"Mariken Jongman was born in Amsterdam in 1965, and studied history in Groningen, the Netherlands. She is a singer-songwriter, and since 1997, she has also acted and sung in youth-theater productions, for which she writes the scripts. Her debut novel for children, Rits, was published in Dutch in 2005, and in English translation in 2008. "
"Petina Gappah is a Zimbabwean writer who lives in Geneva where she works as a lawyer. She has law degrees from the University of Zimbabwe, Cambridge University, and the University of Graz. Her short fiction and essays have been published in eight countries. Her first book, An Elegy for Easterly, a story collection, will be published by Faber & Faber in April 2009 in the United Kingdom and in June 2009 in the United States. It will also appear in translation in six other countries. She is currently completing her first novel."
"Colm Tóibín was born in Enniscorthy, County Wexford in southeastern Ireland in 1955. He is the author of six novels including The Blackwater Lightship and The Master, both shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, and the winner of a Los Angeles Times Book Prize. His new novel, Brooklyn, will be published in May. His nonfiction includes The Sign of the Cross and Love in a Dark Time. He writes frequently for such publications as The London Review of Books and the New York Review of Books. He was a fellow at the Center for Scholars and Writers at New York Public Library, and has taught at Stanford, Princeton, and American universities, as well as the New School in New York City. His books have been translated into 18 languages."
"Michael Ondaatje was born in Sri Lanka in 1943. He moved to England with his mother in 1954, and then to Canada in 1962. He is the author of many works of fiction, poetry, and memoir, including The English Patient, which won the Booker Prize in 1992, Running in the Family, and Coming Through Slaughter. He won the Governor General's Award for two of his poetry books, The Collected Works of Billy the Kid and There's a Trick with a Knife I'm Learning To Do. His most recent work is Divisadero, a novel. Ondaatje has won the Kiriyama Pacific Rim Book Prize, thePrix Medicis, the Giller Prize, and the Booker Prize. His memoir piece, "The Passions of Lalla," was featured in PEN America 4: Fact/Fiction and his conversation with Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie was featured in PEN America 7: World Voices. He currently resides in Toronto."
Descriptions from the Festival program.