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Visiting Writers 2005

"Understanding the Islamic World and Its Writers"

Ahmed ALAIDY (Egypt, 1974- ), fiction writer and journalist. He is a young writer gaining acclaim in Egypt and beyond. He has written stories, scripts, and sitcoms, and he published To Be Abbas Al Abd in 2003. The novel has been the subject of two seminars at the American University in Cairo. Alaidy has published several articles for Donia El Ghad, an Arabic language newspaper published in Canada.

Hassan DAOUD (Lebanon, 1950- ), fiction writer and journalist. He was born in Beirut, Lebanon and is now living in Beirut. He worked in Beirut as a journalist during the civil war. Daoud wrote about social themes, as well as book reviews, art and cultural criticism for the feature pages. At present he is the chief editor of "Nawafez", the cultural supplement of the Beirut daily paper "Al-Mustaqbal Daily". His commentary on political and cultural events in the Arab world appears in European newspapers. Daoud has so far published two volumes of short stories and four novels. He frequently tells stories from the perspective of people living at the margins of society. His first novel, "Binayat Mathilde" (1983; Eng. "The House of Mathilde", 1999), takes place in a Beirut apartment building during the civil war. Other publications include "Ayyam zalda" (1990; t: Added days) and "Ghina' al-bitriq" (1998; t: The song of the penguin). The latter was hailed as "The Best Book from Lebanon in 1998".

Dunya MIKHAIL (Iraq, 1965- ), poet. She is best known in Iraq for her subversive, innovative and satirical poetry. She has published four collections of poetry including (titles are translated from the Arabic) The Psalms of Absence (1993), Diary of a Wave (1995), Outside the Sea (1995) and Almost Music (1997). Her recent work The War Works Hard (2000) won PEN's Translation Award and is out now from New Directions.

Mikhail has been in many anthologies including Le Poeme Arabe Moderne (1999), Iraqi Poetry Today, The Post-Gibran Anthology of New Arab-American Writing (2000), New Arab Poetry (2000), and The Poetry of Arab Women: A Contemporary Anthology (2001). She has also appeared in magazines such as Poetry International, Modern Poetry in Translation and Circumference. In 2001, she was awarded the UN Human Rights Award for Freedom of Writing. She has a master degree in Near Eastern Studies from Wayne State University in Michigan and a Bachelor degree in English Literature from the University of Baghdad. She is currently working as a teacher of Arabic language.

Taghreed NAJJAR (Jordan, 1951- ), children literature writer. She is the author of 28 Arabic picture books for children. One of her books was translated into English and French. Another of her stories was turned into a short animated story in the Arabic version of Sesame Street. Many of her stories are used as supplementary readers in schools. Najjar lives in Amman, Jordan with her husband and three daughters. Her first book was published when she was 22 years old. She graduated from the American University of Beirut with a Bachelor Degree in English Language and a minor in Psychology. She worked as a teacher for a number of years and then as Head of the Publishing Department in a children cultural centre. She now works as the director of Al Salwa Publishing House which she founded in 1995 and as an educational consultant.

Mahmoud SHUKAIR (Palestinian/Jerusalem, 1941- ), fiction writer and children literature. He was born in Jabal Al-Mukaber, Jerusalem. Finished his high school studies in Jerusalem, he received a BA in Philosophy and Sociology (1965) from the University of Damascus. He worked as a teacher for several years and then worked in the press. He is now living in Jerusalem. His writings include ten fictions and fourteen children literatures, like A Small Space for Evening Griefs (Fiction, 2005), Charming Cities and a Frivolous Wind (Travels, 2005), The Small King (Children Literature, 2004) and The Tree has Said to Us (Children Literature, 2004). Some of his stories were translated into a number of languages including English, French and Spanish. Shukair was the winner of the Short Story Prize of the Jordanian Writers Association in 1991. And he was honored in the Tenth Book Exhibition and the Sixth Book Exhibition that held in Amman, Jordan in 2004 and in Ramallah, Palestine in 2005 respectively.

Sitok SRENGENGE (Indonesia, 1965- ), poet, fiction writer and editor. He was born in Dorolegi, a farming village in Central Java with a strong oral literary tradition. He serves as Literature and Theatre Curator at the Utan Kayu Arts Community Center in Jakarta as well as editor of the Kalam cultural journal. Srengenge has published a number of books, including his collections of poetry Persetubuhan Liar (Wild Coupling) (1994), Anak Jadah (Bastard) (2000), Nonsens (Nonsense) (2000), Ambrosia (2005); and his novel Menggarami Burung Terbang (Seasoning the Flying Bird) (2004). In 2000, he was cited by Asiaweek magazine as one of twenty leaders for the Millennium in society and culture in Asia. In 2001, he took part in the International Writing Program in University of Iowa, USA. He is currently writing on a new novel Semangkuk Sup untuk Derita (A Cup of Soup for Sorrow) and a trilogy, Kutil, and working as a general manager at his own publishing house, KataKita.

Ghassan ZAQTAN (Palestine, 1954- ), poet. He was born in Beit Jala near Bethlehem. He obtained a teachers' training degree from Jordan and worked as a physical education teacher. He has lived in many different countries such as Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and Tunisia. He presently lives in Ramallah, Palestine. Zaqtan published books of poetry including Early Morning (1980), Old Reasons (1982), Flags (1984), Heroism of Things (1988), Not for My Sake (1990), Light Sky (1992), Past Description (1995), Ordering Descriptions (selected poems) (1998), Mount Temptation (1999) and Coal Chronology (2003). His novel, Describing the Past, was published in Jordan in 1995. He has also written a number of scripts for various film documentaries. His play The Narrow Sea was honored at the 1994 Cario Festival. Zaqtan is the co-founder and director of the House of Poetry in Ramallah. He also established various cultural magazines in Ramallah and in the Gulf in the past years. He is currently the Director General of the Literature and Publishing Department of the Palestinian Ministry of Culture.

CAO Naiqian (China, 1949 - ), fiction writer. Born in Magu Village of Ying County, Shanxi. Cao began working after graduation from high school in 1968. He once worked as a coal miner and a musical instrument player in a Wengongtuan (a song and dance ensemble). He has been a police officer since 1972, and is currently serving at the Public Security Bureau of Datong Municipal, Shanxi. Cao began writing novels in 1986 at the age of 37, He has published about one million words, some of which have been adapted into television drama, films, comedy, university-level textbooks, and Collection of the Literature Year. Some have won literary awards at different levels from municipal and central governments. More than 30 of his novels have been translated and introduced into the US, Canada, Japan, Sweden, as well as Hong Kong and Taiwan. His fictional works include The Loneliness of the Buddha (1996), The Last Village (2003), The Scenery of Wen's Cave House (2005) etc. The Scenery of Wen's Cave House has been translated into Swedish by Prof. Goran Malmqvist, member of the committee of the Nobel Prize in Literature, the Swedish Academy.

LAN Pochou (Taiwan, 1960- ), fiction writer and literary reportage specialist. Born in Miaoli, Taiwan, Lan Bozhou began publishing short stories in 1983. After graduating in 1984 from the Department of French, Fu Jen Catholic University, he joined the literary reportage team of the Renjian Magazine in early 1987 and began engaging in research, writing, and investigation on the history of the people in Taiwan. He has served as editor and reporter for magazines including The South and Renjian, columnist for Liberty Times, politics and economics researcher for The Independence Morning Post, editor-in-chief for the Chinese version of the colonial publication A History of Social Movements in Taiwan (1939) and A History of the People in Taiwan by China Times Publishing. He was the producer of the T.V.B.S programme Remembering Taiwan, and the editorial consultant of Biographies. He has won the Jury Award for Fiction and the China Times Literary Award. His novel Song of the Veiled Carriage was nominated for the Hung Hsing-fu Award for Fiction. His published works include the novella "Travellers" (1989), novels The Vine Entwining the Tree (2002) and The Birth of a Young Writer (2004). His works of literary reportage include Sunken Bodies, Exile, and 288 (1991), Song of the Veiled Carriage (1991) and In Search of the Obliterated History and People of Taiwan (1994).

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