“I am a professional liar. I am two people.”
from Madame Mephisto
Asia Monika Bakalar was born and raised in Poland. As a child she spent her holidays with her family in a small village in the eastern Poland where she milked cows and axed chicken heads.
After she earned her M.A. degree in English Literature at the University of Wroclaw she worked as an interpreter and an English teacher. At various times she has lived in Germany, France and Canada, before moving to the UK in 2004.
She was a doctoral student for three years at Birkbeck College, before transferring to the University of Southampton, working on contemporary literature from Zimbabwe, Nigeria and Poland. During her postgraduate programme various people told her to stop telling stories and start writing them instead. After she spent months researching cannabis trade for Madame Mephisto she decided writing fiction was much more fun and decided to devote her time to writing.
Her non-fiction work has appeared in World Literature Today, Women’s Writings Online, Zadra, and Wasafiri under her real name. A.M. Bakalar is Asia’s pen name because her real surname is too difficult to pronounce.
She lives with her partner, a drum and bass musician, in London. She is currently at work on her second book.
Bakalar’s short story "Whatever makes you sleep at night" is forthcoming in Wasafiri.