Fadhil al-Azzawi was born in 1940 in Kirkuk, in northern Iraq. He studied English literature at Baghdad University, earning a B.A. degree, then earned a PhD in cultural journalism at Leipzig University in Germany. He edited a number of magazines in Iraq and abroad and founded Shi`r 69 (Poetry 69), which was banned after the fourth number. He spent three years in jail under the dictatorship of the Ba`th regime. His poetry and criticism have been published in the leading Arab literary magazines since the early sixties and his books published in many Arab countries. He has published eight volumes of poetry in Arabic and one in German, two open texts, five novels, one volume of short stories, two volumes of criticism and theoretical writings, and many literary works of translation from English and German. He left Iraq in 1977 and has lived since 1983 as a freelance writer in Berlin. His poems and works had been translated into many European and eastern languages, including English, German, French, Swedish, Spanish, Norwegian, Hungarian, Turkish, Hebrew, and Persian. Titles available in English include Miracle Maker (2003), poems translated by Khaled Mattawa, and three novels, The Last of the Angels (2007 and 2008), Cell Block Five (2008), and The Traveler and the Innkeeper (2011), all translated by William Maynard Hutchins.
William Maynard Hutchins (born 1944) was the principal translator of The Cairo Trilogy by Naguib Mahfouz. He has been awarded National Endowment for the Arts grants for literary translation for both 2005-2006 and 2011-2012, each time for a different novel by Ibrahim al-Koni. His recent translations include Hasan Nasr's Return to Dar al-Basha (Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 2006); Fadhil al-Azzawi's The Last of the Angels (Cairo & New York: The American University in Cairo Press, 2007; paperback: New York: The Free Press, New York, 2008) and Cell Block 5 (Cairo: The American University in Cairo Press, 2008; paperback: Arabia Books, London, 2008); Muhammad Khudayyir's Basrayatha (Cairo & New York: The American University in Cairo Press, 2007; paperback: London: Verso Books, 2008); Naguib Mahfouz, Cairo Modern (Cairo: American University in Cairo Press, 2008; New York: Anchor Books, 2009); Ibrahim al-Koni's The Seven Veils of Seth (London: Garnet Publishing, and Cairo: The American University in Cairo Press, 2008) and The Puppet (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2010, and Cairo: The American University in Cairo Press). His translation of The Traveler and the Innkeeper by Fadhil al-Azzawi was released in May 2011 from the American University in Cairo Press. He teaches at Appalachian State University of North Carolina.