Dunya Mikhail was born in Iraq in 1965 and came to the United States in 1996. Her books include In Her Feminine Sign; The Beekeeper: Rescuing the Stolen Women of Iraq (2018), which was longlisted for the 2018 National Book Award for Literature in Translation; The Iraqi Nights (2014), Diary of A Wave Outside the Sea (2009); and The War Works Hard (2005), all published by New Directions. With them, she also edited a pamphlet of Iraqi poetry titled 15 Iraqi Poets. Her honors include the Kresge Fellowship, the Arab American Book Award, and the United Nations Human Rights Award for Freedom of Writing. The War Works Hard was shortlisted for the Griffin Poetry Prize and named one of the New York Public Library’s Twenty-Five Books to Remember from 2005. She is the co-founder of Mesopotamian Forum for Art and Culture in Michigan. She currently works as an Arabic special lecturer at Oakland University in Michigan.
Mai Der Vang is the author of Afterland (Graywolf Press, 2017), winner of the 2016 Walt Whitman Award of the Academy of American Poets, longlisted for the 2017 National Book Award in Poetry, and a finalist for the 2018 Kate Tufts Discovery Award. She was also the co-editor of the anthology How Do I Begin? A Hmong American Literary Anthology (Heyday, 2011). She has been an assistant professor in the Creative Writing MFA Program at Fresno State University since 2019.