About

A native of Iraq, Amal Al Jubouri published her first book of poetry, Wine from Wounds, at 19 years old. Against social conventions she published this collection privately and without the support of the Hussein regime—an approach continued throughout her career and one that is emblematic of the independence for which she has come to be known.

She studied English literature at the University of Baghdad and published widely. Her translations of great authors were published in Arabic daily newspapers throughout the region, as well as Dialogue Magazine (Paris, France). She also became a freelance journalist.

In 1989 she founded her publishing house Al Masar (now East West Diwan), translating international literature into Arabic and published the first Arabic anthology of contemporary English poetry, as well as translations of Samuel Beckett, Nikos Kazantzakis and others. In 1997 Al Jubouri took political asylum with her daughter in Munich, Germany where she published her third poetry collection, This Body is Yours, Do Not Fear for My Sake and won the Silver Prize in aesthetics from the Beirut Book Fair. She went on to publish more poetry collections and translations. Her exile made her a major force for literary activism between the Middle East and the West. In 2000 she organized the first Arabic-German poetry conference in Yemen, and was subsequently invited to be the Cultural Counselor for the Yemeni government, a roll she continued while living in Berlin. She also founded the only Arabic-German poetry magazine, Diwan. In 2000, the Ba’ath Party published in Babel and Al Zawraa a register of the regime’s enemies and her name was first on the list. Still, in 2001 she founded the East West Diwan Cultural Foundation for Arabic and German culture and, in 2002, organized an Arabic-German literary conference in Yemen that included the Nobel Prize winning writer Günter Grass, Mahmoud Darwish, and Adonis, among others.

In 2003 she returned to Baghdad to establish the Iraqi branch office of the East West Diwan Cultural Foundation, as well as a German language school for orphaned girls. During this time she continued to publish poetry and co-produce the documentary films. Also in 2005, Al Jubouri founded the Diwan Poetry Prize, which is awarded to the best unpublished Arabic collection in each year. In 2007 Al Jubouri founded the Iraqi PEN in Damascus. Amal Al Jubouri’s poems have been translated into ten different languages. Today she lives in Berlin, Germany, where she is at work on her memoir.