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Visiting Writers 2010

"Writers from the Mediterranean"

Elisa Biagini (Italy, 1970 - )
Poet, Translator
Elisa Biagini lives in Florence, Italy after having taught and studied in the U.S. for several years. Her poems which were written in both Italian and English, have been published in various Italian and American journals. She has published 6 poetry collections - some bilingual - such as L’Ospite, (2004), Fiato. Parole per musica (2006) and Nel Bosco (2007). Her poems have been translated into English, German, Spanish, Portoguese, French, Croatian and other languages. She is a translator of several contemporary American poets like Sharon Olds (Satana Dice, 2002), Lucille Clifton (Un Certo Gesu’, 2005), also published an anthology of contemporary American poetry Nuovi Poeti Americani (2006). Biagini also collaborated with various artists, like musicians and visual artists. Finally, she teaches Creative Writing-Poetry, Literature, and Art History in Italy and abroad.

Khaled Khalifa (Syria, 1964 -)
Novelist, Screenwriter
Born in Aleppo, Khaled Khalifa graduated from Aleppo University's Faculty of Law in 1988. Khalifa was one of the founders and editors for the literary journal Alif (1990), which sought to breathe new life into Syrian literary writing. Khalifa has three novels, the most recent one, In Praise of Hatred (2006), was shortlisted for the International Prize of Arabic Fiction in 2008 and will be published in French, Italian, Dutch, English, Spanish and Norwegian. He also writes numerous scripts for cinema and television. Relative Calm (2009), which took up for the first time on Syrian television the issue of the Iraq War, was met with immense critical success in the Arabic media and, subsequently has won several television drama prizes. Khalifa participated at The University of Iowa's International Writing Program (2007). Khalifa is considered one of the most important voices in contemporary Syrian literature. He currently lives in Damascus and works between Syria and Egypt.

Xavier Moret (Spain, 1952 -)
Novelist, Journalist, Travel Writer
Born in 1952, Xavier Moret studied Journalism and English Studies at the Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona. He has been teaching Journalism at the Universitat Pomeu Fabra (Barcelona), working as a journalist in various media, and is currently working as a travel writer for the Spanish newspaper El Periodico. He has published long articles in international journals including National Geographic and Geo. His travel books focused on Africa (A la sombra del baobab, 2006), Australia (Boomerang, 1998), Spanish Mediterranean Coast (Viatge per la Costa Brava, 2008) and various places. Moret has published several novels in Catalan and in Spanish since 1985, like El manuscrit perdut (1987), L’impostor sentimental (1995), Qui paga mana (1997) and Dr Pearson (2003). Some of his books have been translated into German, French and Greek. He also published a biography of the famous restaurant El Bulli and its chef Ferran Adrià in 2007 (El Bulli des de dentro), and told a six-week European train trip in the company of one hundred European intellectuals in Europa Express (2001). Moret was a resident writer in 1997 at Ledig House International Writers Residency, in New York State.

Mahir Oztas (Turkey, 1951 -)
Poet, Fiction Writer, Essayist
Oztas has been publishing numerous poems, short stories, and novels for more than thirty-five years. He graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Istanbul, Department of Architecture. He has worked as an architect in Saudi Arabia, and traveled throughout Europe, Asia, and North Africa. He was a visiting writer in 2004 at the International Writing Program of The University of Iowa. His first book was Unutulmak Tozlari (Dust of Forgottenness, 1983), a collection of poems. Followed by Ay Gozetleme Komitesi (Committee for Moon Watching, 1987), was awarded the Sait Faik Short Story Prize in 1988. He was also awarded the Yunus Nadi Prize twice: Korku Oyunu (Game of Fear, 1989) in the category of short stories in 1990, and Soguma (Cooling Off, 1995) in the category of novel in 1996. His latest novel Koparildigimiz Topraklar (The Lands We Hailed From) was published in 2009. He is currently engaged in full-time writing and is known as one of the most significant representatives of modern Turkish literature.

Mabrouk Rachedi (France, 1974 -)
Novelist, Essayist
Alongside a job in banking, Rachedi has published articles in a wide variety of French periodicals and newspapers, including Metro, Le Courrier de l’Atlas and Respect Magazine. He is the author of three novels, La petite Malika (Little Malika) co-written with Habiba Mahany (2010), Le petit Malik (Little Malik, 2008) and Le Poids d’une âme (“The Weight of a Soul”, 2006) and a collection of essays, Éloge du miséreux (In praise of the down-and-out, 2007). Of Algerian heritage, he regularly comments on immigrant-related issues on television, radio, and other media. He is active in cultural and citizenship outreach programs. He was a visiting writer in the International Writing Program, The University of Iowa in 2009.

Amina Zaydan (Egypt, 1966 –)
Novelist, Editor
Amina Zaydan was born in Suez, now lives in Cairo, Egypt, and is a literary editor for the Egyptian Ministry. Zaydan, an experienced employee of the Egyptian Ministry of Public Finance, had her first literary prize in 1994, when her short story “It Happened Secretly” was award the first prize in a competition held by literary magazine Akhbar El-Adab. Her first novel Fooling Around n’ Stuff Like That was published in 2003; her second novel, Red Wine, won the 2007 Naguib Mahfouz Medal for Literature, one of the most important awards of Arab literature, and the English edition will be released in early 2011 by the American University in Cairo Press. Her latest novel Desire of Silence has just released in 2010. She participated in the International Writing Program at The University of Iowa in 2008.

Chen Xue (Taiwan, 1970 -)
Novelist
Chen Xue was born in Taichung, Taiwan, and graduated in 1993 from the Department of Chinese, National Central University. In 1995, she published her first collection of fiction, The Book of Wrongful Women. Her subsequent works have included collections of short stories (Butterfly and When she was Sleeping, He Loved her Most), a volume of essays (The Passionate Life of an Angel), and novels (The Demon Daughter and Child on the Bridge). Her recent work The Possessed (2009) was selected for the Gold Medal in the novels category of the Taiwan Literature Prize, while Child on the Bridge won a China Times Ten Best Books (2004) award. A number of her works have been published overseas in English and Japanese versions. She has frequently served as a judge for the China Times Literature Award, Taipei Literature Prize and Wen Shih-Jen Martial Arts Fiction Prize, and has three times received subsidies from the National Culture and Arts Foundation’s writing programme. She is now writing full-time.

Xi Chuan (Mainland China, 1963 -)
Poet, Editor, Translator
Xi Chuan (Official name Liu Jun), was born in Jiangsu province in 1963, graduated from Department of English, Peking University. Xi Chuan is one of the most influential poets in contemporary China, he has edited poetry journals since his student days. He is now one of the two Chief-editors of the magazine Dangdai Gouji Shitan (Contemporary World Poetry). He has published a play and collections of essays and poems, including Dayi Ruci (Roughly Speaking, 1997) and Geren Haowu (Private Preferences, 2008), he has edited and published the works of Hai Zi, who is another icon of contemporary mainland Chinese poetry. Xi Chuan’s works has been translated into English, German, Japanese, Swedish etc, and appears in various literary journals. He also works as a translator, mainly in poetry, in addition to African and English poems, he has translated works by Ezra, Pound, Jorge Luis Borges and Czeslaw Milosz etc. Xi Chuan has been awarded the Modern Chinese Poetry Prize (1999) and the national Lu Xun Prize (2001). He has been to India, Holland, German, USA and Italy etc, to attend various literary festivals and events.

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