Mortada Gzar is an Iraqi novelist, filmmaker, and visual artist. Born in Kuwait in 1982, he has an engineering degree from the University of Baghdad, and has been a resident at the Iowa International Writers’ Workshop. He has written, directed, and produced several films that have screened at international festivals. His animated short film Language won the Doha Film Award. He is the author of three novels: Broom of Paradise (2008), Sayyid Asghar Akbar (2013), and My Beautiful Cult (2016), and is a regular contributor to the Lebanese newspaper al-Safir al-Arabiandis.
Claire C. Jacobson is from Seattle and a graduate of the University of Iowa. A teacher and writer, she also translates from French and Arabic. She is the assistant interviews editor at Asymptote, and her work has appeared in the Translate Iowa Project’s Boundless, Bhashabandhan Literary Review, and Words Without Borders.