Hoda Barakat was born in Beirut in 1952. She has worked in teaching and journalism and currently lives in France. She has published five novels, two plays, a book of short stories and a book of memoirs, as well as contributing to books written in French. Her work has been translated into a number of languages. She was decorated with the ‘Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres’ in 2002 and the ‘Chevalier de l'Ordre du Mérite National’ in 2008. Her novels include: The Stone of Laughter (1990), Disciples of Passion (1993), The Tiller of Waters (2000) which won the Naguib Mahfouz Medal in that year, and My Master and my Lover (2004).