Iman Mersal was born in 1966 in a small village in the Delta. A graduate of Mansura University, she was co-editor from 1985 to 1988 of the independent feminist magazine Bint al-Ard (Daughter of the Earth). Following her first book of poetry she switched to the avant-garde genre called qasidat al-nathr (prose poem), aligning herself with the "new generation" of poets who found the genre more suitable for describing the details of daily life. Her second book, Mamarr Muètim Yasluh li Taèallum al-Raqs (A Dark Passageway is Suitable for Learning to Dance), was selected as the best book of poetry in 1995 by polls conducted by a number of Egyptian magazines and newspapers.
Khaled Mattawa was born in 1964 in Benghazi, Libya, where he received his primary education. In 1979 he immigrated to the United States. He is the author of two books of poems, Zodiac of Echoes and Ismailia Eclipse. He has been awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship, a National Endowment for the Arts Translation Fellowship, the Alfred Hodder Fellowship from Princeton University, and two Pushcart Prizes, and he won the PEN Award for Poetry in Translation in 2003 and 2011. His poems have appeared in numerous American journals and have been translated into French and Polish. Mattawa is also the translator of five volumes of Arabic poetry, and coeditor of two anthologies of Arab-American literature. He is an assistant professor of English and teaches in the MFA in Creative Writing Program at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. In 2014 he was elected a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets.