Born in Beirut in 1948, Elias Khoury is the author of eleven novels, four volumes of literary criticism, and three plays. The publication of his first novel, On the Relations of the Circle, (1975) entered him into the Beirut vanguard of modern Arabic literature, which was seeking to create new dimensions in the movement of modernism. Khoury's commitment to Palestinian human rights began when he visited a refugee camp in Jordan at age nineteen. Khoury has been an advocate ever since, devoting his energies to the Palestine Research Center in Beirut and speaking out in articles, essays, and through his fiction. Khoury is currently the editor in chief of the cultural supplement of Beirut's daily newspaper, An-Nahar, and is a Global Distinguished professor of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies at New York University. In 1998, he was awarded the Palestine Prize for Gate of the Sun, and in 2000, the novel was named Le Monde Diplomatique's Book of the Year. Elias Khoury is a public intellectual, and a cultural activist who plays a major role in contemporary Arabic culture and in the defense of the liberty of expression and democracy.