There are some wonderful, amazing writers who have twitter accounts (Libyan-American poet and translator Khaled Mattawa, Egyptian children’s book author Walid Taher, award-winning novelist Miral al-Tahawy), but don’t use them. I don’t list those authors below.
Also, there are authors who — quite reasonably — mostly use their Twitter feeds to promote their work. Fair enough. I don’t list them, either.
I have tried to focus not on important authors who’ve registered a Twitter handle, but on those who make interesting use of the medium. In no particular order…
Hisham Matar (Mostly English) @hishamjmatar
Matar (1970) was raised in New York City, Tripoli, and Cairo; his first novel, In the Contry of Men, was shortlisted for the 2006 Man Booker. His second novel, The Anatomy of a Disappearance, appeared in 2011. (Both will be out soon in Arabic.) Tweets regularly, but not daily. About literature, observations, his own appearances.
Ghazi Gheblawi (English & Arabic) @Gheblawi
Gheblawi is a poet, short-story writer, translator, and “obssesive Libyan.” You can find his work in Banipal and on his blog, Imtidad. Tweets daily about all sorts of things: literature, translation, science, Libya, trousers.
Susan Abulhawa (English) @sjabulhawa
Abulhawa’s first novel, Mornings in Jenin, was (re-)released by Bloomsbury in 2010 in English. An Arabic translation was just published by Bloomsbury-Qatar. Tweets regularly about Palestine and literature.
Mourid Barghouti (Arabic & English) @MouridBarghouti
Barghouti is an award-winning poet and memoirist (I Saw Ramallah and I Was Born There, I Was Born Here). He tweets daily — gently and generously — about poetry, Palestine, and other things.
Tamim al-Barghouti (Arabic) @TamimBarghouti
Poet and political scientist al-Barghouti (son of Mourid and Radwa Ashour) tweets regularly, generally about politics.
Mischa Hiller (English) @mischahi
The author of Sabra Zoo, Hiller tweets about writing, politics, and Jonathan Franzen.
Remi Kanazi (English) @remroum
As Omar notes below, Kanazi tweets about his own work and Palestine, and his Twitter feed is something of a poetic performance.
Palestinian Literary Festivals & Book Groups
Palestine Festival of Literature (Mostly English) @PalFest
Palestine’s premeire literary festival. This year in Gaza. Tweets more as the festival (held in May) approaches.
Palestine Writing Workshop (Mostly English) @PalWorkshop
Tweets regularly about the activities of its members and authors.
Radwa Ashour (Arabic) @radwa46
Novelist Radwa Ashour (Specters, Granada, Farag, Tantoureya) doesn’t tweet nearly as much as her husband and son, but she does come on now and again to share a chant or political RT.
Alaa al-Aswany (Arabic) @alaaaswany
Author of The Yacoubian Building and Do We Deserve Democracy, among other titles, al-Aswany tweets about Egypt, his weekly cultural salon, and his upcoming events.
Ezzedine Choukri Fishere (Arabic & English) @EzzedineCF
Fishere’s Embrace at Brooklyn Bridge is shortlisted for this year’s International Prize for Arabic Fiction. It’s his fifth novel. He tweets regularly, generally about politics although occasionally on lighter topics. His website is http://www.ezzedinechoukri.com/
Khaled al-Berry (Arabic) @khaldalberry
Shortlisted for the International Prize for Arabic Fiction in 2011 for his Oriental Dance, also author of the memoir Life is More Beautiful Than Paradise, trans. Humphrey Davies. Also a columnist for Tahrir. Tweets regularly about politics and social commentary.
Youssef Rakha (Arabic & English) @yrakha
Novelist, poet, and journalist Youssef Rakha tweets about whatever he feels like tweeting about. Usually in Arabic, although occasionally you get something like “Neither merciful nor interesting.” (In response to what? I don’t know.) He also blogs at http://yrakha.wordpress.com
Yahia Lababidi (English) @YahiaLababidi
Lababidi is a poet, essayist, and aphorist. His most recent book is Fever Dreams, and — as he’s an aphorist — he often tweets aphorisms.
Belal Fadl (Arabic) @belalfadl
A satiric novelist and journalist, Fadl tweets mostly about Egypt.
Rehab Bassem (English & Arabic) @hadouta
Blogger, novelist, and publisher Rehab Bassem tweets about all sorts of delightful things: books she’s reading, movies, publishing, Egypt, motherhood, and more. Tweets daily.
Ibrahim Farghali (Arabic & English) @IbrahimFarghali
Farghli is author of The Smiles of Saints and Sons of Gabalawi. Politics, observations about writing, and chatter. He also blogs at http://www.ifarghali.blogspot.com/
Diwan (@DiwanBookstores), Alef (@alefbookstore), Al Kotob Khan (@Kotobkhan), Al Balsam (@AlBalsam) and Shorouk (@ShoroukBStores) all tweet regularly in Arabic and English about events, promotions, contests, and more.
Nariman Youssef (Arabic & English) @nariology
Translator Nariman Youssef (trans. An American Granddaughter) tweets about politics, fiction, and scholarship.
Amira Nowaira (Arabic & English) @amiranowaira
Nowaira is also an author, but if I put her here (as the translator of Ali Badr’s The Tobacco Keeper, among other things, she doesn’t count against my total. Tweets about Egypt, mostly.
Sinan Antoon (English & Arabic) @sinanantoon
Novelist (I’jaam and The Pomegranate Alone), poet, and translator Sinan Antoon tweets about Iraq, poetry, translation issues, literary history, and more.
Ma’n Abu Taleb (English & Arabic) @ManAbuTaleb
Short-story author Abu Taleb tweets about literature, politics, and his weird dreams that involve Bibi Netanyahu.
Taghreed Najjar (Arabic & English) @TaghreedNajjar
Najjar, a publisher and children’s-book author, tweets about the world of children and children’s literature.
Jordanian Book Groups
Inkitab (Arabic) @Inkitab
Samar Yazbek (Arabic, occasionally English) @SamarYazbek
Yazbek’s memoir, In the Crosshairs, is coming out in English from Haus Publishing in July. Her novel, Cinnamon, should be released by Haus in November. Tweets mostly about Syria.
Abdelkader Benali (Dutch) @abdelkabenali
Novelist, Beirut39. These are probably interesting. He uses exclamation points.
Laila Lalami (English) @lailalalami
Novelist and short-story writer, author of The Secret Son.
Noura Al Noman (Arabic & English) @NouraNoman
Al Noman’s sci-fi YA novel is coming soon. Meantime, you can read her tweets about humor, children’s literature, and cheetah robots.
Qais Sedki (English & Arabic) @qsedki
Sedki, the SZBA-winning author of Gold Ring, an MG graphic novel drawn in manga style, tweets about children’s books, his own kids, and literary events in the UAE. He’s also quite a good public speaker.
Fatima Noon (Arabic & English) @fatimanoon
Emirati Book Fairs and Festivals
Abu Dhabi International Book Fair (English & Arabic) @ADIBF
Sharjah International Book Fair (English & Arabic) @ShjIntlBookFair
Emirates LitFest (English) @EmiratesLitFest
Saadia Mufarreh (Arabic) @saadiahmufarreh
Randa Jarrar (English) @randajarrar
Jarrar, author of A Map from Home, tweets about being an Arab-American author, politics, literary craft, and Jonathan Franzen.
Diana Abu Jaber (English) @dabujaber
Award-winning novelist Abu Jaber (Birds of Paradise, Arabian Jazz) tweets amusingly about food, spouses, eating food with spouses, and other things.
Mohja Kahf (English) @ProfKahf
Poet Mohja Kahf tweets mostly about Syria.