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Dunya Mikhail

  • About
  • Reviews
  • Awards
  • Dunya Mikhail was born in Baghdad, Iraq, and moved to the United States thirty years later in 1995. After graduating from the University of Baghdad, she worked as a journalist and translator for the Baghdad Observer. Facing censorship and interrogation, she left Iraq, first to Jordan and then to America, settling in Detroit. New Directions published her books The Beekeeper: Rescuing the Stolen Women of Iraq, The Iraqi Nights, Diary of A Wave Outside the Sea and The War Works Hard – chosen as one the New York Public Library’s Books to Remember in 2005 – as well as her edited volume, 15 Iraqi Poets. She has received a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Knights Foundation grant, a Kresge Fellowship, and the United Nations Human Rights Award for Freedom of Writing, and works as a special lecturer of Arabic at Oakland University in Michigan.
    'a collection of limpid meditations which demand that we pause as we read [...] profoundly thought-through work'

    Fiona Sampson, Guardian Poetry Review Roundup

    'In Her Feminine Sign is a wise and innovative set of poems which ask us to consider not only what it means to be living away from home, but how home can shift depending on a number of variables.'

    Anthony Anaxagorou, PBS Autumn Bulletin 

    'Here is the new Iraqi poetry: terse, unadorned, stripped and ironic...her voice is the inescapable voice of Arab poetry today.'
    Pierre Joris
    'Everything about this is celebration and welcome: context, vision, information, critical perspective...'
    Kamau Brathwaite
    'Dunya Mikhail is a woman who speaks like the disillusioned goddesses of Babylon. Blunt as well as subtle, she makes of war a distinct entity, thus turning it into a myth. To her own question: 'What does it mean to die all this death?', her poems answer that it means to reveal the only redeeming power that we have: the existence of love.'
    Etel Adnan
    Awards won by Dunya Mikhail Winner, 2019 A Poetry Book Society Autumn Wild Card Selection
    (In Her Feminine Sign)
    Short-listed, 2005  Griffin International Poetry Prize
    (The War Works Hard)
    Winner, 2004 Pen Translation Fund Award
    (The War Works Hard)
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