Taleb AL REFAI (fiction writer; Kuwait) has published seven collections of short stories, a play, a number of critical works, and four novels, including the controversial [The Shadow of the Sun] ( ظل الشمس ( in 1998. His 2002 [The Scent of the Sea] ) ( رائحة البحر won the Kuwait National Award for Arts & Literature. Trained as an engineer, Al-Refai has since joined the staff of the National Council for Culture, Art and Literature, where he manages the Culture and Arts Department. His articles appear regularly in the Al-Hayat and Al-Jarida Kuwaiti newspapers; in 2009 he chaired the Arabic Booker Prize for Fiction. He participates courtesy of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State.
Evan Ryan, Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs at the US Department of State, writes about cultural diplomacy and the International Writing Program for the Harvard International Review.