Mazen Maarouf is a Palestinian/Icelandic writer and journalist, and a strong advocate of pacifism. Maarouf was born in Beirut to a family of Palestinian refugees who had to flee Tal El-Zaatar in the beginning of Lebanese civil war. He holds a bachelor’s degree in general chemistry from the Lebanese University (Faculty of Sciences), and worked for several years as a Chemistry and Physics teacher before drifting in 2008 into journalism and the literary field.
Mazen Marouf is a strong advocate of pacificm and outspoken against war and oppressive regimes. In 2010, he started receiveing death threats after reporting on the death of a fellow journalist, and he feared for his own life. Facing threats and persecution also related to his literary production and merits, he was granted an ICORN residency and became the first ICORN writer-in-residence in the City of Reykjavik in 2011. Well arrived in his City of Refuge, Marouf got to know, and work with, fellow Icelandic writers. His poetry collection An Angel Suspended on a Clothesline was translated to Icelandic, and he started translating Sjón and a wide number of other Icelandic writers’ work to Arabic.
He has published three poetry collections and two short story collections and lives between Reykjavik and Beirut.
In 2019, Granta Books published in English his critically acclaimed collection of novels, Jokes for the Gunmen, which has since been published into several languages.
Maarouf has published a new collection of short stories, Rats that licked the karate champion’s ear, and is currently working on his first novel.
Review in the Guardian 20 January 2019: Jokes for the Gunmen by Mazen Maarouf review – strange tales from dark places
Interview in NRK.no 11 March 2019: Interview with Mazen Marouf