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Tayeb Salih (1929-2009) was born in northern Sudan and educated at the University of Khartoum. After a brief period working as a teacher, he moved to London to work with the BBC Arabic Service. Salih later worked as director general of information in Qatar in the Arabian Gulf, and then with UNESCO in Paris and the Arab Gulf States. In 2001 his Season of Migration to the North was selected by a panel of Arab writers and critics as the most important Arab novel of the twentieth century.
Laila Lalami was born and raised in Morocco. Her work has appeared in The Boston Globe, The Los Angeles Times, The Nation, The New York Times, The Washington Post and elsewhere. Her debut collection of short stories, Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits, was published in the fall of 2005, and her first novel, Secret Son, will be published in the spring of 2009. She is currently Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at the University of California Riverside.
Denys Johnson-Davies has published more than twenty-five volumes of stories, novels, plays, and poetry translated from modern Arabic literature. He lives in Cairo, Egypt.