Mohammed Salah Rajeh is an Egyptian screenwriter. He was born in Mansoura in 1982 and obtained a BA in Business Studies in 2003. He studied screenwriting informally for many years and has gone on to lecture in it at a number of prestigious cultural centres (Saqiya al-Delta, Books and Beans, Bayt al-Kassid, Alif Bookstore). An active member of the Egyptian Writers’ Union, his short story collection “When Silence Speaks” (2013 Dar Lila Kayan Corp) deals with the lives of the marginalized. Also in 2013 in a new creative venture combining script and novel, his screenplay “A Quarter Citizen” was published by Dar Atlas. This deals with the violations taking place in Egyptian prisons and the unconstitutionality of Article 341 of the Criminal Code (breach of trust). His novel Hab Yak (Double One) a social thriller with a psychological dimension and a touch of politics was published by Dar Atlas in 2014. His most recent publications are the short story collection “He Stays Alone” and the novel “Mirsal” (Ibiidi Publishing, 2019 and 2020 respectively). The novel focuses on art and creativity through the device of a typewriter in a mental asylum. His dramatic works include for television the crime mystery series Property 24, adapted from the novel by Muhab Tarjim (Produced by Spot 2000, Safwat Ghattas), and for radio the Ramadan 2018 sitcom Rabi Jar on al-Sharq al-Awsat starring Ahmed Eid and Latifa.
Asmaa al-Ghol is a Palestinian journalist from the Rafah refugee camp in the southern Gaza Strip, where she was born in 1982. She currently lives in France. A human rights activist, she also writes essays on literature and culture for newspapers and periodicals, including Al-Hayat (London), Al-Ayyam (Palestine) and the online Romman cultural review. Her first short story collection, “Abandonment on a Blackboard” won the A. M Qattan Institute’s young writers award in 2006, and other short story collections of hers have been published in South Korea and the UK.
Wisam Gibran is considered one of the finest Palestinian composers of his generation and one of the world’s leading oud players”
Gibran studied music composition in Moscow, Berlin, and other major cities under world-renowned composers and holds a doctoral degree. He also studied neuroscience at the Universities of Berlin and Haifa.
He has composed hundreds of pieces for solo instruments, arrangements for voice and instrument, orchestral pieces, and scores for selected films and plays. In his ongoing project to compose music, he has not overlooked the oud, and has re-examined the heritage and musical language of that instrument through modern treatments.
Gibran has played on the main stages of most of the capitals and major cities of the world. He has received more than 40 international awards and creative scholarships in music, scientific research, and poetry.
He has published a number of books, studies, poetry and music CDs.
In 2013, Gibran founded the Gibran Academy of Music and Arts in Nazareth, which he currently directs.
You are anti-water || Poetry 1998
• Tarantula || Poetry 2003
• The Rest is Silence and Stillness: Excavations in the Cabinets of Silence, the Tragedy of Hamlet as a Model || Study 2010
• The Letters of Pontius Pilate || Arabic translation and introduction to the work by W. P. Crozier 2010
• Being not Time || Poetry || Jadal Publications, 2019
Maha Jouini is a Tunisian author and blogger who lives in China. Researcher in AI and art at Tianjin University of Science and Technology, she has contributed widely to Sino-African relations. She worked as a media coordinator in the African Union campaign to end child marriage in Africa and was based in Ethiopia from late 2014 to 2017. The Maghreb Voices platform named her for the personality of the year in 2018 for her major role as a social media influencer. She is one of the most prominent human rights defenders in the Arab region, particularly around the rights of indigenous peoples such as the Kurds, Nubians, and Amazigh. In her many publications and television appearances, she has championed the rights of these peoples to preserve their heritage. She has received many honours and participated in international conferences on women’s and indigenous people’s issues. Story and prose writing are inseparable from Maha’s human rights work and her journeys between China and Africa. Writing for her is a true act of resistance, which she fashions from herself and her pain. She writes and records her victories over the patriarchal and masculine authority that breaks the wings of women.
Samir Salmi is an artist, writer, and researcher from Morocco who specializes in poetry and modern art. He has exhibited his work both at home and abroad. His PhD thesis “Discourse and Semantics in the Poetry and Art of Gibran Khalil Gibran” was supervised by Mohammed Bennis. Among his publications are the short story collection Al-Awda ila Hudniha al-Dafi (Returning to her Warm Embrace) and Shi‘riyat Jubran al-Mustamirr bayn al-Shi‘ri wal-Fanni (The Poetics of Gibran: Continuity between Poetry and Art, Les Edition Toubkal, Morocco) as well as creative and critical pieces in Arab and international newspapers and magazines. In 2019 he has produced a number of installations and large-scale artistic performances, most recently the temporary installation in the Moroccan south (in 2019): The Sea in Painting: 15 Days Facing the Ocean. In 2006 he won the prize of the World Art and Environment Symposium in Osaka, Japan for his eco-installation Hydro Dimensions, and was awarded the King Hassan II Award for Environment in 2001. He received the Diploma of the Grand Finale in Abstract Art at the 31st International Prize for the Art of Dyeing, Cannes, France. In 1997 he received the Association Ribat al-Fath prize for the environment for his work Memory of the Sea on the recovery of natural marine waste. In 1995, the Arts festival in Paris awarded him a diploma of merit for his sculptural-colour work, Opaque and Transparent. In Cairo, he won the Suad al-Sabah competition for Arab Youth Creativity for his short story collection Al-Awda ila Hudniha al-Dafi (published by Dar Suad al-Sabah, Kuwait and GEBO, Egypt). Winner of the short story prize, Moroccan Writers’ Union, Kenitra branch, 1998. Member of the World Organization for Art in the USA from 2009. Member of UNESCO’s International Association for Plastic Arts in Paris since 1998. Member of the Centre for Artists and Art Lovers in France since 1993. Member of the Trans-European Cultural Network for Researchers and Artists from the Mediterranean Basin in Paris since 1999. Member of the UNESCO-affiliated Moroccan Association of Plastic Artists, and its secretary-general from 1999 to 2003. Founding member of the Association for Research Students in Literature and Languages at Rabat University (the mother association for similar student associations in the Arab world). Founding member of the Tashkil wa-Jumhour movement, 1989.
Muhammad al-Asfar was born in 1960 in the Libyan town of Khoms and grew up in Benghazi. He worked in elementary and middle schools. From teaching, he moved on to become a footballer and then a traveling salesman working between Morocco, Turkey, Syria, China, Thailand, Tunisia, Malta, Egypt, and Libya. Al-Asfar’s career as a writer began in 1999 and he entered the literary world when he published his first text, “From the Diaries of a Tree”, in the official Libyan newspaper Al-Jamahiriya. He wrote for the Libyan and Arab cultural press and most Libyan publications as well as Doha magazine, Al Jazeera Net, and newspapers such as Akhbar al-Adab, al-Nahar, al-Hayat, al-Akhbar, al-Arab, al-Quds al-Arabi, and al-Arabi al-Jadid, as well as the Dutch Huna Sotak, the German Fikrun wa Fann, the New York Times, and on literary websites. His novels and short story collections have been published by Al-Intishar Al-Arabi in Beirut, Dar Al-Hiwar in Syria, Dar Libya for Publication, and Dar al-Houssam in Egypt.
Novels: Al-Mudasa (Trampled); Taquduni Najma (Guided by a Star); Nawah al-Riq (Lament of Saliva); Sirrat al-Kawn (Secret of the Universe); Sharmoula; Yana Ali; Asl al-Nas (Honey of the People); Malh (Salt); Farha; Wizarat al-Ahlam (Ministry of Dreams)
Short story collections: Hajr Rashid (Rosette Stone); Hajr al-Zahr (Dice)
The writer has several works in press with Arab publishers in Tunisia, Jordan, and Milan, and some of my works have been translated into English, Spanish, and French. “Story of a Sock”, a short story was turned into a short film and won the creativity prize at the 2013 Cairo Short Film Festival. He lives in Germany as a result of the ongoing conflict in Libya.
Shukri al-Mabkhout is a Tunisian writer, born in 1962, Shukri al-Mabkhout holds a Ph.D. in Arabic language and literature. Since 1987 he has been a research professor at the University of Manouba in Tunisia (Faculty of Literature, Arts and Humanities) where he also served as Dean of the Faculty of Literature, Arts and Humanities (2004–2011) and President of the University (2011–2017). He is managing editor of the refereed academic journal, Hawliyat al-Jami‘a al-Tunisiya (“Annals of the Tunisian University”); founder and managing editor of Academia magazine on university affairs; and founder and managing editor of the cultural journal Al-Fikr al-Jadid (“New Thinking”). In addition to numerous academic articles, he has written biographical works and books on the Arabic critical and rhetorical tradition. His recent research has focused on rhetoric and pragmatics, in particular, Speech acts theory, about which he has written widely. His first novel The Italian (2014) won the International Prize for Arabic Fiction (the Arabic Booker). He followed this with the short story collection Al-Sayyida al-Ra’isa (“Leading Lady”) (2015) and the novel Baganda (2016). He is the recipient of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques International Prize for Translation (Honorary Prize), the King Faisal Prize in Arabic Language and Literature (for his biographical writings), and the Abdul Hameed Shoman Award (Jordan) for Children’s Literature.
Hisham Naffa is an Arabic writer, journalist, and translator. He is a writer and senior editor at Al-Ittihad, the Arabic daily published in Haifa, and a translator at Tohu Magazine. Among others, he edits the culture and literature pages. He writes in Palestinian and Israeli newspapers. In 2012 he published his debut novel Gentle Collapses. His second book, Entanglement, is still in work and will include short stories and a novella.
Ali Badr was born in Baghdad, where he studied Western Philosophy and Foreign Literature. To date, he has written sixteen novels, several works of non-fiction, scripts, plays, and a number of poetry collections. He served as a soldier in the Iraqi army and then worked as a war correspondent covering the Middle East. His best-known novels include Papa Sartre, The Tobacco Keeper, Running after the Wolves, and The Sinful Woman, many of which have won awards. His novels feature the study of character, social criticism, philosophical reflection, and explicit language. He has also written about art, politics, and philosophy for many Arab newspapers and magazines.
Emile Habiby was a Palestinian novelist and a member of the Israeli Parlament. He was born in 1922 in Haifa. Habibi became one of the most popular authors in the Middle East as a result of works depicting the conflicts in loyalties experienced by Palestinians living as an Arab minority in the Jewish state of Israel. Habibi began writing short stories in the 1950s, and his first story, The Mandelbaum Gate was published in 1954, though he did not resume literary writing until the late 1960s. In 1972 he resigned from the Knesset in order to write his first novel: The Secret Life of Saeed the Pessoptimist, which became a classic in modern Arabic literature. In 1990, Habibi received the Al-Quds Prize from the PLO. In 1992, he received the Israel Prize for Arabic literature. He died in 1996 in Nazareth.