Muhammad Hamad is a Palestinian writer, critic and literary scholar. Born in Nazareth in 1965, he studied Arabic literature at the University of Haifa and completed his doctorate in 2007. He teaches modern Arabic literature at the Al-Qasemi Academy in Baka al-Gharbia. Hamad writes on Palestinian literature and Hebrew and English children’s literature in literary periodicals and co-edited the Encyclopedia of Palestinian Literature (2013). His first collection of stories was published in 2018.
Zakaria Tamer is a Syrian author that has long been recognized as one of the pre-eminent short fiction writers of the Arab world, as well as the foremost writer of Arabic children’s fiction. He was born in Damascus in 1931 and left school at thirteen to help support his family, and subsequently educated himself. He published his first stories in 1957 and thanks to his success he was offered a job as a government official in The Writers and Publishing Department of the Syrian Ministry of Culture. In the following decades he served in different positions in the Syrian cultural establishment: he was editor and co-edited literary magazines, was head of the Syrian’s television drama department, and was also the co-founder of the Arab Writers Union in Syria. In 1980’s, after publishing some excerpts from the book The Characteristic of Despotism by Abd Al-Rahman Al Kawakibi in which the author condemns tyranny, Tamer was forced to resign from his position as editor of Al-Ma’rifa cultural magazine. Soon after that he left Syria for the UK, but carried on working for Arab Magazines. In 2015 Zakaria Tamer was awarded the Mahmoud Darwish Award for freedom and Creativity. Earlier awards include the Sultan Bin Ali Al Owais Cultural Foundation Prize for Stories, Novels and Drama in 2001, The Syrian Order of Merit in 2002, The Cairo First Short Story Prize in 2009 and In the same year the Blue Metropolis literary prize. Tamer has published eleven collections of short stories, two collections of satirical articles and numerous children’s books. His works have been translated into many languages. Since 2012 he has been writing regularly on his Facebook page Al-Mihmaz, which features very short stories and satirical pieces in support of the Syrian revolution. He lives in London.
Alaa Hlehel is a Palestinian writer, playwright and journalist. He was born in the village of Al-Jash in the Galilee in 1974 and completed his bachelor’s degree in communications and arts at the University of Haifa and studies at the School of Screenwriting in Tel Aviv. Hlehel served as founder and editor of literary magazines and his articles are published in the Israeli and Arab press. He also teaches creative writing. His collections of short stories were translated into several languages. His novel Au Revoir Acre was published in 2014, to great acclaim. He lives in Acre, Israel.
Jan Dost is a Syrian Kurdish novelist, poet and translator who lives in Germany. Dost was born in Kobani in 1965. He writes poetry, short stories and novels in Arabic and Kurdish, and won many awards, including the Kurdish Short Story Award in 1993 and the Kurdish Poetry Award in 2012. Among his most famous translations is “The Epic of Mem and Zin” written by the famous Kurdish poet Ahmad Khani.
Raji Bathish is a Palestinian poet, novelist, screenplay writer and cultural activist born in based in Nazareth. He was born in 1970. Bathish’s work has been widely published across the Arab and Israeli-Palestinian worlds. He has published seven books up to date, the most recognized of which is titled A Room in Tel-Aviv published in 2007 by the Arab institute for Studies and Research, in Beirut.
Salman Natour (1949-2016), one of the prominent Arab-Palestinian intellectuals in Israel, writer, playwright, editor and translator. Among his many roles was the editor of the cultural supplement of Al-Ittihad newspaper, the editor of the Al Jadid review of Arab arts and culture, and editor of the Qadayya Israiliyya magazine, which is published in Ramallah. He has published over thirty books and translated many works from Arabic into Hebrew and Hebrew into Arabic. He also served as Secretary General of the Arab Writers Union in Israel. Salman Natour was born in Daliyat al-Karmel and lived there until his death.
Najem Wali is an Iraqi writer and journalist. He was born in 1956 in Amara, in eastern Iraq. After graduating from high school, he began studying German literature at Baghdad University and after completing his studies in 1978, he was drafted into the army. During his military service Wali was arrested and tortured as a “dissenter” and “opponent of war”. A miracle made him come clear and he continued to serve in the army until his discharge in August 1980. Soon after his release, the Iraq-Iran War began and Wali decided to leave his country in order not to enlist. Although his name appeared on the list of citizens whose exit was forbidden, he managed to obtain an exit visa and moved to West Germany, where he continued to study German language and literature and completed a master’s degree. Wali began writing at a young age. He wrote his first story at the age of 16 and started working as a journalist in the Baghdad radio when he was a university student. His novel Tel Al-Laham was published by Carl Hanser in 2004 and by DTV in 2010 and became a best seller and a cult book in the Gulf states. He has published six more novels and three books of stories. His work has won several awards, including the Bruno Krisky Prize 2014 for a political book. Wali lives in Berlin, works as an author and as a journalist and cultural reporter for the daily Al-Hayat, Al-Maeda and The Tattoo Magazine, the three most prestigious newspapers in Iraq. Wally also writes for German newspapers such as Süddeutsche Zeitung, Die Zeit and Neue Zürcher Zeitung, among others.
*Author’s official site.
Mortada Gzar is an Iraqi novelist, filmmaker, and visual artist. Born in Kuwait in 1982, he has an engineering degree from the University of Baghdad, and has been a participant of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. He has written, directed and produced a number of films that have screened at international festivals. His animation ‘Language’ won the Doha Film Award. He is the author of three novels: Broom of Paradise (2008), Sayyid Asghar Akbar (2013), and My Beautiful Cult (2016), and is a regular contributor to the Lebanese newspaper al-Safir al-Arabiandis.
Sheikha Hussein Helawy is a Bedouin writer, poet and educator. She was born in an unrecognized village near Haifa in 1968, and attended the Nazareth Nuns High School in Haifa. She then moved to Jaffa and studied for a BA and MA in Arabic and Hebrew literature at Tel Aviv University. She has been teaching and instructing and developing teaching programs, and in recent years she has been teaching and leading change processes in schools in East Jerusalem. Her poems and stories were published in magazines and literary websites in Israel and in the Arab world. She has published one book of poetry and two collections of short stories. Her third collection of stories will be published in 2018.
Gibran Khalil Gibran was an American-Lebanese author, poet, and artist. He was born in the village of Bsharri in Lebanon in 1883 to a poor family. At the age of twelve, he immigrated with his mother and siblings to the USA, where he studied English and painting. At the age of fourteen, he returned to Lebanon to improve his Arabic. In 1908 he traveled to Paris and studied painting with the renowned painter and sculptor Auguste Rodin. Four years later, he moved to New York, where he dedicated his time to painting and writing. At first, Gibran wrote in Arabic, but from 1918 onward he shifted to writing in English. He translated his own works from English into Arabic and vice versa. Alongside poems, he also wrote collections of stories and fables, the most famous of which is the collection The Prophet, which was highly influential in American popular culture during the 60’s and was translated into more than 20 languages. Gibran died in the US in 1931 from Cirrhosis of the liver.