MA THIDA (fiction writer, physician, activist; b. 1966, Burma) was in medical school when Burma’s military junta shut down the universities. She then served as a health care provider as well as an editor for the non-violent National League for Democracy. Her many short stories containing disguised criticism of the Burmese government led to six years in solitary confinement, without access to reading or writing materials. In 1999 she was pardoned and released on humanitarian grounds. She is now the editor of a youth magazine as well as a surgeon at the Muslim Free Hospital, which treats poor patients at no cost.
has worked as a surgeon in rural areas throughout India. She currently runs a medical center for workers in Maharashtra, and a Learning Centre for their children. She has authored five novels, most recently The Hills of Angheri (2005) and several children’s books. Among her honors is a UNICEF-CBT Award for her children’s novel, Once Upon a Forest. She also writes on healthcare issues for Indian press. She participates courtesy of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State.
is the author of a collection of short stories titled [‘Bent (a Girl)’] (2001) and the prose collection [‘Did You See Me? I Was Walking in the Street’] (2007). Her work has been translated into Italian and English; her artwork is on the cover of several books. A regular columnist for Albilad newspaper since 2003, she is a family physician in Jeddah. She participates courtesy of the William B. Quarton Foundation.
zp (Priya) DALA (fiction writer, nonfiction writer; South Africa) is a physical therapist, a psychologist, and a writer. Her first novel, What About Meera, won the 2015 South African Minara Debut Prize, was shortlisted for the Etisalat Literary Prize, and made the top 15 African novels of 2015 list. A second novel, The Architecture of Loss, is forthcoming in 2017. Her op-ed pieces have appeared in The New York Times and elsewhere. She participates courtesy of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State.