Poet, novelist, translator, critic, and scholar Ammiel Alcalay teaches at Queens College and The Graduate Center, CUNY. His books include After Jews and Arabs, Memories of Our Future, Islanders, neither wit nor gold: from then, from the warring factions, and a little history. Recent books include the co-edited A Dove in Flight: Poems by Faraj Bayrakdar, with Shareah Taleghani and the New York Translation Collective; a poem sequence, Ghost Talk, and A Bibliography for After Jews & Arabs. He has written and been active on the question of Palestine for decades and, during the wars in ex-Yugoslavia, he was one of the main conduits for translations from Bosnia. He is a contributing editor of The Markaz Review and was given a 2017 American Book Award from The Before Columbus Foundation for his work as founder and General Editor of Lost & Found: The CUNY Poetics Document Initiative (lostandfoundbooks.org).
Sonallah Ibrahim was born in Cairo in 1937. Involved in political activities as a student, he was sentenced to 7 years of imprisonment in 1959. He has been a full-time writer since 1976. He studied law at the University of Cairo and cinematography at Moscow film institute. His first novel ” the smell of it” in 1966 was censored in Egypt but republished in Beirut several times. Only in 1986, the complete version appeared in Cairo, Khartoum, and Casablanca simultaneously. It has been translated into 11 languages.
Corruption, exploitation, ever-increasing American influence, the Lebanese civil war, and the revolutionary experience of Zofar in Oman between 1965and 1975, the Israeli expansionist policy, and the multinationals are among the themes of his novels. Additionally, he writes ecological novels for young people, has been a visiting professor at the French University of Bordeaux and the American one at Berkeley. He has been described as “ somewhere between a political activist and a writer of inventiveness, experimentation, and mastery of different kinds of tone-light –hearted mockery, irony, satire and tragedy.”