Maya Alexandri is a peripatetic American novelist. Since 2004, she has been based variously in China, India and Kenya, and has traveled to more than sixteen countries. In addition to writing, Maya teaches law and consults as a communications specialist to humanitarian and development organizations.
Maya began her artistic life as an actor and singer. She appeared in many musical and theatrical productions in her formative years, including at the Weathervane Theater in New Hampshire, in the apprentice program at the Berkshire Theater Festival in Massachusetts, and at the Edinburgh Theater Festival in Scotland. She holds a degree in Theater Arts from Rutgers University.
Having experienced the contradiction between a career in theater and financial stability, Maya attended the UCLA School of Law, after which she clerked for two federal judges and practiced law in Washington, DC. During this time she represented an American client suing a Chinese defendant in Beijing court. The case sparked an interest in China and, in 2004, she moved to Beijing to learn Mandarin Chinese.
Apparently Maya hadn't experienced enough of the contradiction between a career in adventure and financial stability.
Demonstrating an unusual appetite for risk in this regard, Maya then began writing novels, articles and blog posts from her outpost in Beijing. Maya's fourth novel, The Celebration Husband, is forthcoming from Littlefox Press in Australia. An audiobook of Maya's second novel, The Swing of Beijing, is forthcoming in 2011 on her blog.
Maya's writing has appeared in WSJ.com, Urban World, The South China Morning Post, The China Economic Quarterly, and Eurobiz, among others. She has also published scholarly legal articles, including in the Harvard Journal of Law and Technology.
In her capacity as a law professor, Maya has five times been appointed a visiting professor at Temple University's Beasley School of Law. Through Temple's Rule of Law program in China, Maya has taught American intellectual property law at Beijing's Tsinghua University and American civil procedure law at China's National Judicial College.
As a communications consultant to humanitarian and development organizations, Maya has worked for many entities, including: Mercy Corps after the Sichuan earthquake in May 2008; UNAIDS in Beijing; the Jesuit Hakimani Centre in Nairobi, Kenya; RedR India in Pune, India; the UN Environment Programme in Nairobi; and the Global Network Initiative in Washington, DC. Maya has made short videos about development projects, including one about structural mitigation in Maharashtra, India, and another about a program to teach youth in Kenya's slums to paint and draw.
"We are a doomed people, so regale us with amusing stories."
Tayeb Salih, Season of Migration to the North 109 (1969)