Wolf Biermann (Germany)
The German-German poet and songwriter and former East German dissident Wolf Biermann was born in 1936. His father, a Jewish member of the German Resistance, was imprisoned by the Nazi regime and murdered in 1943.Biermann studied Economics, Philosophy and Mathematics in East- Berlin.He became a stage direction pupil at Bertolt Brecht's “Berliner Ensemble” and started to channel his political activism in theatre, music, and poetry.In 1965, a complete ban was imposed on all his works. Biermann was personally forbidden to travel, perform, and publish and was put under constant surveillance by the secret service. He turned into one of the most outspoken critics of the GDR party dictatorship. He published his works in West Germany, smuggled through the Berlin Wall.After a ban of 11 years, Biermann was expatriated in 1976, which provoked a wider protest.In 2016, Biermann published his autobiography, Don't wait for better times!, he still gives concerts and readings across Germany and abroad.
Christopher Merrill (U.S.A)
Christopher Merrill is an American poet, essayist, journalist, and translator. He has published 6 collections of poetry, including Watch Fire (1995), for which he received the Peter I.B. Lavan Younger Poets Award from the Academy of American Poets; many edited volumes and translations; and 6 books of nonfiction, among them, Only the Nails Remain: Scenes from the Balkan Wars, Things of the Hidden God: Journey to the Holy Mountain,The Tree of the Doves: Ceremony, Expedition, War, and Self-Portrait with Dogwood.His writings have been translated into nearly 40 languages; his journalism appears widely; his honors include a Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres from the French government and a Guggenheim Fellowship. As director of the“International Writing Program at the University of Iowa,” Merrill has conducted cultural diplomacy missions to more than 50 countries. He served on the U.S. National Commission for UNESCO, and in April 2012 President Barack Obama appointed him to the National Council on the Humanities.
Huai Yuan (Hong Kong)
Joedy Kwan, known as Huai Yuan, was born in 1950’s in Hong Kong. He graduated from Shu Yan College (now Shu Yan University) with a degree in journalism. He has worked for various printed and electronic media as a reporter and an editor. He was an instructor of journalism at the Chinese University of Hong Kong from 2007 to 2016. Huai Yuan has been a poet since teenage years – he was the youngest member of Poetry Workshop, a modern Chinese poetry study group when he was still in school. Published collections of poems include Flea(1988, not for sale; 2015, reprint). Huai Yuan is also a prolific essay writer. Published collections of essays include Parrot Swing, Lazy Bones on the Run, Candy in Las Vegas, Bandit Armed with a Water Pistol, Gate Crashing Batwoman, and Lone Ranger without a Hat.
Aušra Kaziliūnaitė (Lithuania)
Aušra Kaziliūnaitė(poet, performance artist; Lithuania)is an author of 4 books of poetry. Her selected poems, The Moon is a Pill(Parthian Books, 2018) was published in English. The book was listed among the 5 best works of Baltic literature recently translated into English by literature expert Jayde Will. Hertexts have been translated into many other languages as well. Kaziliūnaitė has received numerous Lithuanian national awards including the Young Artist Prize from the Ministry of Culture.In 2018 she was invited to the prestigious “International Writing Program” residency in Iowa City, Iowa,USA, and awarded the title of Honorary Fellow in Writing by the University of Iowa.She participated courtesy of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State. Kaziliūnaitė is the main curator and program coordinator of the “Books’ Weekend” (literature festival and book fair in Vilnius, Lithuania). She is currently a doctoral student of Philosophy at Vilnius Universityandlives in Vilnius, Lithuania.
Quek See-Ling (Singapore / Malaysia)
Quek See-Ling has self-published 5 collections of Chinese poetry in Singapore – Walking Me on Me(2014), Bulletproof, Yet How Could We Embrace(2015), When Your Muse Is Stuck in Traffic(2016), Gaining While Losing(2017), and Meat Up with You(2019). She holds both BA and MA in Chinese from Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. She has been a university tutor, academic editor, and an invited instructor of creative writing in secondary school. She has obtained the Certificate in Chinese Painting with Grade A (Distinction) of Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts and self-published her first collection of paintings, Untamed Heart: Chinese Paintings by Quek See-Ling in 2018.