Born in Beirut, Hoda Barakat earned her B.A. in French language and literature from Beirut University in 1975, and in 1976 left for Paris to continue her education. She then worked in higher education, journalism, and research. She is the author of a collection of short stories and two other novels, one of which, The Stones of Laughter, was published in an English translation in 1994. She now lives in Paris. Marilyn Booth received her D.Phil. in Arabic literature and modern Middle East history from St. Antony’s College, Oxford University. She has translated numerous works of modern Arabic fiction, including The Open Door by Latifa al-Zayyat (AUC Press, 2000), and Leaves of Narcissus by Somaya Ramadan (AUC Press, 2002).