Hedy Habra (born Sabbagh) is of Lebanese origin. She was born and raised in Heliopolis, Egypt and has lived in both countries. She received a B.S. in Pharmacy from the Faculté Française de Médecine et de Pharmacie of Beirut, S.J. . After spending several months in Athens, Greece and residing six years in Brussels, Belgium, she came to Kalamazoo, Michigan.
She earned an M.A. and an M.F.A. in English and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Spanish Literature, all from Western Michigan University where she currently teaches. She has also taught several years in Kalamazoo College. She received the WMU 2014 and the 2015-2016 Excellence in Teaching Award; the WMU 2013 Alumni Achievements Award, and is the recipient of WMU All-University Research & Creative Scholar Award and a Doctoral Dissertation Completion Fellowship Award.
Hedy Habra is the author of two full-fledged collections of poetry. Her latest collection, Under Brushstrokes (Press 53 2015) is inspired by visual art, and was finalist for the 2015 USA Best Book Award and was among five finalists for the 2016 International Poetry Book Award. Her first collection, Tea in Heliopolis (Press 53 2013), won the 2014 USA Best Book Award for Poetry and was among four finalists for the International Poetry Book Award.
Tea in Heliopolis won Honorable Mention in the C&R Press Open Competition Poetry Series and was finalist in the Patricia Bibby First Book Award and the White Pine Press Award. It was finalist four times in the Gival Press Poetry Contest and semi-finalist in more than fifteen poetry competitions, including twice for the Crab Orchard Review Open and twice for the Crab Orchard First Book Contest, Many Mountains Moving, White Pine Press, Violet Reed Hass Competition, Slope Press, The Washington Prize, C&R Press De Novo, Zone 3 and twice for the Brittingham and Pollak Prize.
Habra has published a collection of short stories, Flying Carpets (Interlink 2013), which won the 2013 Arab American National Book Award’s Honorable Mention for Fiction, and was finalist for the 2014 USA Best Book Award and for the Eric Hoffer Book Award in Short Fiction.
Her book of literary criticism, Mundos alternos y artísticos en Vargas Llosa (Iberoamericana Vervuert 2012), focuses upon the visual and interartistic elements in the narrative of Mario Vargas Llosa, the Peruvian 2010 Nobel recipient. This book explores the function of the visual in conjunction with the concept of “small worlds” stemming from characters’ interiority and their ability to invent, dream and construct possible worlds, which converts them into fictional authors and oftentimes virtual artists. Mundos alternos underlines the cultural context of the erotic imagination and its role in artistic creation as well as in the development of individual thinking and the articulation of power struggles
Her critical essays on Vargas Llosa and on numerous Spanish and Latin American authors have appeared in refereed journals such as Revista de Estudios Hispánicos, Alba de América, Explicación de Textos Literarios, Confluencia, Hispanic Journal, Chasqui, Hispanófila, Afro-Hispanic Review, Latin American Literary Review and Inti, among others.
Her poetry and fiction in French, Spanish and English have appeared in numerous literary magazines, including Alba de América, ArLijo, The Aurorean, The Bitter Oleander, Black Tongue Review, Blue Fifth Review, Blue Lyra Review, Change Seven, Cider Press Review, Cimarron Review, Connotation Press, Cumberland Poetry Review, Cutthroat, Danse Macabre, Diode, Drunken Boat, Dublin Literary Review, Duende, Explicación de Textos Literarios, Fifth Wednesday Journal, Gargoyle, Hofstra, Innisfree, Journal Français d’Amérique, Knot Magazine, Letras Femeninas, Levure Littéraire, Life and Legends, Linden Lane Magazine, Mizna, Mountain Gazette, Negative Capability, The New York Quarterly, Nimrod, Parting Gifts, Pirene’s Fountain, Poet Lore, Poetic Diversity, Prairie Wolf Press, Puerto del Sol, Rowayat, Rowayat Français, Silent River Review, Solstice, The Smoking Poet, Sukoon, Valparaiso Review, Verse Daily and World Literature Today.
Habra was a five-times nominee for a 2016 Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net Anthology. Her work was translated into Turkish and Arabic and won several awards, including the Nazim Hikmet Poetry Award, The Eve of St Agnes Award, Linden Lane Magazine Poetry Prize, Pirene’s Fountain, Journal Français d’Amérique Poetry Prize, and Letras Femeninas’ Victoria Urbano Award for fiction and poetry. She won Honorable Mention for the Tiferet Journal Poetry Competition, was a finalist for Nimrod’s Pablo Neruda Award and was short-listed twice for the New Millenium Award.
Her poems appear in several anthologies, such as Ars Moriendi: Writings On the Art of Dying; BARED: Les Femmes Folles; FULCRUM: An Anthology of Poetry and Aesthetics; Inclined to Speak: An Anthology of Contemporary Arab American Poetry; Come Together: Imagine Peace; Sunrise from Blue Thunder: Pirene’s Fountain Japan Anthology; First Water: The Best of Pirene’s Fountain; The Original Van Gogh Anthology, SilverBirch Press, Shake the Tree, Vol2, and Mediterranean Poetry. Her poetry in Spanish and French is featured in Poetic Voices Without Borders Vol 2 and her stories in Writing as Revision: The Family Chapter, Cup of Joe Anthology and Dinarzad’s Children: An Anthology of Contemporary Arab American Fiction Second Edition.
Hedy Habra has a passion for painting and languages. She is fluent in French, Arabic, English, Spanish and Italian. She has taken several courses in Italian, Greek and Latin from WMU and is currently studying Mandarin Chinese at WMU’s Confucius Institute, where she has been studying Chinese Ink Brush Painting and practicing Tai Chi.