Cihan Hesen is a writer and poet born in Kobane, Rojava, in 1996. She teaches Kurdish Language and Literature at the Kobane Institute. As a critic she covers Kurdish literature for several publications in Rojava, and her short fiction has been anthologized. A collection of her poems was recently published by the Union of Rojava-Kurdistan Intellectuals.
David Shook is a poet, translator, and editor whose work has spanned a wide range of languages and regions. As founder of Phoneme, now an imprint of Deep Vellum Publishing, Shook has edited award-winning books translated from twenty-five languages, including the first ever book-length translations from Lingala and Uyghur. Shook was a 2017 National Endowment for the Arts Fellow for their translations of São Toméan poet Conceição Lima, a 2019 Lannan Resident, and the 2018–19 Artist in Residence at Kashkul, the center for arts and culture at the American University of Iraq, Sulaimani. Their most recent translations include Jorge Eduardo Eielson’s Room in Rome and Pablo d’Ors’s The Friend of the Desert. Shook's Spanish-language collection Atlas estelar is forthcoming in 2020.
Zêdan Xelef was born on Shingal Mountain in northern Iraq in 1995. Displaced from his home by the Islamic State’s attempt to exterminate the Êzîdî, he arrived with his family to the Chamishko IDP camp in late 2014. He studied translation at the University of Duhok, and his current projects include translating Whitman’s "Song of Myself" into Kurmanji and a selection of poets from Rojava into English. His poems and translations have appeared or are forthcoming on Harriet (Poetry Foundation), as well as in the Los Angeles Review of Books, World Literature Today Online, and Poetry London. He recently moved to Sulaimani to work for Kashkul, the center for art and culture at the American University of Iraq, Sulaimani.