Alba Arikha was born and raised in Paris, in an artistic household. She studied the piano for many years before turning to writing. She completed her BA in comparative literature between the US and Paris, and completed her MFA at Columbia University.
She has written five books, and been translated into several languages. Her first novel, Muse, was published in 1999, followed by a collection of short stories, ‘Walking on Ice.’ Alba’s memoir, ‘Major/Minor,’ was published in 2011. It was shortlisted for the 2012 Spear’s Awards, and selected among the best Books of 2012 in the New Yorker. Her new novel, ‘Where to find me,’ was published in 2018, and was selected among the best books of the year in the Evening Standard.
She has been a regular contributor to Radio 4, and was included in Pick of the Week. She has also written two operas with her husband, composer Tom Smail. The first one was performed in August 2013, at the Riverside Studios, in London. The narrative poem on which it is based, Soon,’ was published by CB edition in September 2013. The second one, 'Blue Electric,' based on her memoir, was performed in August 2018 at the Tête-à-Tête opera festival at RADA, and was directed by filmmaker Hugh Hudson. The full-length version will be performed at the Playground Theatre in 2020.
Alba is also a singer/songwriter and has performed in Paris and London. She has recorded two CD’s of songs, ‘Si j’ai aimé’ and ‘Dans les rues de Paris.’ Her latest album of songs, ‘Et tout ça,’ (And all that) premiered at the Crazy Coqs Cabaret in 2019. She is currently working on a new novel.