Amir Tag Elsir is a Sudanese writer born in the north of Sudan in 1960 who currently lives in Doha, Qatar. He has published two biographies, a poetry collection, and ten novels. He studied medicine in Egypt and Great Britain and notes on his website that he worked for many years in Sudan as a gynecologist before he moved his practice to Qatar. He began by writing poetry, but shifted to novels in 1987, and published his first novel in 1988. His most important novels are The Dowry of Cries, The Copt’s Worries, French Perfume, and Crawling Ants. His novel Sa’id al-Yaraqat [The Grub Hunter] was shortlisted for the Arab Booker Prize in 2010.
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.