Country: Lebanon, France

Year of Birth: 1961


Najwa Barakat was born in Beirut, Lebanon in 1961. After receiving a degree in theatre at the Fine Arts Institute in Beirut, she moved to Paris and studied cinema at Le Conservatoire Libre du Cinema Français. She has hosted cultural programs produced by Radio France Internationale (RFI), the BBC, and Al Jazeera. In 2009 she set up a writers’ workshop, based in Beirut, called Mohtaraf – workshops for fiction, play and script writing for young writers. Currently living in Qatar, she is the producer, editor, and presenter of a weekly literary program, Mulatala’at (Readings).

She is the author of seven novels as well as the Arabic translator of Albert Camus’s notebooks.

Her novel, Mister N was shortlisted to the 2023 EBRD Literature Prize and for Femina Foreign Fiction literary pPrize (Prix Femina Etranger), 2021

The language of secret was longlisted to the Femina Foreign Fiction literary Prize, 2015 and shortlisted to IPAF 2015.

The bus of honest people was the winner of The Best Literary Creation of the Year Award (Prix de la meilleure création littéraire de l’année), 2016

Luke Leafgren was awarded the Saif Ghobbash Banipal Prize, for his literary translation of Mister N into English (2024)


Mister N | Mister Noon (2019)
The language of secret | Lughat al sirr
Ya-Salâm | Ya salam (1999)
Residing at the Pot de fer street | La Locataire du Pot de fer (French, 1997)
The bus of honest people | Bas al awadem (1996)
The life and passion of Hamad Ibn Silana | Hayat wa alam Hama Ibn Silana (1995).
The transformer | Al muhawwel (1986)

In the press

“Mister N”

“It’s as though Najwa Barakat wanted to embody, in the person of her lunatic hero, all the chaos, the surfeit of suffering being experienced by her homeland and by her fellow citizens. And she does so with remarkable ingenuity” — Libération

“A poetic and intricate labyrinth of a book that subtly explores trauma, mental illness, language, and the art of writing“ — Asymptote

“An intricate and enthralling novel that skilfully explores identity, insanity, the power of words and the nature of reality. People and places are vividly rendered.“ — The National

“The turns and twists of the plot will haunt its readers who, upon reaching the end of the novel, will return to re-read it all again. It is a complex, beautiful, poetic and disturbing meditation on human existence, on family, love, war and loss, and on the power of creative writing.” — Litro magazine

“With this novel, Lebanese author Najwa Barakat leads us into a psychological puzzle . . . part Shutter Island, part Jorge Luis Borges” — Le Courrier de L’Atlas

“The human condition is a central focus for Barakat. Through her novels, she strives to build a new person, upholding his dignity and his right to express himself and to live in peace. Barakat searches for the causes of the pain and violence that is exercised upon man, and in doing so, she celebrates the lives of the misfortunate and those defeated by our inexorable reality” — Al-Araby 

“Barakat continues to use the poetic, visionary language for which she is known, even as she adapts this language remarkably to capture her complicated subject . . . It is difficult – even for those well-practised in the art of reviewing novels – to capture the beauty of her writing — Al-Quds 


Mister N (2019)
Actes Sud, Sindbad (France, 2021)
And other stories (UK, English, 2022)

The language of secret
Actes Sud, Sindbad (France, 2004).

Epoché edizione (Italy, 2007)
Actes Sud, Sindbad (France, 2012)
Interlink (English, USA, 2013)

Resident at Pot de fer street (
Epoché edizione (Italy, 2009).

The bus of honest people
Stock (France, 2002)