Sara Abou Rashed is a Palestinian American poet and storyteller. Her works appear in Poetry, Poetry Wales, Arab Lit Quarterly, and the anthology A Land with a People and English high school curriculum from McGraw Hill. She has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and named a Poetry Fellow at the Vermont Studio Center. Since 2018, Sara has performed her autobiographical one-woman show, A Map of Myself: My Odyssey to America, over 17 times across the United States. She is currently pursuing her MFA at the University of Michigan. More at www.saraabourashed.com and www.mapofmyself.com.
Nisma Alaklouk is a Brussels-based Palestinian author of plays, novels, and short stories. Her work has been published in Arabic and Dutch and translated into French and English. The story translated here, “Hiyya, Huwwa, wa-Ghazzah,” originally appeared in Hādhihi Laysat Ḥaqībah (This is not a suitcase), a collection of stories by Arab writers living in Belgium.
Mohamad Alasfar was born in Libya in 1960 and grew up in the city of Benghazi. Before his writing career began in the late 1990s, al-Asfar spent time working as a teacher in elementary and middle schools; as a professional footballer; and as a traveling salesman, visiting many countries throughout Asia, Europe, and the Middle East. As a writer, al-Asfar has been published in most Libyan publications and in literary websites, international magazines, and global newspapers, including the New York Times. His novels and short story collections have been published by various publishing houses in Lebanon, Syria, Libya, Tunisia, Jordan, Egypt, and the United Kingdom. His short story “The Story of a Sock” was turned into a short film and won the creativity prize at the 2013 Cairo Short Film Festival.
Marilyn Booth is Khalid bin Abdallah Al Saud Professor for the Study of the Contemporary Arab World, University of Oxford. Her recent monograph, The Career and Communities of Zaynab Fawwaz: Feminist Thinking in Fin-de-siècle Egypt (2021), is among her numerous publications on early feminism, translation, and Arabophone women’s writing in Egypt and Ottoman Syria. Initiator of the Ottoman Translation Studies Group, she edited Migrating Texts: Circulating Translations around the Ottoman Mediterranean (2019) and is co-editing a second volume of this collective’s research. She has translated 18 published works of fiction and memoir from Arabic, most recently, Hoda Barakat’s Voices of the Lost and Hassan Daoud’s No Road to Paradise. She was co-winner of the 2019 Man Booker International Prize for her translation of Jokha Alharthi’s Celestial Bodies. Her translation of Alharthi’s novel Bitter Orange Tree is coming out in May 2022. She hopes to translate Dost’s Safe Corridor and is looking for a publisher.
Muhammad Diab is a Syrian writer.
Jan Dost, born in 1965, is a native of Kobani, in the Aleppo region of Syria. A student of natural sciences at the University of Aleppo, he embarked on a career in journalism as both reporter and editor. His novels (composed in Arabic or in Kurdish) have been translated into Spanish, Turkish, Arabic, Kurdish, Persian, and Italian. He has received numerous awards in Syria (Short Story Prize, 1992), the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (Hussein Arif Award for Creativity, 2014; Mem u Zin Literature Festival Award, 2021), Germany (Kurdish Poetry Prize, 2012), and Austria (Sharafnama Award for Kurdish Culture, 2021). He has published five novels in Kurdish and seven in Arabic, as well as four volumes of poetry; he has translated literary works from Kurdish and Persian into Arabic and from Arabic into Kurdish. He has participated in translation workshops and conferences as well as speaking at book fairs. Since 2000, he has resided in Germany and is a German citizen.
Michael Fares is a Lebanese American software engineer, musician, and former professor. He was a Professor of Arabic at University of Houston from 2012 to 2022, prior to which he completed his MA in Arabic with a focus on foreign language pedagogy at the University of Texas at Austin. He received his BA in History from the College of William and Mary, with a minor in philosophy. He grew up in the Middle East and has spent time in several Arabic-speaking countries.
Angela Haddad is a PhD candidate in the Department of Comparative Literature at New York University. Her research focuses on the Arab diaspora and its literary production in the Mediterranean and Caribbean. After attending the University of Michigan for her BA, she earned her MA in Arab Studies from Georgetown University and is a freelance translator from Arabic into English.
Ali Harb is a Lebanese American Washington, DC–b ased journalist who covers Arab American communities and US foreign policy.
Haji Jabir is an award-winning Eritrean author of five novels to date. He currently lives in Doha, Qatar, where he works as a journalist for Al Jazeera. One of the most significant Arabic-language authors of his time, Jabir strives in his creative work to shed light on Eritrea in the past and present and to extricate his homeland and its people from their isolation on the world stage.
Ghassan Kanafani was a Palestinian fiction writer, journalist, and leftist political thinker. One of the Arab world’s most prominent modern authors, he was born in 1936 and forced to flee northern Palestine during the Nakba that preceded Israel’s founding. Eventually settling in Beirut, Kanafani joined the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine in 1965 and later founded its political magazine Al Hadaf. In 1972, at the age of 36, he was assassinated in a car bomb explosion orchestrated by the Israeli Mossad. Kanafani’s novels— particularly Men in the Sun and Returning to Haifa— are some of the most iconic works of Palestinian literature.
Graham Liddell is a writer, translator, and PhD candidate in Comparative Literature at the University of Michigan. His dissertation, Wayfinding, Worldmaking, is a study of contemporary Arab and Afghan migration narratives in both literature and the asylum process. His translations of two short stories from Emile Habiby’s collection Sextet of the Six-Day War were published in Banipal in 2022. Prior to graduate school, Liddell worked in journalism, focusing on the Arab world.
Khaled Mattawa is the William Wilhartz Professor of English Language and Literature at the University of Michigan. His latest book of poems is Fugitive Atlas (Graywolf, 2020). A MacArthur Fellow, he is the current editor of Michigan Quarterly Review.
Mootacem B. Mhiri holds a PhD in Comparative Literature and is a senior lecturer in Arabic at Vassar College, New York. Mhiri teaches Arabic language and Arabic literature in translation under the auspices of the Africana Studies Program and translates literary works from Arabic to English and English to Arabic. His work has appeared in Pensive: A Global Journal of Spirituality and the Arts and in Making Mirrors: Writing/Righting by Refugees (translated by Mootacem Mhiri, edited by Becky Thompson and Jehan Bseiso).
Rachid Niny is a journalist, editor, and founding member of the daily newspaper Al Massae from Morocco. He is a graduate of the University of Literature and Human Sciences in Mohammedia and has collaborated with Al Alam and Assabah. In April of 2011, he was arrested for his writings and served a one-year sentence, during which he was awarded the Oxfam Novib/PEN award.
Gulala Nouri is a renowned Kurdish Iraqi poet, fiction writer, and translator. She is a recipient of HOMER—The European Medal of Poetry and Art, among other literary awards. Her 2011 translations of Vladimir Vysotsky’s poetry from Russian into Kurdish and Arabic earned international acclaim. Nouri mostly writes in Arabic and has published multiple volumes of poetry and short story collections. She currently resides in Dearborn, Michigan, and has previously lived in California.
Nancy Roberts is a freelance Arabic-to-English translator and editor with experience in the areas of modern Arabic literature, politics, and education; international development; Arab women’s economic and political empowerment; Islamic jurisprudence and theology; Islamist thought and movements; and interreligious dialogue. Literary translations include works by Ghada Samman, Ahlem Mosteghanemi, Naguib Mahfouz, Ibrahim Nasrallah, Ibrahim al-Koni, Salman al-Farsi, Laila Aljohani, and Haji Jabir, among others. Her translation of Ghada Samman’s Beirut ’75 (University of Arkansas Press, 1995) won the 1994 Arkansas Arabic Translation Award; her rendition of Salwa Bakr’s The Man from Bashmour (AUC Press, 2007) was awarded a commendation in the 2008 Saif Ghobash Banipal Prize for Translation, while her English translations of Ibrahim Nasrallah’s Gaza Weddings (Hoopoe Press, 2017), The Lanterns of the King of Galilee (AUC Press, 2015), and Time of White Horses (Hoopoe Reprint, 2016) won her the 2018 Sheikh Hamad Award for Translation and International Understanding. She is based in Wheaton, Illinois.
Julia Schwartz completed her MA in Arabic for Professional Purposes at the University of Michigan in April 2022. Before starting her master’s program, she taught English in Morocco for three years while studying Moroccan Darija in her free time. She is spending the 2022– 2023 academic year as a CASA Fellow in Amman.
Becky Thompson is the author of To Speak in Salt, winner of the Ex Ophidia Poetry Book Prize. Also a scholar and activist, she has written, among other books, Teaching with Tenderness and Survivors on the Yoga Mat and has co-edited two poetry anthologies, including Making Mirrors: Writing/Righting by and for Refugees (with Jehan Bseiso). Her honors include the Gustavus Myers Award for Outstanding Books on Human Rights and fellowships from the Rockefeller Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities. She has held appointments at China Women’s University, Princeton University, Duke University, the University of Colorado, and, currently, Simmons University. She greatly appreciates Mootacem Mhiri’s translations of her poetry.
James Vizthum is a PhD candidate in the Department of Middle East Studies at the University of Michigan. His research in the field of Applied Arabic Linguistics focuses on the processes of written word recognition by adult learners of Arabic. He has taught Arabic courses at the University of Michigan and the Middlebury College Summer Arabic Program.
Saadi Youssef (1934–2 021) is considered one of the most important contemporary poets in the Arab world. He was born near Basra, Iraq. Following his experience as a political prisoner in Iraq, he spent most of his life in exile, working as a teacher and literary journalist throughout North Africa and the Middle East. He is the author of over 40 books of poetry. Youssef also published two novels and a book of short stories and several essay collections and memoirs. He spent the last two decades of his life in London and was a leading translator to Arabic of works by Walt Whitman, Ngugi wa Thiongo, and Federico García Lorca, among many others.