Haroun Soussan, narrator of Outcast and a Jewish convert to Islam, is a civil engineer and historian who's just completed his life's work, The Jews and History. The book opens with him getting an award from Saddam Hussein during the time of the Iran-Iraq war. Written in the form of an autobiography, the narrative moves in and out of the present, the recent, and more distant past, providing a unique and intimate chronicle of Iraq's contemporary political history. Shimon Ballas was born in Baghdad in 1930 and immigrated to Israel in 1951.
Shimon Ballas was born in Baghdad in 1930 and emigrated to Israel in 1951. A major novelist, Ballas has published fifteen works of fiction, several important studies on contemporary Arabic literature, and numerous translations from Arabic. Although he began his career in Arabic, Ballas switched to Hebrew in the mid 1960s. Ammiel Alcalay is a poet, translator, critic, and scholar who teaches at Queens College and the CUNY Graduate Center, where he is the Deputy Chair of the PhD Program in English. His latest work is Scrapmetal (Factory School, 2006). He is also editor and translator of Keys to the Garden, and Semezdin Mehmedinovic's Sarajevo Blues, both published by City Lights. Oz Shelach, author and Journalist, was born in West Jerusalem in 1968.