Kinana ISSA (fiction writer, playwright; Syria) is the author of Windows, a collection of six short stories that have been adapted for a multimedia theatrical play, of a script for the interactive sound installation Gardens Speak and of scripts for five films. She has worked as a translator, organized filmmaking workshops and screening events; and as a freelance journalist for AP and Al Jazeera Children; currently she is an editor at The Syria Campaign. Her participation is made possible by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S.
Nihad SIREES is a civil engineer who lives in Aleppo. His novels include Cancer, The North Winds, A Case of Passion, and Noise and Silence. Of his many television dramas the most widely acclaimed, Silk Market, set in Aleppo during the political turmoil of the 1950s, was shown throughout the Middle East, in Germany and in Australia. His latest series, Al Khait Al Abiadh (‘The First Gleam of Dawn’), provides a frank depiction of the country’s government-controlled media.
Khaled KHALIFA has written extensively for film and television and authored three novels (titled, in translation 'The Guard of Deception,' 1993; The Gypsy Notebooks, 2000; and In Praise of Hatred, 2006), published in multiple editions in the Arab world. His honors include a 2007 award from the Ismaiiliyah International Festival for Documentaries and a 2005 Award for Best Script for Bab al Maqam, from the Valencia Film Festival. Currently, he is working on his fourth novel, A Parallel Life.
Haifa BITAR is the author of eight novels, including [‘A Woman of this Modern Age’] and eleven short story collections, including [‘Dusk and Writing’]. She is a regular contributor of literary reviews to numerous Arabic-language newspapers, appears as a guest on Arabic cultural television programs. Among her awards is the Abu Al-Qasem Al-Shabi Prize, awarded in Tunisia for her collection [‘The Whore’] in 2003. Bitar is also a practicing ophthalmologist at the National Hospital in Latakia.
On 5/24/20, the US Embassy in Moscow celebrated Joseph Brodsky's 80th birthday with a collage of American poets reading his birthday poem "May 24, 1980" in the poet's self-translation. Chris Merrill, one of Brodsky's students, is among the readers.