Margaret Obank was born in Leeds, UK. She has a BA Hons in Philosophy and English Literature (Leeds) and an MA in Applied Linguistics (Birkbeck College, University of London). She was a language teacher in Bradford and lecturer in London Further Education Colleges, and spent many years in printing and publishing, starting at the Africa Publications Trust.
Margaret Obank is known for her contribution to the dissemination of contemporary Arabic literature in English translation. She is co-founder of Banipal Magazine of Modern Arab Literature (1997), and Administrator of the Banipal Trust for Arab Literature, which she set up in 2004, and which administers the annual Saif Ghobash Banipal Prize for Arabic Literary Translation (the first prize in the world for published literary translation from Arabic to English) and the Banipal-Arab British Centre Library of Modern Arab Literature.