2018 National Book Award Longlist, Translated Literature

Dunya Mikhail

The Beekeeper, by Dunya Mikhail. Translated by Max Weiss and Dunya Mikhail
The Beekeeper: Rescuing the Stolen Women of Iraq
by Dunya Mikhail
Translated by Max Weiss and Dunya Mikhail
(New Directions Publishing)
ISBN: 9780811226127

ABOUT THE BOOK (from the publisher)

Since 2014, Daesh (ISIS) has been brutalizing the Yazidi people of northern Iraq: sowing destruction, killing those who won’t convert to Islam, and enslaving young girls and women.

The Beekeeper, by the acclaimed poet and journalist Dunya Mikhail, tells the harrowing stories of several women who managed to escape the clutches of Daesh. Mikhail extensively interviews these women—who’ve lost their families and loved ones, who’ve been sexually abused, psychologically tortured, and forced to manufacture chemical weapons—and as their tales unfold, an unlikely hero emerges: a beekeeper, who uses his knowledge of the local terrain, along with a wide network of transporters, helpers, and former cigarette smugglers, to bring these women, one by one, through the war-torn landscapes of Iraq, Syria, and Turkey, back into safety.

In the face of inhuman suffering, this powerful work of nonfiction offers a counterpoint to Daesh’s genocidal extremism: hope, as ordinary people risk their own lives to save those of others. 

About the Author

Dunya Mikhail was born in Iraq in 1965, and worked as a journalist for the Baghdad Observer. Facing increasing threats from the Iraqi authorities, she fled first to Jordan, then to the United States. In 2001, she was awarded the UN Human Rights Award for Freedom of Writing. New Directions also published Mikhail’s Diary of A Wave Outside the Sea (2009), which won the 2010 Arab American Book Award for poetry. She currently lives in Michigan and works as an Arabic instructor for Michigan State University.


- WEBSITE: dunyamikhailpoet.com

- TWITTER: @dunyamikhail


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