Mona Kareem Wins 2021 NEA Award to Translate Ra’ad Abdulqadir

Poet and translator Mona Kareem has won a $12,500 NEA award to support her translation of poetry by Iraqi poet Ra’ad Abdulqadir:

Kareem, who has published three collection of Arabic poetry, has also translated in both directions. Her translation of Ashraf Fayadh’s Instructions Within (Arabic to English) was longlisted for the Best Translated Book Award, while her translation of Octavia Butler’s Kindred (English to Arabic) recently appeared from Takween Books. She was the fall 2020 translator-in-residence at Princeton University.

The grant, according to the NEA release, is:

To support the translation from the Arabic of the poetry collection Falcon with Sun Overhead by Ra’ad Abdulqadir. Considered a pioneer of the Iraqi prose poem, Abdulqadir (1953-2003) was the author of five poetry collections, two of which were published posthumously. His often-experimental work took on many forms and styles—from compact symbolism to free verse poetry—and spoke to an entire generation of young Arab poets who emerged in the 1990s. This selection will draw from Qadir’s later work which takes on a more conversational tone and will be the first full-length English translation of his work.

Kareem’s translations of Abdulqadir’s work are set to appear from Ugly Duckling Presse next month.

Read excerpts:

On the Ugly Duckling Presse website

At The Brooklyn Rail