Omayma Abdullah is a Sudanese writer. She completed her academic studies in civil engineering and worked in several Sudanese newspapers and magazines. So far, she has published three collections of stories and three novels. Abdullah won the second place in the Fourth Cultural Festival and won first place in an Internet forum on her story “The Route Through Purgatory”, that we bring here.



Adham Adel is an Iraqi poet and writer. He was born in 1987 and holds a BA in English Literature. He has published three poetry collections, a collection of essays and a collection of short stories. He has participated in many poetry festivals in Iraq and abroad, as well as many poetry readings throughout Europe.

Samuel Shimon was born into a poor Assyrian family in 1956 in Iraq. He left his country in 1979 to go to Hollywood and become a film-maker and got as far as Damascus, Amman, Beirut, Nicosia, Cairo, and Tunis. In 1985 he settled in Paris as a refugee. In 1996 he moved to London, where he has lived ever since. He co-founded Banipal, 1997 the renowned international magazine of contemporary Arab literature in English translation. In 2000, he and Margaret Obank edited A Crack in the Wall, poems by sixty contemporary Arab poets. He is the founder (in 2003) and editor of the popular literary website in Arabic In 2005 he published his best selling autobiographical novel An Iraqi in Paris, several editions in Beirut, Cairo, Baghdad, Algeria, and Casablanca. It also appeared in English, French and Swedish editions. In April 2010 he edited Beirut39, an anthology of new Arabic writing, published by Bloomsbury in the UK and USA. In 2018 he edited Baghdad Noir published by Akashic books in New York.

Iyad Barghouti is a writer, translator, and editor. He was born in Nazareth in 1980. He holds a BA in Sociology and Anthropology from Tel Aviv University and an MBA from the University of Haifa. He published two short story collections and a novel. Until 2017 Barghouti was the director of the Arab Culture Association. He currently serves as a co-editor of Maktoob – The Van Leer Institute’s series for Arabic literature, and also works as an editor and translator. He lives in Haifa with his wife and daughter.

Habib Selmi is a Tunisian writer. He was born in Al-Ala, Tunisia, in 1951. He has published eight novels, four of which have been translated into French editions (with Actes Sud), and two into German. His novel The Scents of Marie-Claire was shortlisted for the 2009 IPAF, with an English translation published by Arabia Books in 2010. He has also written two short story collections, some of which have been translated into English, Norwegian, Hebrew and French in international anthologies. Selmi has lived in Paris since 1985.

Habib Sayah is an Algerian writer and novelist, born in 1950. He obtained his BA in Literature from Oran University in 1980 and worked in Institutes of Technological Education. He has published 10 novels, including four translated into French: That Longing (1997), Tamassikht (2002), That Love (2002) and The Guilty Ones…The Colour of Their Blood on My Hands (2009). He has also translated books of prose and poetry into French. He was awarded the Abdelhamid ben Hadouga Prize for the Novel in 2003. 

Mansour Mohammad El Souwaim (1970) is a Sudanese writer, editor and journalist. He was born in Nyala in southern Darfur. He lives and works in Khartoum. El Souwaim started writing in 1990 and was first published in 1995. He has released two novels and two collections of short stories to date. His first novel was called Tukhoum Ar-Ramad (The Boundaries of Ash). His second novel Dhakirat Shirrir received the Tayeb Salih Award for Creative Writing, named after the famous Sudanese novelist. In 2009, El Souwaim attended the inaugural IPAF Nadwa (writers’ workshop). In 2010, he was one of the Beirut39, a group of 39 Arab writers under the age of 40 chosen through a contest organized by Banipal magazine and the Hay Festival. In 2011, El Souwaim received an AFAC (Arab Fund for Arts and Culture) grant for his project, a historical novel entitled The Last Sultan.

Ziad Khadash is a Palestinian writer. He was born in 1964 in the village of Beit Nabala, and lives in the Jalazoun refugee camp near Ramallah. Khadash holds a BA in Arabic literature from the University of Jordan and works as a creative writing teacher in schools in Ramallah. He published 11 short story collections so far and won a prize for his book “The Mistake of the Waiter” in 2015.


Latifa Labsir is a Moroccan writer. She was born in 1965 in Casablanc. She is a University professor in Modern Literature at the Hassan II in Casablanca. She published several collections of short stories and was the presenter of the program “cultural salon” that was aired in collaboration of Deutsche Welle and Moroccan television. Labsir has published numerous articles in Moroccan and Middle Eastern magazines and since 2008 she publishes a monthly columns and articles on literature in the Moroccan women’s magazine “Women of Morocco”. She has sponsored for many years and continues to do literary writing workshops at the Faculty of Arts and Humanities of Casablanca and in various institutions and associations in Morocco



Kamal Riahi (1974) is a Tunisian writer, literary critic and manager of the “House of Fiction” project in Tunisia’s City of Culture. He worked as a cultural and literary correspondent, and presented cultural programs on television and radio in and outside Tunisia. He has published two short stories collections and four novels and was one of the 39 Arab writers under 40 years who were selected for the anthology Beirut39. Riahi won many awards, including the Golden Comar for his book “The scalpel of surgeons” (2006), the Ibn Battuta International Prize for Travel Literature (2018) and the Academy Award for Best Cultural Program in Tunisia in 2015.