Haji Jaber was born in Massawa, Eritrea, in 1976. He was raised in Saudi Arabia and now lives in Doha, Qatar, where he works as a journalist with Al Jazeera. By 2022 he had published five novels. His novels take place in Eritrea and in Ethiopia, as well as in Arab countries such as Saudi Arabia and Sudan. In his first novels, Jaber tackles issues related to the modern history of Eritrea, such as migration, diaspora, civil war and identity. In Black Foam, he revisits these topics with new issues, such as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the position of the Falasha in Israel. His latest work, The Abyssinian Rimbaud, is a historical novel that takes place in present-day Ethiopia, and revisits the theme of the colonial encounter between the West and “the Other”.
Though the phenomenon is not well-known, Eritreans have contributed to Arabic-language fiction for decades: the first novel in Arabic by an Eritrean author is Said Nawid’s Rihlat al-shita’: Salih (The Winter’s Journey: Salih, 1979). Since then, other Eritrean writers have published novels in Arabic: Ahmad ‘Umar Shaykh, Abu Bakr Hamid Kahhal, Abd al-Qadir Musallam, Hanan Muhamad Salih.
His Twitter account (in Arabic): twitter.com