Baghdad, July 2003 photo: Bassam Haddad
Sweden, 2007 photo: Koutaiba al-Janabi
New York, 2010 photo: Ibtisam Azem
Sinan Antoon is a poet, novelist, translator, and scholar. He was born and raised in Baghdad where he finished a B.A in English at Baghdad University in 1990. He left to the United States after the 1991 Gulf War. He was educated at Georgetown and Harvard where he obtained a doctorate in Arabic Literature in 2006.
He has published two collections of poetry in Arabic; Mawshur Muballal bil-Hurub (Cairo, 2003) and Laylun Wahidun fi Kull al-Mudun (One Night in All Cities) (Beirut/Baghdad: Dar al-Jamal, 2010). His first novel, I`jaam (2003), has been translated into English as I`jaam: An Iraqi Rhapsody (City Lights, 2006) as well as Norwegian, German, Portuguese, and Italian. His second novel, Wahdaha Shajarat al-Rumman (The Pomegranate Alone) (Beirut: al-Mu'assassa al-`Arabiyya, 2010, Dar al-Jamal, 2013), was translated by the author and published by Yale University Press in 2013 as The Corpse Washer (French version forthcoming from Actes Sud). It was long listed for the Independent International Fiction Prize in 2014, won the Best Arab American Book Award in 2014, and the 2014 Saif Ghobash Banipal Prize for Literary Translation. His third novel, Ya Maryam (Ave Maria) (Beirut: Dar al-Jamal, 2012, 2013), was shortlisted for the 2013 Arabic Booker and was published in Spanish as Fragmentos de Bagdad by Turner Libros in May 2014. His fourth novel, Fihris, was published by Dar al-Jamal in January 2016. His translation of Mahmoud Darwish’s last prose book In the Presence of Absence, was published by Archipelago Books in 2011 and won the 2012 National Translation Award given by the American Literary Translators Association (ALTA). His co-translation (with Peter Money) of a selection of Saadi Youssef's late poetry, Nostalgia, My Enemy, was published by Graywolf in November 2012.
His poems and essays (in Arabic) have appeared in as-Safir, al-Adab, al-Akhbar, Bidayat, al-Hayat, Majallat al-Dirasat al-Filastiniyya, Masharef and (in English) in The Nation, Middle East Report, Al-Ahram Weekly, Banipal, Journal of Palestine Studies, The Massachusetts Review, World Literature Today, Ploughshares, Washington Square Journal, and the New York Times. he writes a weekly column for the pan-Arab daily as-Safir.
He has published academic articles on the poetry of Mahmoud Darwish and Sargon Boulus and on the history and politics of Iraq. His book The Poetics of the Obscene: Ibn al-Hajjaj and Sukhf (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013) is the first study of the 10th century poet Ibn al-Hajjaj.
Sinan returned to his native Baghdad in 2003 to co-produce and co-direct a documentary film about Iraq under occupation entitled About Baghdad (InCounter Productions, 2004).
Sinan is a member of the Editorial Review Board of the Arab Studies Journal. He is an Associate Professor at New York University's Gallatin School and co-founder and co-editor of Jadaliyya. You can follow him on twitter: @sinanantoon