The publishing house was founded by Amal Al Jubouri. A native of Iraq, the Iraqi poet published her first book of poetry, Wine from Wounds, at 19 years old. Against the trend of her time and place, the young woman published this collection privately and without the support of the Hussein regime—an approach continued throughout her career and one that is emblematic of the independence for which she has come to be known. Her debut excited the attention of some of the Arab world’s greatest poets and literary critics, including Adonis, Abdul-Wahab Al Bayati, and Jabra Ibrahim Jabra, and would initiate the career of a writer described by the major American poet and critic Alicia Ostriker as one who “will immediately take her place alongside Neruda and Tsvetaeva and Celan—poets of exile, yes, and poets of difficult truth.”
After her debut, she studied English literature at the University of Baghdad and published widely. Her translations of Gerard Manley Hopkins, Lord Byron, Rudyard Kipling, Emily Dickinson, W.B. Yeats, and others were placed in Arabic daily newspapers throughout the region, as well as Dialogue Magazine (Paris, France). She also became a freelance journalist, reporting for the Kuwaiti daily Al Qabas, the Saudi daily Al Haras Al Watani, and Dialogue; from 1991-1996 she wrote a biweekly column called Al Masala, for the Iraqi daily Al Jumhureya.