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Iraqi Poet and Translator in Conversation

City of Asylum (2018)

Dunya Mikhail

Monday, July 8th
7:00 pm

Iraqi poet, memoirist, and journalist Dunya Mikhail writes in both Arabic and English. Arabic is the language she thinks and dreams in but, Dunya notes, English has made her more sensitive, more aware of her word choice. Translating between languages allows her to better understand her own words, her own thoughts.

Dunya Mikhail

“The popular phrase is ‘lost in translation’ but I think, really, things are found in translation.” —Dunya Mikhail

Dunya will read from a selection of her newest works, discuss her process of self translation, and reflect on the strange and sometimes emotional experience of external translators working on her most personal pieces.

Dunya last read for a pack City of Asylum crowd in 2015. We’re excited to welcome her back for the fourth installment of our Art of Translation series.

Dunya Mikhail was born in Baghdad. After graduation from the University of Baghdad, she worked as a journalist and translator for the Baghdad Observer. Facing censorship and interrogation, she left Iraq in 1996, first to Jordan and then to America. Mikhail’s honors include the Guggenheim Fellowship, the Knights Foundation grant, the Kresge Fellowship, and the United Nations Human Rights Award for Freedom of Writing. She is the co-founder of Michigan-community-based Mesopotamian Forum for Art and Culture. She currently works as a special lecturer of Arabic at Oakland University in Michigan.

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