S154. Translating Iraq

Room 102B, Washington Convention Center, Level One
Saturday, February 11, 2017
10:30 am to 11:45 am


Since before the Iraq War began in 2003, Americans have worked to understand Iraq: a country incomprehensible to many of its own citizens. The major and minute divisions and the competing desires can overwhelm even the most conscientious observer. The participating American writers of this panel have lived and worked in Iraq. Bringing home Iraq's realities, whether through poetry, fiction, documentaries, Instagram, plays. or operas, is an act of delicate artistic and cultural translation.


Alana Marie Levinson-LaBrosse is a research fellow at the American University of Iraq, Sulaimani (AUIS) where she taught for four years. Her work has appeared in the Iowa Review, Words Without Borders, and the Poetry Society of America. She is a cotranslator of Handful of Salt.

Neil Shea is a writer, teacher, and story consultant. He is a contributing writer at National Geographic magazine, and a contributing editor at the American Scholar and the Virginia Quarterly Review. He teaches nonfiction writing at Sewanee, the University of the South, and Boston University.

Heather Raffo is an award-winning playwright, librettist, and actress who has spent the last decade performing off Broadway, off West End in regional theater and in film. Her work focuses on bridging her Eastern and Western roots. Her father is Iraqi, her mother American.

Andrew Slater is currently the director of a Yazidi genocide documentation program in northern Iraq and a five-deployment combat veteran. As a short fiction author and English lecturer in northern Iraq, he wrote about the advance of ISIS in 2014. He is interested in Iraqi/Syrian voices and translation.


March 7–10, 2018
Tampa, FL

Tampa Convention Center & Marriott Tampa Waterside