Mona Simpson (born Mona Jandali) is the author of Anywhere But Here, Off Keck Road, A Regular Guy, The Lost Father, and, most recently, My Hollywood. Her father was an immigrant from Syria. Although she stated in an interview that she “ate Syrian food as a kid” and that she has visited Syria, she also says that this was “about the extent of [her] cultural identification.” Despite the fact that she was not brought up with a strong influence from Arab culture—as is the case with other Arab American authors—her novels often discuss origins, identity, and family.
For additional information, see the interview between Ameena Meer and Mona Simpson which appeared in BOMB, No. 20 (Summer, 1987), pp. 44-45.