Saadi Youssef was born in 1934 in Basra, Iraq. He has published thirty volumes of poetry, seven books of prose, and has rendered into Arabic major works by such writers as Walt Whitman, Constantine Cavafy, Federico García Lorca, George Orwell, Nuruddin Farah, and Wole Soyinka. He left Iraq in 1979, and after many detours, working as a journalist, publisher, and political activist, he has recently settled in London.
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.