Iraqi poet Dunya Mikhail’s The Beekeeper: Rescuing the Stolen Women of Iraq, co-translated by the author and Max Weiss, found itself long listed yesterday for the inaugural “Translated Literature” category of the National Book Awards:
Mikhail found herself on the 10-book shortlist alongside such luminaries as Olga Tokarczuk’s Flights, winner of this year’s Man Booker International.
When The Beekeeper was originally published in Arabic, as In the Sabaya Market, it was longlisted for the Sheikh Zayed International Book Award.
The book — part biography, part poetry, part memoir — is dedicated to Abdullah Shrem, who worked, between 2014 and 2016, with smugglers to rescue dozens of fellow Yazidis from ISIS captivity in Syria and Iraq.
The stories of these women, Mikhail said in an earlier interview, “occupied my mind even during sleep. In one of my dreams, I was kidnapped by creatures who came from another planet.”
This year’s judges are: editor Harold Augenbraum, events coordinator Karen Maeda Allman, poet-novelist-translator Sinan Antoon, translator-director Susan Bernofsky, and novelist Álvaro Enrigue.
The finalists will be announced October 10, with the winners announced November 14, at a National Book Awards ceremony.
The other nine:
- Gunnhild Øyehaug, Wait, Blink: A Perfect Picture of Inner Life
Translated by Kari Dickson
(Farrar, Straus and Giroux / Macmillan Publishers)
- Olga Tokarczuk, Flights
Translated by Jennifer Croft
(Riverhead Books / Penguin Random House)
- Tatyana Tolstaya, Aetherial Worlds
Translated by Anya Migdal
(Alfred A. Knopf / Penguin Random House)
Listen: the Bulaq episode about The Beekeeper
Review-interview: in The National