Meral Şimşek is a Kurdish poet, novelist and editor. She is a citizen of Turkey under threat in ongoing government trials. Born in 1980 in Diyarbakır, Şimşek became known through her poems, novels and short stories. She works as an editor for magazines and publishing houses, writes lyrics and composes songs. She is a member of Kurdish PEN, of the Kurdish Literary Association (Kürt Edebiyatçılar Derneği) and of the Association of Kurdish writers of Mesopotamia (Mezopotamya Yazarlar Derneği). Şimşek has published three collections of poetry (Mülteci Düşler, Ateşe Bulut Yağdıran, İncir Karası) and one novel (Nar Lekesi). Her writing has been translated into several languages and often awarded prizes: in 2016 in Irak, she received the second prize and in 2017 the first Deniz Fırat poetry prize. In 2017, the third Yaşar Kemal poetry prize, in 2018, Diyarbakır’s best writer/poet in the Altın Toprak prizes, the first prize for her short stories in 2020 by the Federation of Alevy Unions of Germany (AABF). The Comma Press selection in England, 2020. And in 2021, the Hacı Bektaş literary prize awarded by UNESCO-AABF-KSK. In Germany again, the first prize in short stories for Dersim Gemeinde e V. Köln (The Dersim massacre). She has been prosecuted and condemned for her writing which focuses on social realities. See her page at PEN International. She tweets at @simsekmeral21.
Öykü Tekten is a poet, translator, and editor. She is also a founding member of Pinsapo, an art and publishing experience with a particular focus on work in and about translation, as well as a contributing editor and archivist with Lost & Found: The CUNY PoeticsDocument Initiative. Her work has appeared in the Academy of American Poets, Words Without Borders, Gulf Coast Magazine, SAND Journal, Jadaliyya, The Markaz Review and Gazete Duvar, among other places. She lives with her two tabby cats in Granada.