Born near Bethlehem, Palestinian poet, novelist, and editor Ghassan Zaqtan has lived in Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, and Tunisia. A poet who writes primarily in Arabic, Zaqtan is the author of numerous collections of poetry, including Early Morning (1980), Ordering Descriptions: Selected Poems (1998), and Like a Straw Bird It Follows Me (2012, translated by Fady Joudah); the novel Describing the Past (1995); and the play The Narrow Sea, which was honored at the 1994 Cairo Festival.
A supporter of the Palestinian resistance movement, Zaqtan has edited the Palestine Liberation Organization’s literary magazine, Bayader, as well as the poetry journal Al-Soua’ra and the literary page of the Ramallah newspaper Al-Ayyam. Founding director of the House of Poetry in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Zaqtan has also served as director general of the Palestinian Ministry of Culture’s Literature and Publishing Department. He lives in Ramallah.