Najem Wali was born in al-Amara, Iraq, in 1956, and earned a degree in German literature from Baghdad University in 1978. In 1980 he left Iraq and settled in Hamburg, where he earned an M.A. in German literature in 1987. From 1987 to 1990 he lived in Madrid, where he studied Spanish and Latin-American literature. He is the author of five novels and three short-story collections, and his work has been translated into several languages. His most recent novel is Baghdad . . . Marlboro: A Novel for Bradley Manning. Wali now lives in Berlin, where he works as a freelance journalist and cultural correspondent for the largest Arab newspaper, Al-Hayat.
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.