Ghada AL-ABSY غادة العبسي (fiction writer; Egypt), a physician, is the author of several novels and short story volumes, among them حشيشة الملاك [Angelica] and الفيشاوي [Al-Fishawi]. The collection أولاد الحور [The Sons of Nymphs] won the 2014 Organization of Cultural Palaces competition; بيت اللو [“House of Almond”] won the 2016 Short Story Egyptian Club competition. Her novel الإسكافي الأخضر [The Green Cobbler] was a runner-up for the 2016 Akhbar Al-Adab Prize. From 1999 to 2003 she was a soloist at the Cairo Opera House. She participates courtesy of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State.
Fatena ALGHORRA (poet, journalist; Belgium) has four books of poetry: two were translated, one winning a prize for best Arabic translation into Italian. A fifth volume will appear in Arabic and in Dutch. Her work appears in the anthology Fifty Years of Palestinian Poets. In 2012 she won the El Hizjra prize for Dutch language writers of diverse background. After a career in broadcasting in Gaza, she is now a freelance journalist for Al Jazeera, a lecturer, a performer, and the organizer of poetry events in Belgium and the Netherlands. She participates courtesy of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State.
Ubah Cristina ALI FARAH (fiction writer, poet, playwright, translator; Italy) is a Somali-Italian novelist, performer, teacher and social activist. Her two novels, Madre piccola [Little Mother, Indiana UP 2011] and Il Comandante del fiume [The Commander of the River] tell stories of the Somali civil war and its refugees in Italy. In 2006, she was awarded the Lingua Madre National Literary Prize, and in 2008, the Vittorini Prize. She has a PhD in African Studies from the University of Naples; currently she lives in Brussels. She participates courtesy of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State.
Ramsha ASHRAF (poet, playwright; Pakistan) has a collection of poetry, Enmeshed (2015), publishes poems on her blog Escritura 415 and elsewhere, and contributes to literary magazines. At the Foundation University’s Rawalpindi campus she teaches writing courses, develops arts curricula and produces visual media. She participates courtesy of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State.
Hajar BALI (playwright, fiction writer, poet; Algeria) was, until 2016, a professor of mathematics at the University of Sciences and Technology in Algiers. Her collection of plays, Rêve et vol d’oiseaux [Dream and Birdflight] appeared in 2010; a collection of stories, Trop tard, in 2014. She has held writing residencies in France and Switzerland, and is now the general secretary of the L’Imago Cultural Association in Algiers. Her participation is made possible by an anonymous gift to the IWP.
Panashe CHIGUMADZI (novelist, essayist; South Africa/Zimbabwe) is the author of the novel Sweet Medicine, which won the 2016 K. Sello Duiker Literary Award. Her work has appeared in The New York Times,The Guardian, Die Zeit, and elsewhere. A founding editor of Vanguard Magazine, a platform for black women in post-apartheid South Africa, she curated, in 2016, Soweto’s Abantu Book Festival for black readers and writers. Beautiful Hair for a Landless People is her forthcoming book of essays. She participates courtesy of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State.
Audrey CHIN (fiction writer, non-fiction writer; Singapore) has a PhD in Public Policy and worked in investment banking. Her story collection Nine Cuts was shortlisted for the 2016 Singapore Literature Prize; that same year her novel As the Heart Bones Break was a finalist for the Singapore Book Awards. She is the organizer for the Singapore Ladies Asian Literary Book Group, promoting Asian literature in the community. She participates courtesy of the Singapore National Arts Council.
Kristian Sendon CORDERO (poet, fiction writer, essayist, translator, filmmaker; Philippines) writes in Filipino, Bikol and Rinconada, and has translated Borges, Kafka, Wilde and Rilke to these languages. Two of his most recent poetry collections received the 2014 National Book Awards; his debut collection of poetry in his three respective languages won the Madrigal-Gonzales Best First Book Award in 2006. He is the deputy director of the Ateneo de Naga University Press. His participation is courtesy of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State.
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.
Maung DAY (poet, artist, translator; Myanmar) has published six poetry books in Burmese and one in English. His poetry has appeared in International Poetry Review, Guernica, The Wolf, The Awl and elsewhere. He translates widely between English and Burmese; his visual work and poetry are exhibited and curated internationally. He participates courtesy of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State.
Dilman DILA (fiction writer, filmmaker; Uganda) is the author of three volumes, The Flying Man of Stone, A Killing in the Sun and Cranes Crest at Sunset, shortlisted for the 2016 Gerald Kraak Award and the 2013 Commonwealth Short Story Prize. His The Felistas Fable was the Film of the Year at the 2014 Uganda Film Festival; What Happened in Room 13 has had six million views on YouTube; he regularly produces science fiction films for his YouTube channel. He participates courtesy of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State.
Esther DISCHEREIT (poet, novelist, essayist, stage and radio dramatist; Germany) has given lectures and readings around the world. Most recently she published Blumen für Otello. Über die Verbrechen von Jena [Flowers for Othello. On the Crimes of Jena] and edited Havel, Hunde, Katzen, Tulpen, Garz erzählt [Havel, Dogs, Cats, Tulips – Garz Talking]. Her work spans multiple genres and often reflects the post-Holocaust landscape in Germany, e.g. Joëmis Tisch [Joëmis Table] and Übungen jüdisch zu sein [Exercises in Being Jewish]. In 2009 Dischereit received the Erich Fried Prize. In 2017 she was a visiting professor at the University of Virginia; she teaches at the University for Applied Arts in Vienna. Her participation is made possible by the Max Kade Foundation.
FUJINO Kaori 藤野可織 (fiction writer; Japan) writes short stories and novellas about the horror that lurks behind everyday life. In 2006 she won the Bungakukai Prize for New Writers for her story “Iyashii tori” [The Greedy Bird]. She was nominated for the Akutagawa Prize in 2009 before winning it in 2013 for her acclaimed novella Tsume to me [Nails and Eyes]. Her book O hanashi shite ko-chan [Little Miss Tell-Me-a-Story] was published by Kodansha the same year. Her most recent collection of stories is Final Girl (2016). Fujino’s participation is made possible by the Japan Foundation.
Enza GARCÍA ARREAZA (fiction writer, poet; Venezuela) is an essayist for the cultural platform Backroom Caracas and for the magazine Climax. In 2016, she was selected by the Guadalajara International Book Fair for “Ochenteros,” a program for Latin American writers born in the 1980s. Her short story collection El bosque de los abedules [The Forest of Birches] won the 2010 National University Literature Prize of Simon Bolívar University; the story volume Cállate poco a poco [Be Quiet Slowly] won the 2007 Contest for Unpublished Authors. She participates courtesy of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State.
Santiago GIRALT (playwright, screenwriter, filmmaker, fiction writer; Argentina) writes plays, screenplays, and novels, and directs films. In 2017, he was awarded the National Arts Fund Bi-Centennial Grant in Literature. His first novel, [Nelly R, the General’s Lover], was shortlisted for the 2008 Planeta International Prize; La mala memoria came out in 2015; Disparo is forthcoming. He has written and directed over a dozen films, and participated in many international film festivals. He participates courtesy of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State.
Gimba KAKANDA (fiction writer, poet, journalist; Nigeria) published a first volume of poetry, Safari Pants, in 2010; his other work has been anthologized. He is an editor at the Daily Nigerian, a daily committed to promoting transparency in governance, and maintains a weekly column in other periodicals concerned with social issues. He participates courtesy of the U.S. Embassy in Abuja.
Anne KENNEDY (fiction writer, screenwriter, poet; New Zealand) received the 2013 New Zealand Post Book Award for Poetry for The Darling North; in 2014 her novel The Last Days of the National Costume was a finalist for the New Zealand Post Book Award and was longlisted for the IMPAC-Dublin Award. In 2016 she was in residence at the Victoria University’s International Institute of Modern Letters. During her career, she has been an advocate for Maori and Pasifika voices. Her participation is made possible by Creative New Zealand.
KIM Doyoon 김도윤 (fiction writer, librettist, translator, critic; South Korea) is the author of three books and many stories, as well as of opera libretti and scripts for plays. She is also a translator and dramaturg. Among her themes are white-collar crime, ancient legends and history, and hybrid cultures. Kim’s libretto “Vandal Sara” was awarded the Arko Create award, and was recently showcased. She participates courtesy of Arts Council Korea.
LAU Stuart 劉偉成 (poet, essayist, critic; Hong Kong) forms his English name by combining the Chinese characters for “study” and “arts.” He has published five poetry collections; the most recent, 陽光棧道有多寬 [How Broad Are the Plank Roads of Sunshine] (2015), won the 13th Hong Kong Biennial Award for Chinese Literature. A publishing manager at Oxford University Press (China), Lau is completing a PhD at Hong Kong Baptist University. He participates courtesy of the Robert H.N. Ho Family Foundation.
Okky MADASARI (novelist; Indonesia) is the founder and director of the ASEAN Literary Festival. In 2012, her novel The Outcast, about an Islamic sect facing persecution by mainstream religion, received the Khatulistiwa Literary Award. The Years of the Voiceless (2010) is about struggle for justice and freedom while questioning the authority of religion; 86 (2011) addresses corruption in Indonesia; Bound (2015) tells about a life of a transgender in a religiously conservative society. She participates courtesy of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State.
Tilottama MAJUMDER তিলোত্তমা মজুমদার (fiction writer, poet; India) won the Ananda Puroshkar, given for excellence in Bengali literature, for her novel Basudhara (2003); more than ten titles have followed. Her fiction and poetry have been translated into several Indian languages, including English; she also writes for children. She works at the Ananda Publishers in Kolkata. Her participation is courtesy of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State.
Vladimir MARTINOVSKI Владимир Мартиновски (fiction writer, poet, critic, translator; Macedonia) teaches comparative poetics at Cyril and Methodius University, Skopje, and is the secretary of the Macedonian PEN Center. The author of ten poetry collections and many volumes of literary criticism and theory, he has received awards for poetry (at the International Struga Poetry Evenings) and for literary criticism. He participates courtesy of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State.
Matjaž PIKALO (poet, screenwriter, musician, multimedia artist; Slovenia) has five books of poetry and many works for children. Luža [Puddle] won the 2002 Večernica Award for Best Book for Young Readers, and was honored by the IBBY Congress in Cape Town; in 2004 the children’s book Think Good and Wise won him Italy’s Arte Senza Confine award. The Second Ivan’s Death, a documentary about Slovenia’s key writer Ivan Cankar, based on his screenplay, is in production. He plays with the band Autodafé, and on an artist soccer team. His participation is made possible by the U.S. Embassy in Ljubljana and the University of Iowa.
Yuriy SEREBRIANSKY Юрий Серебрянский (fiction writer, journalist; Kazakhstan) is the editor-in-chief of Esquire Kazakhstan, the editor of the Polish diaspora magazine Ałmatyński Kurier Polonijny, and the author of five volumes of prose and poetry. His novel [Destination. Road Pastoral] won the Russkaya Premia for best short prose in 2010; the novel [Prazhaki] won the same award in 2014. His [Kazakhstani Fairy Tales] won an award at the 2017 Silk Roads Book Fair. He participates courtesy of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State.
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.
Subraj SINGH (playwright, fiction writer, journalist, critic; Guyana) teaches at the University of Guyana and the National School of Theatre Arts and Drama, and has a weekly arts column in the Guyana Chronicle. His Rebelle and Other Stories won the 2015 Guyana Prize for Literature as the Best First Book of Fiction; his play “Masque” won the 2016 National Drama Festival Awards for Best New Guyanese Play and Best Production. He participates thanks to the William B. Quarton Fund through the Cedar Rapids Community Foundation.
Wipas SRITHONG วิภาส ศรีทอง (fiction writer; Thailand) has published three novels, many short stories, and collections of English-language and concrete poetry. His debut novel Kon Krae [The Dwarf] won the 2012 S.E.A. Write Award for Novels; his subsequent two novels were long- and short-listed for it. His stories have won the Kukrij Pramote and P.E.N (Thailand) awards. He participates courtesy of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State.
Sharlene TEO (fiction writer; Singapore) won the Deborah Rogers Writer’s Award for her debut novel Ponti, to be released in 2018 and translated into six languages. She is a PhD student in Creative and Critical Writing at the University of East Anglia, where she received the Booker Prize Foundation Scholarship and the David TK Wong Fellowship. She participates courtesy of the Singapore National Arts Council.
Antoinette TIDJANI ALOU (fiction writer, poet, translator, scholar; Niger) teaches literature and directs the Program of Performing Arts at Abdou Moumouni University in Niamey. She has been the president of the International Society for Oral Literatures of Africa, and a collaborator on the “Women Writing Africa” project. Her first work, On m’appelle Nina, retraces the exilic experiences of a woman who leaves Jamaica for France, then Niger. A short story collection, a volume of poetry and a memoir are forthcoming. She participates courtesy of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State.
Kinga TÓTH (poet, translator, illustrator, songwriter, performer; Hungary) has published six poetry books, all self-illustrated. Her visual poetry has been exhibited widely; she is the lead singer of the experimental band Tóth Kína Hegyfalu and is working on the visual/sound/poetry projects X and [Moonlight Faces], for which she received the 2017 Hazai Attila award. Ms. Tóth participates courtesy of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State.
Kirmen URIBE (novelist, poet, essayist; Spain). His first novel Bilbao-New York-Bilbao earned him Spain’s 2008 National Fiction Prize, and has been translated into fifteen languages; his poems have appeared in The New Yorker and elsewhere. Elkarrekin esnatzeko ordua [The Hour of Waking Together] was published in 2017. He participates courtesy of the Etxepare Basque Institute.
Julienne VAN LOON (novelist, essayist; Australia) is a research fellow at non/fictionLab of RMIT University in Melbourne. She won the Australian/Vogel’s Award and in 2005 was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Prize First Book Award for Road Story. Her work, including the recent novel Harmless, has strong creative and cultural connection to Asia, particularly China. Her forthcoming collection The Thinking Woman includes interviews with leading women from across the globe. Her participation is made possible by the Paul and Hualing Engle Fund.
Xavier VILLANOVA (playwright, screenwriter, stage director, actor, translator; Mexico) has had his work staged in Mexico, the US, and Venezuela; in 2011, the Lark Play Development Center in New York workshopped his Acheron: The River of Tragedy. Ocean Blues, co-written by him and based on his eponymous play, is on Netflix. In 2010 he won the National Playwright Award given by the UANL, and received a grant from the Fundación para las Letras Mexicanas. He teaches theatre history at Universidad de la Comunicación in Mexico City. He participates courtesy of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State.
YAN Chung-hsien 顏忠賢 (fiction writer, poet, essayist, art critic; Taiwan) is also a curator, designer, and director, dedicated to a cross-disciplinary approach that integrates the verbal with the visual, and the traditional with the avant-garde. His 24 publications have won him a Taiwan Gold Book novel award, a Taipei Literature Award, and an Asia Weekly Book Award. He is professor of architecture at Shih Chen University in Taipei. His participation is made possible by Taiwan’s Ministry of Culture.