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.
Jennifer Kaplan received her B.A. in Near Eastern Studies--Arabic Language and Literature from U.C. Berkeley, and is currently working on a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature at New York University. She has lived and studied in Tunis and Cairo, among other places.