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.
Naji Daher is a writer, poet, and playwright, one of the best-known Arab-Palestinian writers. He was born in Nazareth and lives there. He works as a creative writing teacher and writes literature reviews. He has published more than fifty books, including six novels. His works have been translated into Hebrew, English and other languages. Winner of the 2000 Prime Minister Prize.
Mohammed al-Habasha is a Tunisian writer and translator born in 1992. He received a BA in English Language and Literature and an MA in Cultural Studies from the Faculty of Humanities in Tunisia. He published two novels and one short stories collection so far. He used to work for a literary radio show in Tunis foe two years and he currently works at the “House of Fiction” in Tunisia, as a director and coordinator.
Ahmed Omar is a Syrian-Kurdish writer, born in Amuda. He writes regular newspaper editorials and has published eight books: Maqsouf al-‘Umr, Qalb al-Duraq, Charles bin Dickins, Khilaf al-Maqsud, Civil War, Hudhud in a Bottle, In Auntie Merkel’s House, and Imru’ al-Qa’id al-Kurdi.
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.