Born in 1978, Mazen is a writer, poet, translator and journalist. Born in Beirut to a family of Palestinian refugees who had to flee Tal El-Zaatar in the beginning of Lebanese civil war, Maarouf holds a bachelor degree in General Chemistry from the Lebanese University (Faculty of Sciences). He worked for several years as a Chemistry and Physics teacher before drifting into the literary field in 2008. After JOKES FOR THE GUNMEN he has published a second very successful story collection called RATS THAT LICKED THE KARATE CHAMPION’S EAR and he is currently at work on a novel and another collection of interlinked stories.
He has also published three collections of poetry: “The Camera Doesn’t Capture Birds” (1st edition Ed. Al-Anwar 2004, 2nd edition Ed. Al-Kamel 2010), “Our Grief Resembles Bread” (Ed. Al-Farabi 2000), and “An Angel Suspended On a Clothesline” (Ed. Riad El-Rayyes 2012), which has been translated into several languages including French under the title “Un Ange Sur une Corde à Linge” (L’Amandier Poésie, 2013, translated by Samira Negrouche) and Icelandic under the title “Ekkert Nema Strokleður” (Dimma, 2013, translated by Aðalsteinn Ásberg, Sjón and Kári Tulinius). A selection of his poems was translated into several languages including German, Spanish, Swedish, Chinese, Maltese, Urdo and Malay. His poetry is currently being translated into English by Kareem James Abu-Zeid and Nathalie Handal. In 2014 he won the Literaturlana Poetry Prize.
Maarouf has read in festivals, universities, museums and cultural centers in Europe, United States, China and the Middle East. He has written for various Arabic magazines and newspapers including Al-Hayat (Beirut, London) An-Nahar, Assafir, Al-Mustaqbal, Kalimat Cultural Supplement (Beirut), Al-Arabi Al-Jadeed (London), Al-Ayyam (West Bank), Al-Quds-el-Arabi (London), Kika (London), Jasad Magazine (Beirut) and Qantara (Paris). He has translated into Arabic a selection of short stories by international writers, as well as number of Icelandic poets and the following novels: “The Blue Fox“ (Sjón), “Hands of my Father“ (Myron Uhlberg), “The Story of the Blue Planet“ (Andri Snær Magnason), “Dwarfstone“ (Aðalsteinn Ásberg), “Flowers on the Roof“ (Ingibjörg Sigurðardóttir) and “Fido” (Brian Pilkington). His story BOXES was included in Beirut Noir published by Akashic Books USA. He currently lives between Reykjavik and Beirut.