The U.S. National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) announced on January 12, 2022 that Dr. Alana Marie Levinson LaBrosse will receive a Literature Translation Fellowship to translate Kurdish feminist poet Hero Kurda’s I Write Yousif into English. Dr. LaBrosse is an Assistant Professor in the English and Translation Department at American University of Iraq, Sulaimani (AUIS), currently on leave, and the founder of the AUIS Kashkul Center for Culture and the Arts.
Dr. LaBrosse is one of 24 Literature Translation Fellows selected by the NEA for 2022. In total, the Endowment will award $325,000 in grants to support the translation of works written in 16 different languages into English.
“I'm hopeful this will be another point of arrival for Kurdish literature in the global context,” Dr. LaBrosse said, adding that this is the first NEA award for translation from Kurdish. “The world of Kurdish literature has much to contribute to the global conversation.”
I Write Yousif, Kurda’s second book, was published in 2013 and received widely among young audiences in Iraq’s Kurdistan region. Her work discusses a range of feminist topics, inviting readers to a different reality than the one they face each day.
“The NEA Literature Translation Fellowships provide crucial support, affording translators the time and means and encouragement to focus on their projects,” said the NEA’s Director of Literary Arts, Amy Stolls. “In turn, these fellows will enrich our culture by bringing writers from around the world to English-speaking readers through the translators’ skill and creativity.”
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American University of Iraq, Sulaimani (AUIS) is the first non-governmental, not-for-profit, American-style university in Iraq. Founded in 2007 and operated for the public benefit, it is also the first non-governmental university in the Iraqi Kurdistan Region to be accredited by both the federal Government of Iraq and the Kurdistan Regional Government. The only certified member in Iraq of the Association of American International Colleges and Universities (AAICU), the University welcomes students from diverse communities throughout Iraq and the Kurdistan Region. For more information, visit http://auis.edu.krd/.
The Kashkul Center for Culture and the Arts at AUIS, headed by Center Director Dr. Andrew Slater, is a place where students join local and international artists and scholars to study, create, and preserve culture in both the Kurdish region and greater Iraq. Through its Artist-in-Residence program, Meet-the-Artist event series featuring local artists and cultural figures, and robust internship program, Kashkul serves AUIS students, artists, and the broader community by celebrating the rich world of arts and culture.
The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). Since 1981, the NEA has awarded 550 fellowships to 487 literary translators, with translations representing 78 languages and 88 countries. Visit arts.gov to browse bios and artist statements from all of the 2022 recipients and past Literature Translation Fellows.