Special Arabic Double Issue
SALAH AL-HAMDANI was born in Baghdad in 1951 into a modest family of peasant origins. After a time in the Iraqi Army when he was still in his teens, he was incarcerated and tortured for his opposition to the Baathist Party of Saddam Hussein. It was in prison that he discovered literature and writing in his association with other political prisoners. Escaping an attempt on his life after he was released from prison, he found exile in France "the country of Albert Camus" and of the Rights of Man. Before long, he became an actor in the theatre and cinema where, in 1979, he took on the role of Enkidu in the Epic of Gilgamesh. About the same period, his first collection of poetry was translated into French and published by Éditions du Cherche-Midi. An active supporter of the Palestinian cause as well as the struggle against Saddam Hussein, he nevertheless continued producing works in Arabic, which generally were denied publication because of his political stands and his criticism of religion and obscurantism. For some time, his political commitments on the left and against Saddam Hussein prevented him from concentrating on the promotion of his literary works. It was only after the downfall of the Iraqi tyrant that he could devote all his energy and time to his writing, which remains engaged in Arabic as well as in French. Today, he is the author of more than fifteen books in French, half of which have been translated from the Arabic, and of a dozen books in Arabic. Numerous narratives and poems in Arabic, as yet not published, await translation and publication.
SONIA ALLAND divides her time between New York City and her home in a village in southern France. For some years, she has been translating the work of the French writer, Marie Bronsard (In Memoriam Cassiopée, Red Dust, 2000 ; The Hermitage, Northwestern University Press, 2001). Seagull Books is producing Ms. Bronsard's The Legend in 2011. Ms. Alland's collaboration with the Iraqi poet, Salah Al Hamdani, began after their meeting at a poetry festival in France in 2004. Her translation of a selection of his poetry and prose, Baghdad Mon Amour, was published by Curbstone Press in 2008. Ms. Alland also contributed the English component of a bi-lingual (French/English) edition of his poetry, Seasons of Clay, which was published in France in January of 2011. She is presently composing a second volume of Salah Al Hamdani's selected works.
BASSEM AL-MERAIBY, one of Iraq's most important poets of the 1980s, was born in 1960. His first poems were published in the mid 1970s, and he has published seven poetry collections to date. He began to write plays in the early 1980s and was awarded the important Arabic Yousef AlKhals prize in 1988. Poetry, for him, is a way to exist. He believes that "Poetry is important enough to dedicate your whole life to it."
OSAMA ALOMAR is a Syrian poet and short story writer. He has published three collections of short stories ( Ayuha al-insaan (O Man), Rabtat Lisaan (Tongue Tie), Jami' al-huquq ghayr mah-fuza (All Rights Not Reserved) and one volume of poetry (qaala insaan al 'asir al hadith (Man Said the Modern World). He is a regular contributor to various newspapers and journals in Syria and the Arab World, among them, Tishrin, an-Nur, Spot Light, al-Halil, Adab wa Naqd, and al-Ghad. A prominent practitioner of the Arabic "very short story" (al-qisa al-qasira jiddan), he is a past winner of the Najlaa Muharam Short Story Contest in Egypt (2007). His work is regularly heard on the BBC Arabic Service. Born in Damascus, Osama currently lives in Chicago.
AHMED ZAGHLOOL AL-SHEETY (1961-) is a contemporary Egyptian writer who revolutionized Egyptian and Arabic cultural life in the nineties by his highly important novel Poisonous Roses for Sakr, 1993. The novel's post-modern narrative records the sharp political, cultural and social changes that took place in the seventies and eighties in Egypt. It was nominated as one of the best novels in the 1990s. For the more contemporary generation of writers, this work has become the icon of the nineties and the herald of new narrative techniques. Al-Sheety has two other novels, Paper Toys (1991) and Internal Winter (1994.) His important fourth book, which contains post-modernist texts that have been published in many Arabic and Egyptian periodicals in the last ten years, is forthcoming.
AMIRA AL-ZIQRID was born in 1974 in El Mansoura (Egypt), graduated from the Faculty of Arts at Mansoura University in 1995. She received an M.A. degree (2005) and a Ph.D. degree (2008) from Women's College Ain Shams University. She is currently a Lecturer at MSA University in Egypt. Her focus is on Comparative Literature and Translation Studies.
MOHAMMED MAHMOUD AL-ZUBAIRI lived most of his life in Yemen, where he became one of the key leaders of the 26 September Rebellion in 1962. He received his education at the House of Sciences in Egypt, but returned to Yemen in 1941 before finishing his degree. He became a voice for the Yemeni People in opposition to Imam Yahya, who was one of the most brutal dictators that Yemen ever experienced. His poem, "Record Your Place in History", was composed sometime between 1950-51. Imam Yahya imprisoned al-Zubairi several times for his public speeches and poetry reciting in support of rebellion.
DHU AL-NUN AYYUB (1908-1988) was an early modern Iraqi writer and translator born in Mosul in 1908. He studied at the Baghdad Higher College for Teachers' Training and worked as a teacher of mathematics after graduating. In the 1930s he became the head of the Fine Arts Institute in Baghdad, and served as editor of the al-Majallah magazine between 1938 and 1944. During this period, he also joined Iraq's communist party and left it over a dispute with its secretary general, only to establish his own, moderate left-wing party, al-Mu'tamariyyun. In 1948, Ayyub was elected deputy of Mosul, but returned to training soon after, having been court-martialed. In 1954 he left Iraq for Vienna, and with the exception of a brief period working in Iraq for the Iraqi Broadcasting Corporation after the 1958 Iraqi revolution, Ayyub stayed in Austria until his death in 1988. Many of Ayyub's short stories, which he originally published in the al-Majallah literary journal, were later collected in eleven anthologies. Al-Duktur Ibrahim was his first novel.
SALWA BAKR was born in Cairo in 1949. She earned her B.A. in Business Management from Ain Shams University in 1972 and a second B.A. in Theatre Criticism in 1976. From 1974 to 1980, she worked as a government rationing inspector. She then worked as a film and theatre critic for several Arabic language publications. Since 1985, she has concentrated on creative writ- ing. She has published seven collections of short stories, seven novels and a play. Her works have been translated into several languages. Since 2001 she has worked as a visiting professor in the American University in Cairo. She is a member of Egyptian High Council for Culture, The Egyptian Writers Union, a ju- ror in the first Arab Cinema Festival (Paris), and in the IBN RUSHD Competition for Freedom of Thought.
NICOLE BALL is a freelance translator living between Northampton, Massachusetts, and Paris, France. She has translated Catherine Clément's The Weary Sons of Freud, Maryse Condé's Land of Many Colors, and, into French, a Jonathan Kellerman thriller: La Sourde. She co-translated with David Ball Lascaux; A work of Memory, A. Waberi's In the United States of Africa (2009) and shorter pieces by him in a number of journals and anthologies. She is presently working with her co-translator on two other novels by the Franco-Djiboutian Waberi, Transit and Passage des Larmes, scheduled to appear in 2011.
MARK BERG was born in 1954 and grew up in Hopkinton Massachusetts. He received a BA in Russian language and literature at George Washington University in 1976, and has worked in the Harvard Law library since 1979. He learned Spanish "literally and figuratively" on the streets of Cordoba, and subsequently took courses at Harvard. He visits Italy and Spain every year, and also speaks Italian and Portuguese. His translations of six poems by Ibn Zaidun, translated from the Spanish, have appeared in Metamorphoses. He is currently preparing a translation of Possessed of Leila, a collection of poetry by Mahmud Sobh, for publication.
HAIFA BITAR is a professional ophthalmologist who was born and still lives in the city of Lattakia, Syria. She has published nine novels and eleven short story collections. She is also is a regular essay contributor to a number of Arabic and international magazines.
BOB BLANCHARD is a student in Cabrillo Community College in California.
IBTISSAM BOUACHRINE is Assistant Professor of medi- eval and early modern Iberian Studies at Smith College. She is also affiliated with the Middle East Studies Program at Smith. She writes and teaches about medieval and early modern Iberian and Maghribi literatures and cultures and is currently finishing Making Sense of Muslim Women, a book-length study about the representation of Muslim women in the western Mediterranean. She participated in the NEH Summer Seminar on "The Medieval Mediterranean and the Emergence of the West."
ELIZABETH BRASINGTON graduated from Smith College in 2012 with a degree in Middle East Studies.
EVA CLAESON, one of the founding editors of Metamorphoses in 1992, is a translator from Swedish who, after 30 years in Europe lives, north of Amherst MA. She has written about a dozen short stories as well as poetry and has published numerous translations, including two short story collections, books of poetic prose, a classic novel and a collection of contemporary Swedish women poets. At this time she is working on what she calls an autobiographic fiction which she started 20 years ago.
MONA ELNAMOURY is Associate Professor of English at Tanta University, specializing is feminist American science fiction. She has taught AFL and EFL for several years besides teaching literature. She is an ICLA member.
NABILE FARÈS was born in Collo, Algeria, in 1940. An activist, ethnologist, founder of a theater, he has been a voice against colonialism in such poetic works as Chant d'Akli and Escuchando tu historia. His popular second novel, A Passenger from the West, is the first to be translated (2010). Farès won the Kateb Yacine prize, in 1994, for lifetime achievement.
STEPHANIE FAUVER was born in Ohio, and is a Persian-English translator currently living in Doha, Qatar. She holds an MA in Near Eastern Languages and Cultures from the University of California, Los Angeles, and an MPS in Persian from the University of Maryland, College Park.
ALEXANDER FOREMAN was born in 1987 and is currently a linguistics student at the University of Chicago. His primary interests are translation theory, diachronic phonology, comparative Semitic linguistics and procrastination.
YVONNE FRECCERO was born and raised in England, worked throughout Europe and the Middle East for the British Passport Control department before coming to the United States where she pursued a career in academic administration. She is the author of numerous translations, including Rene Girard's Deceit, Desire, and the Novel (1965), The Scapegoat (1986) and JOB the Victim of His People (1987) from French and Gian-Paolo's The Smile of the Gods from Italian. Her most recent translation is The Wind in My Hair (2007), the memoir of a Palestinian woman, Salwa Salem.
VARTAN GUBBINS is finishing his MA at The University of Wisconsin, Madison, where he has also taught Arabic. He is currently working on a project, Arabic Poetry of Rebellions.
ALICE GUTHRIE is a freelance literary translator and researcher, working mainly with Arabic, and often with Palestinian writers. Born in London in 1976, she studied Arabic at Exeter University and IFPO, Damascus.
LEE HALL is an artist who lives in South Hadley, Massacusetts.
LYDIA HARRINGTON graduated from Hampshire College in 2010 with a concentration in Middle Eastern Studies and Art & Architectural History. She plans to pursue a graduate degree in Islamic art & architecture history and museum studies.
MOHAMED EL-SAWI HASSAN is Assistant Professor of Applied Linguistics at Mansoura University, Egypt. His Ph.D. from Ain Shams University, Cairo Egypt is in Critical Discourse Analysis and Theory of Syntax. He was one of the guest editors in the special Arabic Language Issue of Metamorphoses (Spring and Fall 2007). His research interests include translation studies, foreign language teaching, discourse analysis and comparative linguistics.
MAGGIE HORSNELL is Professor Emerita of American History and a photographer. She lives in South Hadley, Massachusetts.
LOBNA A. ISMAIL is Associate Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Cairo University, Egypt. A freelance critic and translator she is the Vice-Chair for International Affairs of the Egyptian Society of Comparative Literature (ESCL) and Editorial Counselor for the Bulletin of the Faculty of Arts, Cairo University.
SATTAR IZWAINI, whose mother tongue is Arabic, holds MA and PhD degrees from the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology, and is Assistant Professor of Translation at the American University of Sharjah, UAE. He has worked as a freelance and full time translator in Iraq, Jordan, Sweden, and the UAE for about 15 years, and has translated from English into Arabic works by Herman Hesse, James Holmes, and Virginia Wolf; from Swedish into Arabic, Vilhelm Moberg; from Arabic into English, Amado by Nahidh al-Ramadhani.
FADEL K. JABR was born in southern Iraq in 1960; in 1987 he graduated from the Translation Department of al-Mustansiryah University in Baghdad. He has published two books of poetry in Arabic, Athariyun (Archaeologists) Amman, Jordan 1997 and Haliman a'borun Nashid (Dreamily I Cross the Anthem) Beirut, Lebanon 1993. In 1992, he won al-Aqlam (Pens) literary journal's prize for poetry. His poems and translations have appeared in many regional and international newspapers, journals, and anthologies. He has lived in the US since 1998.
MOHAMED JASIM is a poet who has lived in Sweden for over twenty years and translates from Arabic into Swedish.
MAHMOOD JINDARY (1944-1995) was born in Jumailah, Mosul, Iraq. A celebrated figure in Iraqi literature, he began publishing short stories in the 1960s. His first collection appeared in 1968, followed by three more in 1978, 1984 and 1996. His one novel was published in 1985. He also wrote many critical articles.
IBN KHAFAJA (1058-1138) was born near Valencia, where he spent most of his life. One of the very greatest poets of Islamic Andalusia, he developed a style of nature poetry (dubbed Khafajiyya, or "Khafajism") that was often imitated after him, but seldom rivaled.
NAHLA KHALIL holds a Ph.D. in American Literature (2008) from Ain Shams University and is currently Assistant professor of English Language and Literature at Mansoura University, Egypt. She taught Arabic Language and Literature at Amherst College in 2008 and mentored Arabic courses in the Five College Center for the study of World Languages in 2006 and 2007.
RAFED A. KHASHAN is a former professor of Translation and English at the University of Basra, Iraq. He also was born and raised in Basra but was forced to move to the United States to live in Amarillo, Texas following the murder of his brother, Jalal. He is now working with Catholic Family Services helping refugees settle in the Texas Panhandle. He has translated a number of short stories for Mohammed Khudeir. His translation of H.C. Armstrong's Lord of Arabia for Dar AlWarraq (London) was published in 2008.
MOHAMMED KHUDEIR was born in Basra, where he still lives. Like many Basri scholars, he feels rooted to the various landscapes of the city. He is one of the most prominent Iraqi and Arab writers who helped shape the form of the modern Arab fiction. His many short stories include To the Night Lodging, Clocks Like Horses, God of the Swamps, Autumnal Vision among many others. Among his influential novellas that have been translated into English are 45 Degrees Celsius and The Black Kingdom. His Basrayatha: A Portrait of A City is an artistic portrait of the city of Basra as it takes shape in the author's mind and has nothing, but memory, to do with today's city. Most, if not all, of Khudeir's stories capture the marginal and forgotten aspects of life. His works teem with the stories of the poor, the fishermen and the street boys. Thanks to his captivating style and fragmented narrative, he is often compared to Borges and Italo Calvino.
ISABELLE LAGNY was born in Paris in 1961. She studied Medicine, Neurosciences, as well as the History and Philosophy of Science. After a period of research in biology, she assumed responsibilities as a doctor in the workplace and also began studies in music, singing and the theatre. In addition, her interests were directed to writing poetry and narratives and producing a corpus of photographic works. In 1996 she met the Iraqi poet and actor, Salah Al Hamdani. She began a long collaboration translating his prose and poetic texts written in Arabic into French, an experience that would influence her own writing (Journal derrière le givre (Journal Behind the Frost), Harmattan, 2002 ; Rendez-vous dans quinze jours (Rendez-vous in Two Weeks), narratives submitted for publication; Thym brûlé (Burnt Thyme), poems submitted for publication, and other texts as yet unpublished.)
KATWIWA MULE is Associate Professor of Comparative Literature and Chair of the Comparative Literature Program at Smith College. He also serves as the Director of African Studies and is the author of Women's Spaces, Women's Visions: Politics, Poetics and Resistance in African Women's Drama (Africa World Press, 2007).
HASSAN NAJMI, a prominent Moroccan poet, scholar, and critic, was born in Ben Ahmed in 1960 and now resides in Rabat, where he currently works as Directeur du livre at the Ministry of Culture. Najmi holds a PhD in Arabic language and literature and has served as president of the Moroccan Writers Union. He has published three novels, a number of literary studies, and numerous poetry collections. He has himself translated many poets into Arabic, including the Italian Giuseppe Ungaretti, the Greek Yiannis Ritsos, and the Russian Anna Akhmatova.
Moroccan journalist and writer RACHID NINI spent time researching his account of 'illegal' migrant workers in Spain and France during the 1990s, by living and working amongst them. His work has been translated into Spanish and French, but this is his first publication in English translation. He is now editor of the Moroccan daily Almassaa.
MONIR OTAIBA is an Egyptian writer who resides in Alexandria. He is a founding board member of the Arab Union for Internet Writers, Coordinator of Bibliotheque Alexandrina's weekly Narrative Seminar, co-editor of Alexandrian Waves magazine, and a drama script writer for Radio Alexandria. He is the author of seven collections of short stories: Chicken United (1998), The Prince who was Chased by Death (2000), Al Bibany Stories (2002), The Meadow of Kohl (2005), Breaking Sadness (2007), Blood Spots on a Tree (2009), and The Bride's Juggler. He has also written two novels, Al Ghoneimy Stories (2001) and Asad Al kaffash (2010) as well as two collections of children's stories and a play. The short story, "Nine Beads for the Coming One," is from his fourth collection of short stories, The Meadow of Kohl (Marg el kohl)(2005). The stories in the collection are steeped in fantasy and draw on popular Egyptian folklore, oral literature and old myths. Otaiba has won many awards in local and international short story competitions. Many of his translated stories have been taught in literature departments at Harvard University, Helwan, Alexandria and Al-Monufeiya Universities in Egypt. Otaiba holds a bachelor's degree in Sociology from Alexandria University and an MBA from the Arab Academy of Science and Technology. He currently works as an HR Manager at Lecico Ceramics.
MERIEM PAGÈS is a graduate of Mount Holyoke College and Stanford University, where she obtained an M.A. in History. She received an M.A. and a PhD in Comparative Literature from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, focusing on the image of the Assassins in medieval Europe. She currently teaches medieval English literature at Keene State College.
THALIA PANDIRI, editor-in-chief of Metamorphoses since 1999, is Professor of Classical Languages and Literatures and Comparative Literature at Smith College. She holds a PhD from Columbia University. Twice awarded the Rome Prize, she is a Fellow of the American Academy in Rome.
JOHN PEATE is a doctoral candidate in Translation Studies at the University of Salford, UK. He has BA degrees in both English and Arabic from the University of Leeds, UK and an MA in Translation Studies from the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London. He has also studied Arabic in Fez, Cairo and Damascus.
AMINA SAID was born in Tunis in 1953 and currently lives in Paris (where she took her degree at the Sorbonne). One of the most important Tunisian authors, she contributes to both partisan and Moroccan journals. She is primarily a poet, but has written novels as well. She won the prix Jean-Malrieu for Feu d'oiseaux in 1989.
ERIC SELLIN has taught French and American literature at half a dozen universities in Africa and the U.S., notably Temple University (1962-1991) and Tulane University (1991-2001). Now retired, Sellin lives in Philadelphia, where he has resumed the study of Arabic. He is the author of two books on French avant-garde literature, two books on soccer, and ten books of poetry, three of which - including Ombres de mon soleil: Poèmes 1970-2000 - were composed in French. Sellin's poetry translations from several languages have appeared in dozens of journals and anthologies, including: The Contemporary World Poets, The Heinemann Book of African Women's Poetry, Literary Olympians, The Literary Review, Modern European Poetry, New Directions, New World Writing, and Translation: The Journal of Literary Translation.
MAHMUD SOBH was born in 1936 in Safad, Palestine. A period of peripatetic exile began in 1948, after the brutal expulsion of the Arab inhabitants after Israel's "war of independence." In 1965 he came to Spain to complete his doctoral thesis on classical Andalusian poetry, and has lived in Spain since then. A highly esteemed and prize winning poet (Premio Alamo de Poesia in 1975; Premio Vicente Aleixandre in 1978) who writes poetry in Spanish and in Arabic, he is a Chair Professor of Arabic and Islamic Studies at the Universidad Complutense in Madrid.
MBAREK SRYFI holds a Master's Degree in Education from the École Normale Supérieure in Rabat. He is currently a lecturer in foreign languages at the University of Pennsylvania, where he is a Ph.D. candidate in Islamic Studies and Arabic Literature, concentrating on Modern Arabic Literature. He is also an adjunct assistant professor at Mercer County Community College in New Jersey. Sryfi contributed three chapters to a new Arabic textbook, Perspective: Arabic Language and Culture in Film (Alucen, 2009) and co-translated two short stories from Arabic into English (CELAAN, 2008). He has recently co-translated an anthology of short stories, and is currently translating a book-length essay on Arabic literature.
ROBERT G. SULLIVAN is Associate Professor of German and Scandinavian Studies and Adjunct Professor of Near Eastern Studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. His teaching and scholarly interests include medieval spirituality, the Crusades, and the representation of the Muslim world in Europe during the Middle Ages and today. He holds degrees from McGill University and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
KHALED MAHMOUD TAWFIK is Associate Professor of Translation and Linguistics, Department of English Language and Literature, Faculty of Arts, Cairo University. His interests include text translation, applied linguistics and text linguistics. He has authored 17 books on translation and language (Arabic and English) and translated 12 books (from English into Arabic).
PETER THOMPSON teaches modern languages and literature at Roger Williams U. His books include Late Liveries, (poetry, 2000), Daybreak and New Words, (song lyrics, 1996, 1998). More recently he has translated Léon-Paul Fargue's Poèmes (2003), Véronique Tadjo's first book of poetry, Red Earth (2006), and Nabile Farès's Escuchando tu historia (2008). He has edited two anthologies of francophone literature, and translated the Spanish folksong anthology Vamos a cantar. He edits Ezra: An Online Journal of Translation.
MARTIN WALKOW holds an MA in Linguistics and English Philology from the University of Göttingen and is currently a graduate student in linguistics at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. He has worked on the relation between syntax and morphology, subject-verb agreement phenomena, the syntax of pronouns, conjunction and pragmatics in a number of languages including Arabic and Hindi-Urdu.