris Abani, and will be published as part of the New-Generation African Poets chapbook series! It is forthcoming in 2018.

Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing

Leila has been awarded the 2017-2018 Ron Wallace Poetry Fellowship from the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing! She will be moving to Madison, Wisconsin, in August and will teach creative writing workshops at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.


Leila’s chapbook Tunsiya/Amrikiya was the 2017 Editors’ Selection from Bull City Press! It is forthcoming in spring of 2018, and is available for preorder.

The Frost Place

Leila was the inaugural Lagniappe Scholar at The Frost Place Conference on Poetry.

Barbara Deming Memorial Fund

Leila was awarded a grant from the Barbara Deming Memorial Fund for her first book manuscript-in-progress.

AWP 2018

Leila will be attending AWP in 2018 and will be participating on the panel “Hometown Nocturnes”—a reading by Arab American writers Fady Joudah, George Abraham, Tariq Luthun, and Zaina Arafat.

Ploughshares Emerging Writer’s Contest

Leila’s winning poem “Confession” appears in the winter issue and online along with judge Marianne Boruch’s introduction.


Leila’s poems were finalists in Third Coast’s 2017 Poetry Contest and Passages North‘s Elinor Benedict Poetry Prize.

What Now?

Leila’s 2-minute video about her post-MFA experience was awarded third place in Submittable’s What Now? contest.

Writer of the Week

Leila was one of Maudlin House‘s Writers of the Week.


Leila was recently interviewed by the Fine Arts Work Center in ProvincetownGeosi Gyasi, Africa in Dialogue, and David Ishaya Osu.

National Poetry Month Video Project

Leila’s poem “Ode to Ugly Things” was included in Minnesota State University, Mankato’s National Poetry Month Video Project, read by Jessica Guess.

Brunel International African Poetry Prize

Leila is one of ten shortlisted poets for the Brunel International African Poetry Prize. She is the first North African poet to be selected for the shortlist in the prize’s history.

The Rumpus Inaugural Poems

Leila’s poem “Motherland” appeared in The Rumpus’ inaugural poem series in response to the 2017 presidential inauguration.

Best of the Net 2016

Leila’s poem “While Reading the News About Orlando, I Hear the Call To Prayer” was selected for Sundress Publications’ Best of the Net. It first appeared online in Rattle.

WOMR Poets’ Corner

Leila was interviewed for WOMR’s Poets’ Corner by Neil Silberblatt in Provincetown, Massachusetts. The interview is available online.

New Poems

Leila’s poems have recently appeared in Virginia Quarterly Review, The Georgia Review, New England Review, Gulf Coast, Poetry Northwest, Ploughshares, Tin House, The Rumpus, Rattle, The Greensboro Review, Bellevue Literary Review, Raleigh Review, RHINO, Four Way Review, Pleiades, fog machine, The Collapsarand Poetry Daily.