Najwan Darwish (b. 1978) is one of the foremost contemporary Arab poets. Since the publication of his first collection in 2000, his poetry has been hailed across the Arab world and beyond as a singular expression of the Palestinian struggle. He has published eight books in Arabic, and his work has been translated into more than twenty languages. NYRB Poets published Darwish’s Nothing More to Lose, translated by Kareem James Abu-Zeid, in 2014, which was picked as one of the best books of the year by NPR and nominated for several awards. Darwish lives between Haifa and his birthplace, Jerusalem.
Kareem James Abu-Zeid, PhD, is an award-winning translator of poets and novelists from across the Arab world. His most recent book-length translations include Najwan Darwish’s Exhausted on the Cross (NYRB Poets) and Adonis’s Songs of Mihyar the Damascene (New Directions and Penguin Classics). His work has earned him an NEA translation grant, PEN Center USA’s Translation Award, Poetry magazine's translation prize, residencies from the Lannan Foundation and the Banff Centre, and a Fulbright fellowship, among other honors. He is the author of the book The Poetics of Adonis and Yves Bonnefoy: Poetry as Spiritual Practice (Lockwood Press). Kareem also translates from French and German, and works as a freelance editor. He is an avid meditator, and until recently spent a couple months each year on meditation retreats. After leading a nomadic life across four continents, he currently makes his home in the countryside outside of Santa Fe, New Mexico. The online hub for his work is www.kareemjamesabuzeid.com.
Nathalie Handal was raised in Latin America, France, and the Middle East, and educated in Asia, the United States, and the United Kingdom. Poet, playwright, nonfiction and literary travel writer, her recent books include the flash collection The Republics, lauded as “one of the most inventive books by one of today’s most diverse writers” and winner of the Virginia Faulkner Award for Excellence in Writing and the Arab American Book Award; the bilingual collection La estrella invisible/The Invisible Star; the critically acclaimed Poet in Andalucía; and Love and Strange Horses, winner of the Gold Medal Independent Publisher Book Award, which the New York Times said is “a book that trembles with belonging (and longing).” Her work has appeared in Vanity Fair, Guernica Magazine, the Guardian, the New York Times, the Nation, the Irish Times, the Virginia Quarterly Review, and on PBS and NPR, among others. Handal is a Lannan Foundation Fellow, Pen International Croatia Fellow, Centro Andaluz de las Letras Fellow, Fondazione di Venezia Fellow, winner of the Alejo Zuloaga Order in Literature, and Honored Finalist for the Gift of Freedom Award, among other honors. She is a professor at Columbia University and a visiting writer at the American University of Rome. Her most recent collection, Life in a Country Album, was published in October 2019.
Photo: The author in Brooklyn.