Hoda Barakat was born in Beirut in 1952. She has worked in teaching and journalism and currently lives in France. She has published five novels, two plays, a book of short stories and a book of memoirs, as well as contributing to books written in French. Her work has been translated into a number of languages. She was decorated with the ‘Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres’ in 2002 and the ‘Chevalier de l'Ordre du Mérite National’ in 2008. Her novels include: The Stone of Laughter (1990), Disciples of Passion (1993), The Tiller of Waters (2000) which won the Naguib Mahfouz Medal in that year, and My Master and my Lover (2004).
A Palestinian writer and translator of Arabic, Hebrew and English, Anton Shammas has been teaching Arabic and Comparative Literature at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, since 1997. He is the author of three books of poetry (in Hebrew and Arabic); two plays; many essays in English, Hebrew and Arabic; and a novel, Arabesques, originally published in Hebrew (1986) and translated into 8 languages. Upon its American publication in 1988, Arabesques was chosen by The New York Times Book Review as one of the best seven fiction works of 1988. His essays, on the current cultural and political scene in the Middle East, and on his linguistic autobiography in between three languages, have been published in Harper’s Magazine, The New York Review of Books, and The New York Times Magazine. He has translated from and into Arabic, Hebrew and English, playwrights, writers and poets such as: Samuel Beckett, Harold Pinter, Edward Albee, Athol Fugard, Dario Fo, Emile Habiby, Mahmoud Darwish, and Taha Muhammad Ali. He is currently working on a collection of essays: Blind Spots and other essays on translation.