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.
Khaled ALBERRY (novelist; Egypt) is the author of Life is More Beautiful Than Paradise (2001), an autobiographical account his life with a radical Islamist group. His 2010 novel [An Oriental Dance] was shortlisted for the Arabic Booker Prize; other novels include [Negative] (2004) and [The New Testament] (2011). Alberry has worked for the BBC as a journalist, correspondent and producer, and is currently a columnist for the Tahrir Newspaper. He participates courtesy of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State.
Genevieve L. ASENJO (fiction writer, poet, translator; Philippines) is the author of four books including Lumbay ng Dila (The Melancholy of the Tongue), winner of the country’s 2011 National Book Award. Her short stories and poems have appeared in many magazines and anthologies. She translates into the Philippine languages Kinaray-a, Hiligaynon, and Filipino, and is the founder-director of Balay Sugidanun (Storytelling House). She is Associate Professor of literature and creative writing at De La Salle University-Manila. Her participation is made possible by a grant from the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State.
Jana BEŇOVÁ (poet, fiction writer; Slovakia) has written three books of poetry: Svetloplachý (1993), Lonochod (1997) and Nehota (1997). Beňová has also published the short story collection Dvanásť poviedok a Ján Med (2003), an essay collection, and the novels Parker (2000) and Plán odprevádzania (Café Hyena) [Seeing People Off] (2008); her most recent novel, Preč! Preč! [Away! Away!] was published earlier this year. Beňová currently works as an editor at the Slovak Theatre Institute. Her participation is made possible by a grant from the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State.
Luis BRAVO (poet, essayist; Uruguay) has published eleven works of poetry in book form and as multimedia, most recently Árbol Veloz [Swift Tree] (2009) and Tamudando (2010). Bravo’s poems have appeared online and in print, in Latin America and Europe; group works can be found here. His essays have appeared in a variety of anthologies, magazines, and other publications; he has also published four volumes of criticism. He teaches literature at Universidad de Montevideo. His participation is courtesy of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State.
CHAN Chi Tak 陳智德 (pen name:CHAN Mit陳滅.poet, essayist; Hong Kong) is an assistant professor at the Hong Kong Institute of Education, and co-founder of poetry journals《呼吸詩刊》 [Huxi Poetry](1996-2001) and《詩潮》 [Poetry Waves](2001-2003). He has three books of poetry, 《單聲道》[Life in Mono] (2002), 《低保真》[Lo-fi Sound] (2004), and 《市場, 去死吧》[To Hell With the Market] (2008), three essay collections, and edited three anthologies of Hong Kong literature. His work has twice won the Recommendation Prize for Chinese Literature at Hong Kong Biennial Awards and four times the Award for Creative Writing in Chinese. English translations of Chan’s poems have been featured in The Literary Review, West Coast Line, Renditions, and To Pierce the Material Screen: an Anthology 20th-century Hong Kong Literature. His participation is made possible by a grant from The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation in Hong Kong.
CHOI Myoung Sook (playwright; South Korea) is a lecturer of drama and modern culture at Soonchunhyang and Baeksuk Universities. She has written six staged plays, including 모텔 피아노 [Motel Piano] (2007), 두 아이 [Two Daughters](2011) and directed the [Actors Read Novels] series in Seoul from 2008 to 2012. The title play for her published collection, 그리고 또 하루 [And Again, Another Day] (2009), was staged at the 33rd Seoul Theatre Festival in 2012 and won the prize for drama. Her participation is funded by Arts Council Korea.
Matías CORREA (fiction writer; Chile) has taught philosophy, curated for an art gallery, has worked as a columnist for the supplement Zona de Contacto and the national daily El Mercurio, and is currently an editor at Groupon LatAm. His first novel, Geografía de lo inútil, was published in 2010. He is currently working on his second novel, Esto no es un libro de autoayuda. His participation is supported through a grant from the Universidad Finis Terrae.
Alina DADAEVA (poet, fiction writer; Uzbekistan) has worked as a reporter and correspondent for Зеркало XXI [Mirror XXI], Бизнес-вестникВостока [Business Report of the East], Новый век [The New Century] and Леди [The Lady]. Her poetry has appeared in Вдохновение[The Inspiration], an almanac of young Uzbek poets, and in the literary journals День и ночь [Day and Night], Звезда [The Star], Новая Юность [The New Youth], and Звезда Востока [The Star of the East]. Dadaeva’s first collection of poetry, Предчувствие [The Presentiment], was published in 2010. She participates thanks to a grant from the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State.
TJ DEMA (poet; Botswana), a founding member of her country’s spoken word movement and a member of Sonic Slam Chorus, a former chair of the Writers' Association of Botswana, and runs Sauti Arts and Performance Management. An editor and anthologized poet, she has produced a multilingual CD, “Dreaming Is A Gift For Me,” featuring twelve Botswana poets. This summer she took part in the Cultural Olympiad’s Poetry Parnassus in London. She participates courtesy of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State.
Federico FALCO (fiction writer, poet; Argentina) is the author of three short story collections, two poetry collections, and the 2011 novel Cielos de Córdoba. His La hora de los monos was chosen as one of the best Argentine books of 2010 by the magazine Revista Ñ. His stories are widely published and anthologized, including Open Letter’s 2012 The Future is Not Ours: New Latin American Fiction. In 2010, Falco was among Granta magazine’s Best Young Spanish-Language Novelists. Currently he teaches in the Department of Cinema, Literature and Contemporary Art History at the Universidad Blas Pascal. He participates courtesy of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State.
Lucy FRICKE (fiction writer; Germany) worked extensively in film and television before studying literature at the Deutsches Literaturinstitut in Leipzig. Fricke has gone on to publish the novels Durst ist schlimmer als Heimweh [Thirst is Worse Than Homesickness] (2007) and Ich habe Freunde mitgebracht [I Brought Friends] (2010). She has organized literary events for the Berlin International Poetry Festival, the Leipzig Book Fair, and currently directs the HAM.LIT festival in Hamburg. She participates courtesy the Max Kade Foundation.
Alisa GANIEVA (fiction writer, children’s writer, critic; Russia) edits NezavisimayaGazeta‘s weekly supplement ExLibris. Her stories, articles, and reviews have been widely published and anthologized. In 2009 Ganieva won the Debut Prize for her novel Салам тебе, Далгат! [Salam, Dalgat!] written under the pseudonym Gulla Khirachev. She is also the winner of the Gorky Literary Prize (2008), October magazine’s award for literary criticism (2009) and Triumph Prize for fiction. Her second novel Праздничная гора [Holiday Mountain] is due out later this year. She participates courtesy of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State.
HAE Yisoo (fiction writer; South Korea) made his debut in 2000. After two story collections, 캥거루가 있는 사막 [The Kangaroo in the Desert] (2006) and 젤리피쉬 [The Jellyfish] (2009), his first novel, 고쿄 [Gokyo Peak], will be published serially online this year. He is the recipient of the 2004 Sim Hoon Literary Award and the 2010 Han Moosuk Literary Award. He has worked at the International Creative Writing Center at Dankook University, and coordinated the 2010 Seoul International Writers’ Festival. He participates courtesy of the Korea Literature Translation Institute (KLTI).
Jeffrey Paparoa HOLMAN (poet, nonfiction writer; New Zealand) has worked as a sheep-shearer, postman, lecturer, psychiatric social worker and bookseller. He is the author of a book of nonfiction, Best of Both Worlds: The Story of Elsdon Best and Tutakangahau (2010), and seven collections of poetry, including As Big As A Father (2002) and, most recently Shaken Down 6.3. His memoir, The Lost Pilot is forthcoming. His participation is supported through a grant from Creative New Zealand.
Andrei KHADANOVICH (poet, translator; Belarus) is the author of eight collections of poetry, including Лісты з-пад коўдры [Letters from under the Blanket] (2004), Несымэтрычныя сны [Nonsymmetrical Dreams] (2010), and a poetry book for children Нататкі таткі [Father’s Notes]. A translator of English, French, Lithuanian, Polish, Russian, and Ukrainian poetry, he has had his work translated into 14 languages. He is the president of PEN Belarus. He teaches literature at Belarusian State University and Belarusian National Jakub Kolas Lyceum of Liberal Arts, and translation at the Belarusian Collegium. He participates courtesy of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State.
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.
LIN Chun Ying 林俊頴 (fiction writer; Taiwan) is the author of an essay collection and seven short story collections, including 大暑 [The Longest Summer] (1991), 焚燒創世紀 [A Burning Notebook] (1997), and 鏡花園 [The Garden of Mirrors] (2006). His novel 我不可告人的鄉愁[The Nostalgia That Dare Not Speak Its Name] (2011) received the 2012 Taipei International Book Exhibition Prize. Lin has worked as a copywriter, newspaper editor, and in television. His participation is made possible by the Council for Cultural Affairs in Taiwan.
Rodrigo Garcia LOPES (poet, translator; Brazil) has published five collections of poetry, including Solarium (1994), Polivox (2001) and Nômada (2004). His poems, essays and interviews have been widely published and anthologized, including in Os Cem Melhores Poemas Brasileiros do Século 20 [The Best 100 Brazilian Poems of the Twentieth Century]. His second CD, Canções do Estúdio Realidade [Songs from Reality Studio), a new book of poems and a first novel, the detective story O Trovador [The Troubadour] are forthcoming in 2012. He translates from the English (Whitman, Laura Riding, Plath) and from the French (Rimbaud, Apollinaire). A freelance journalist and translator, he co-edits the arts magazine Coyote; he also performs his poems and songs regularly around Brazil. His participation is courtesy the William B. Quarton Foundation.
Dimitris LYACOS (poet, playwright; Greece/Italy) is the author of the cross- genre trilogy Poena Damni, which includes Z213: ΕΞΟΔΟΣ [Z213: EXIT] (published in English in 2010), ΜΕ ΤΟΥΣ ΑΝΘΡΩΠΟΥΣ ΑΠΟ ΤΗ ΓΕΦΥΡΑ [With the People From the Bridge], and Ο ΠΡΩΤΟΣ ΘΑΝΑΤΟΣ [The First Death]. The trilogy has been translated into six languages, and staged in theatres across Europe and the U.S., inspiring works in various media including a sound and sculpture installation, paintings, and a dance adaptation. Lyacos’ participation is made possible by a grant from the Counting Art non-profit organization and Athens-based ABOUT Cultural Venue.
Christopher MLALAZI (fiction writer, playwright; Zimbabwe) is the author of the novels Many Rivers (2009) and Running With Mother (2012), and the short story collection Dancing With Life: Tales From the Township (2008), which won the Best First Book award at the National Arts Merit Awards. Mlalazi’s eight plays, including the 2008 Oxfam/Novib PEN Freedom of Expression Award winner “The Crocodile Of Zambezi,” have all been staged. His poems and stories are online and in print, including in the Caine Prize’s anthology The Obituary Tango (2006) and in The Literary Review. He participates courtesy of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State.
Gulala NOURI (poet, fiction writer, translator; Iraq) has worked as a Kurdish-language teacher and in women’s issues and human rights. Currently, she works in Kurdistan for the High Commission of Erbil Citadel Revitalization (HCECR). Nouri has published four collections of poetry, [While the Dolphin is Sleeping] (1999), [This Crowd is Not Up To You] (2001), [Calendars of Loneliness] (2005), and [Firewood] (2009). Her translations of Vladimir Vysotsky’s poetry from the Russian into Kurdish and Arabic came out in 2011. Nouri has two books forthcoming, a translation of stories on the Halabja massacre, and her first story collection. Her participation was funded by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State.
Pandora (poet; Burma/Myanmar) is the editor of the forthcoming [Tuning: An Anthology of Myanmar Women Poets], due out this August. Her poems have been anthologized in Bones Will Crow: 15 Contemporary Burmese Poets (2012), and translations of her work have been published in international literary journals and magazines, including Asymptote, Poetry Review, and Sampsonia Way. She currently works for the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore.
Barlen PYAMOOTOO (fiction writer; Mauritius) is the founder/director of publishing houses Alma and L’Atelier d’écriture, and leads the creative writing workshop at the Institut Français de Maurice. He has published three novels, including Le tour de Babylone (2002) and Salogi’s (2008). In 2006, Pyamootoo wrote the screenplay for and directed the feature film adapted from his novel Bénarès. He participates courtesy of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State.
Milagros SOCORRO (fiction writer, nonfiction writer; Venezuela) is the author of 13 books, including the short story collections Una atmósfera de viaje [A Journey’s Atmosphere] (1990) and Actos de Salvajismo [Acts of Wildness] (1999), and the novel El abrazo del tamarindo [The Embrace of the Tamarind Tree] (2008). Her work has appeared in numerous anthologies of Latin American literature, and she has edited 12 literary collections. She teaches journalism and creative writing at the Universidad Católica Andrés Bello, is the editor of the online news portal Código Venezuela, and contributes regularly to magazines and newspapers. She participates courtesy of the U.S. Embassy in Caracas.
Bilal TANWEER (fiction writer, poet, translator; Pakistan) teaches creative writing at Lahore University of Management Sciences. His short stories, essays, and poetry have been published by Granta, Critical Muslim, Life’s Too Short Literary Review: New Writing From Pakistan, Vallum, Dawn, The Express Tribune, The News on Sunday, and The Caravan (India); his translations from the Urdu have appeared in Words Without Borders and The Annual of Urdu Studies. In 2010 he received the PEN Translation Fund Grant for Chakiwara Chronicles by Muhammad Khalid Akhtar; in 2011 he was selected as a Granta New Voice. He participates thanks to a grant from the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State.
Abdullah THABIT (poet, fiction writer; Saudi Arabia) is the author of six books, including the poetry collections [Ripping - ألهتك] (2009) and [Taboo CV – cv حرام] (2012), and the novel [The 20thTerrorist – الإرهابي20] (2006). His most recent novel, [The Face of the Sleeper - ,وجه النائم] was published earlier this year. He was named one of the Beirut39 Writers Under 39 at the 2009 Hay Festival. Currently he works at the Department of Education in Jeddah. His participation is provided courtesy of Beirut39 and the William B. Quarton Foundation.
Yaghoub YADALI (fiction writer; Iran) has directed for television and been the movie editor of Roshd magazine He is the author of the short story collection [Sketches in the Garden] (1997), the novel Adaab-e Bi-Gharari [The Rituals of Restlessness], which won the 2004 Golshiri’s Foundation Award, and of [Probability of Merriment and Mooning] (2001). The novel Donya [The World] is forthcoming, pending approval of the authorities. His short stories, articles, essays, and translations are widely published in Iran, and in Turkey.
Stephanie YE (fiction writer; Singapore) has been published in journals such as the Quarterly Literary Review Singapore, Mascara Literary Review, and Sci-Fi Short Story Magazine. Her first solo publication is a chapbook titled The Billion Shop, published by Math Paper Press in 2012. She has worked as a copyeditor, arts reporter, and book critic for The Straits Times. Ye’s participation was made possible thanks to a grant from the Singapore National Arts Council.
Mohib ZEGHAM (fiction writer, translator; Afghanistan) is a cardiologist practicing in Kabul, and the author of two short story collections, three children’s books, and the novels [The Suicide Bomber (Zanmargai ځانمرګی), 2009] and [The Order of the President (Da Olasmesher Farman د ولسمشر فرمان), 2012]. He regularly translates medical articles, children’s literature, and works of psychology into Pashto; he also directs the children’s-book publishing house Mosawer, and is the editor of the cultural magazine Sapida. He participates courtesy of the U.S. Embassy in Kabul.