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Khaled Mattawa was born in Benghazi, Libya in 1964 and emigrated to the USA in his teens in 1979. He is the author of six books of poetry, Fugitive Atlas (Graywolf, 2020), Mare Nostrum (Quarternote Chapbook), Tocqueville (New Issues Press, 2010), Amorisco (Ausable Press, 2008), Zodiac of Echoes (2003), and Ismailia Eclipse (Sheep Meadow Press,1996) and two books of criticism.
In September 2014 he was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship, one of 21 "genius grants" awarded to outstanding figures by the MacArthur Foundation. He is "a cultural ambassador and poet-translator of Arabic poetry giving voice to a vast literature largely unknown in the Western hemisphere. In masterful translations that evoke the rhythm and cadence of Arabic, he renders the beauty and meaning of the poems accessible to an English reader", announced the Foundation. For all links to the MacArthur Fellowship, click here to go to our news item.
Mattawa has translated eleven volumes of contemporary Arabic poetry, including Concerto al-Quds by Adonis, A Map of Signs and Scents by Amjad Nasser (with Fady Joudah), Adonis: Selected Poems (2010), which won the 2011 Saif Ghobash-Banipal Prize for Arabic Literary Translation and was shortlisted for the 2011 International Griffin Prize for Poetry; Shepherd of Solitude by Amjad Nasser (2009); These Are Not Oranges, My Love by Iman Mersal (2008); A Red Cherry on A White-Tiled Floor by Maram Al-Massri (2004, 2007); Miracle Maker (2003) and In Every Well A Joseph Is Weeping (1997) by Fadhil al-Azzawil; Without An Alphabet Without A Face by Saadi Youssef (2002); Questions and Their Retinue by Hatif Janabi (1996).
Mattawa also co-edited Dinarzad’s Children: Anthology of Contemporary Arab American Fiction (2004, 2009) and Post Gibran: New Arab American Writing (1999).
He has received a Guggenheim fellowship, an NEA translation grant, the Alfred Hodder Fellowship from Princeton University, the PEN American Center Poetry Translation Prize, and three Pushcart Prizes.
He teaches creative writing in the English faculty at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and served as President of RAWI, (Radius of Arab American Authors) 2005-2010. He is a founding contributing editor of Banipal.
His translation of Adonis: Selected Poems is the winner of the 2011 Saif Ghobash-Banipal Prize for Arabic Literary Translation, awarded on 6 February in London. For all information about Khaled Mattawa's award, and the prize, click here.
Adonis: Selected Poems was shortlisted for the 2011 International Griffin Prize for Poetry. To listen to a video-clip of Khaled Mattawa reading "Celebrating Childhood" from the Selected Poems at the Griffin Prize Shortlist ceremony click here.
One of Khaled Mattawa's latest poems was aired on BBC radio The World Today in March 2011. For more, click here