Sonallah Ibrahim was born in 1937. After studying law and drama at Cairo University, he became a journalist in Cairo until his arrest and imprisonment in 1959. Upon his release in 1964, he briefly returned to journalism in Egypt before moving to Berlin and Moscow. He returned to Egypt in 1976 and since then has dedicated all his time to writing. He received the Oweiss Prize in 1993. Zaat was first published in Arabic in 1992. His latest novel, Amrikanli, was published in Arabic in 2003. Anthony Calderbank lived in Cairo for many years and has had a long interest in Arabic language and literature. He currently works in Saudi Arabia.