Tarek Eltayeb was born to Sudanese parents in Cairo in 1959. He has been living in Vienna since 1984. After studying at the Institute for Economic Philosophy of Vienna’s University of Economics, he is currently teaching at three universities in Austria. He has been writing since 1985 and has so far published two novels, two collections of short stories, five collections of poems, and one play in Arabic. His books have been published in German, English, Italian, French, Spanish, Macedonian, Romanian and Serbian translations. His poems have appeared in different languages in various literary anthologies, magazines, and journals worldwide.
He has been granted numerous major fellowships, including the Elias Cannetti Fellowship of the City of Vienna in 2005, and was awarded the International Grand Prize for Poetry 2007 at the International Festival Curtea de Argeş in Romania. In 2008, he was appointed Austrian Ambassador for the European Year for Intercultural Dialogue (EJID). In the same year, he received the Decoration of Honor for Services to the Republic of Austria. He is a faculty member of the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa in Iowa City, Iowa. His last two poetry collections have been published in Beirut in 2010 (We Sold the Ground and Were Happy with the Dust) and in Cairo in 2011 (Not Sin). He has presented his work at many international literature festivals.
photo by Hans Labler
Half American and half Egyptian by blood, Kareem James Abu-Zeid is an award-winning translator of poets and novelists from across the Arab world. His most recent book-length translations include Najwan Darwish’s Nothing More to Lose (New York Review of Books), Dunya Mikhail’s The Iraqi Nights (New Directions), and Rabee Jaber’s Confessions and The Mehlis Report (New Directions). He has received residencies from the Lannan Foundation and the Banff International Center for the Arts, as well as a Fulbright research fellowship, and Poetry magazine’s 2014 translation prize, among other honors. He earned his PhD in Comparative Literature from UC Berkeley in 2016 with a dissertation on Adonis and Yves Bonnefoy entitled “Poetry as Spiritual Practice.” He holds an MA from UC Berkeley and a BA from Princeton. He also works as a freelance translator of French and German texts, as well as a freelance editor of English texts. His own interests are moving increasingly in the direction of spirituality and the nature of consciousness: he practices various forms of Buddhist meditation and spends several weeks each year on silent retreats.