Boaz GAON (playwright, fiction writer; Israel) has had six plays produced for the stage, Danziger, Boged, Argentina, The Return to Haifa, Prime Time, and Dress Rehearsal. He is also the author of the novel [Gymax’s Yellow Bus] (1995), and of the TV series [The Prosecutor] and [Prisoner Milo]. Gaon teaches dramatic writing at Minshar College of Arts, oversees drama developments for HSCC TV, and chairs the Gaon Center for the Study of Ladino Culture at Ben Gurion University.
Bejan MATUR (poet, non-fiction writer; Turkey), of Kurdish origin, lives in İstanbul. Her first collection of poetry, Rüzgar dolu konaklar [Winds Howl through the Mansions] (1996), won several literary prizes. Since then she has published eight other poetry collections, most recently Aşk olmayan [Love/less] (2016); her poems are widely translated. In addition to her years as a columnist, she has worked with NGOs on conflict resolution. Her participation is made possible by an anonymous gift to IWP.
Aram PACHYAN Արամ Պաչյան (fiction writer, essayist; Armenia) is the author of story collections Ռոբինզոն [Robinson] (2011) and Օվկիանոս [Ocean] (2014). His novel Ցտեսություն, Ծիտ [Goodbye, Bird] (2012) has been translated into English, with French, Bulgarian, Arabic, and Georgian editions forthcoming, and was staged at the Armenian Center for Contemporary Experimental Art; his fiction has been set to music. In 2010, Pachyan received the Presidential Prize for his short stories.
Tehila HAKIMI תהילה חכימי(poet, fiction writer; Israel) writes poetry, fiction and graphic novels. Her poetry volume מחר נעבוד [We’ll Work Tomorrow] (2014) received the 2015 Bernstein Prize for Literature, and, alongside her graphic novel במים [In the Water], the Yehoshua Rabinowitz Foundation Prize for Literature. Hakimi received the 2014 Israeli Ministry of Culture Prize for Emerging Poets. She works as a mechanical engineer. Her participation is made possible by the United States-Israel Educational Foundation.
Iva PEZUASHVILI (novelist, screenwriter, filmmaker; Georgia) is the author of two story collections, most recently [The Book of Tbilisi] (2017). A filmmaker by training, he has written and/or directed a number of short films, animated series, and season-long TV dramas. The recipient of several awards, most recently he was the “best nominee” for the Tsinandali Best Prose Prize. His participation was made possible by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S.
Haifa ABU AL-NADI (fiction writer, screenwriter, translator; Jordan) teaches English at the Applied Sciences University in Amman, and translates for the Kalima and Al-Qattan foundations. Author of screenplays and magazine articles, in 2012 she published the volume of stories على أهبة الحلم [On the Threshold of Dreaming] and, in 2016, the collection مُراودات [Propositions]. She participates courtesy of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. State Department.
Eman ALYOUSUF م. إيمان اليوسف (fiction writer, journalist; United Arab Emirates), a chemical engineer by training, is the author of three short story anthologies and three novels; Haris al-Shams [The Sun’s Guardian] won the 2016 Emirates Novel Awards. Her short film Ghafa was screened at the 2017 Dubai International Film Festival. A columnist and editor at AlRoeya newspaper, she has published a collection of interviews with female Emirati writers, and promotes literary culture at home and abroad.
Sadek Mohammed (Iraq, IWP '14), poet, scholar and translator, is the author of the collection [Archeology of Scorched Cities] (2013) and the co-editor of Flowers of Flame: Unheard Voices of Iraq (2008, IPPY/Independent Publisher Book Award) and Ishtar's Songs: Iraqi Poetry since the 1970s (2011), of which he was the translator. Mohammed has translated writers including Maya Angelou, W. B. Yeats, Arthur Rimbaud, Sergey Yesenin, Osip Mandelstam, Elena Urlova and Mochamed Achmedov into Arabic, and many Iraqi poets into English.
Yaara SHEHORI (fiction writer, poet, editor; Israel) is a literary editor at Keter Publishing House with a PhD in Hebrew literature. She has published many works of fiction, poetry, and nonfiction—most recently the novel [Aquarium] (2016). In 2015, she received both the Levi Eshkol Prime Minister’s Prize and the Minister of Culture Award for Hebrew Literature in the ‘young authors’ category; in 2017 [Aquarium] was awarded the Bernstein Prize as best novel in Hebrew. She participates courtesy of the United States-Israeli Education Foundation.
Lava Omer DARWESH لاڤە عمر دەروێش (poet, translator; Iraq) graduated from the American University of Iraq with degrees in Business and English Literature. In her native city of Sulaimani she started a Freedom Writers Club and a Book Lovers Club; her poems have appeared in the anthology Lanterns of Hope, and she translates poetry and prose from English into Kurdish. She participates courtesy of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State.