Born in 1980 in Lebanon, Maya Abu-Alhayyat is a Palestinian novelist, poet and children’s book writer. She has published three collections of poetry: Home Dresses and Wars (Dar Alahlyah, 2016), This Smile, That Heart (Dar Raya, 2012), What She Said about Him (House of Poetry & Qattan Foundation, 2007); and two other novels: Grains of Sugar (House of Poetry, 2004) and Threshold of Heavy Spirit (Ogarit, 2011), as well as several children’s books including an English-language translation of her award-winning picture book, The Blue Pool of Questions (illus. Hassan Manasrah) and published in 2017 by Penny Candy Books.
In 2005 she received the Young Creative Writer Award by the Palestinian Ministry of Culture, followed in 2006 with the Young Writers Award for Poetry from the A. M. Qattan Foundation. Her writing has featured in several international journals and magazines, and has been translated into English, French, German, Swedish and Korean.
More recently, she has also turned to acting, with starring roles in Though I Know the River Is Dry (2013), Love, Theft and Other Entanglements (2015) and Bab Ela’mod: Damascus Gate (2015). Since 2013 Maya has worked as the director of the Palestinian Writing Workshop in Birzeit. She currently lives in Jerusalem with her husband and children.