grew up in Albania, where she worked as editor before moving to the Netherlands in 1995. She now coordinates the media programs in Kosovo and in the Caucasus at the Press Now Foundation. Her work has appeared in journals and magazines in Albania, Kosovo, Austria and the Netherlands; she has performed at literary events in the Netherlands and Belgium. In 2008 her first poetry collection Papa Dixhital was awarded the Migjeni prize by the Ministry of Culture of Albania; a second collection, Paradise in Orange, is forthcoming. Her participation is privately funded.
Cho Tu ZAW (novelist, filmmaker, poet, essayist, activist; Myanmar)after years of political organizing, has more than twenty screenwriting and directing credits, including [Another Lonely World] (2010), [The Lost] (2011) and, most recently, [Let's Make A Dialogue on Love] (2011). He is the author of the novels, [Some Used to Hate] (2006] and [Once Upon a Time in Ganges] (2010); his poems and articles have been featured in a number of magazines.
Nay Phone LATT (poet, fiction writer; Burma) is the author of the City I dropped down a collection of stories written during his four-year imprisonment. A blogger and activist, he has received the Reporters Without Borders’ Cyber-dissident Award and the PEN American Freedom to Write Award; in 2010, he was listed among Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World. He edits the online magazine (Thanlwinainmat), www.thanlwin.com, and is the executive director of the NGO, Myanmar ICT for Development Organization (MIDO), www.myanmarido.org. He participates courtesy of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State. His blog in English is en.nayphonelatt.com.
Raed Anis Al-JISHI (poet, translator; Saudi Arabia) has published one novel, seven volumes of poems in Arabic and one, Bleeding Gull: Look, Feel, Fly, in English. Alongside a career as a writer, he teaches high school chemistry in his native city of Qateef. He is a feminist and human rights activist, and works on issues involving children and literacy. His participation is made possible by the U.S. Embassy in Riyadh.
Rumena BUŽAROVSKA (fiction writer, editor, translator; Macedonia) has three books of fiction published and translated into several languages. Her story collection Mojot Maž, which won the Edo Budiša Award for Best Short Story Collection in 2016, will in 2019 appear from Dalkey Press as My Husband. A scholar, she is also an activist on behalf of marginalized populations in Macedonia. In 2016, Literary Europe Live named her one of Ten New Voices from Europe. She participates courtesy of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State.
Samuel MENGHESTEAB ሳሙኤል መንግስትኣብ (fiction, nonfiction, drama, poetry; Eritrea) is the author of the Tigrigna story anthology Seb ziseanet seb, and a regular contributor to Tigrigna-language magazines. He teaches adult and youth theater and literary programs, and writes pop song lyrics. His participation is courtesy of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and the U.S. Department of State.
THAWDA AYE LEI (fiction, nonfiction; Myanmar), a graduate of the International Institute of Social Studies in The Hague, is a journalist-turned-advocate. She is also the author of three novels and a story collection [The Borderless Cloud], and the founder of the online magazine Myat shu. Thawda Aye Lei's participation was made possible by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State.
ARAI Takako 新井 高子 (poetry; Japan) has published three poetry collections, including Tamashii dansu [Soul Dance] which won the 2008 Oguma Hideo Prize. Since 1998, she has been an editor for the poetry journal Mi’Te; she has also edited a volume of poems about, and is producing a film connected to, the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in northern Japan. The poetry volume Factory Girls is forthcoming in English. Arai teaches Japanese and poetry at Saitama University. She participates courtesy of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State.
Martha MUKAIWA (nonfiction, fiction, journalism; Namibia) is an arts and travel journalist, and activist for black Namibians, women, and the LGBTQIA+ community. She has written for The Namibian, Quartz, Matador Network, and The Africa Report, among other publications. She has also served as film juror for the Namibian Theatre and Film Awards, on panels providing grants to Namibia’s upcoming voices in the arts, and on UNESCO’s #JournalistsToo campaign. She participates courtesy of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State.
Roy Chicky ARAD רועי צ'יקי ארד (poetry, fiction, nonfiction, performance; Israel) is an activist, musician/performer and writer, with eight published volumes of poetry and prose. He edits the poetry magazine Ma'ayan, translates, largely poetry, and writes for the daily Ha’aretz. The Culture Guerilla group, which he co-founded, takes poetry into Israeli streets. He participates courtesy of Fulbright Israel.