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Kareem named as Translator in Residence for fall 2020 semester

Mona Kareem has been named as Princeton University’s Translator in Residence for fall 2020 by the Program in Translation and Intercultural Communication (PTIC).
Thursday, August 13, 2020

Mona Kareem has been named as Princeton University’s Translator in Residence for fall 2020 by the Program in Translation and Intercultural Communication (PTIC) and the Council of the Humanities.

Kareem is a writer, literary scholar and literary translator working between Arabic and English. She is the author of three poetry collections, and most recently, the trilingual chapbook "Femme Ghosts." She has held fellowships with the Arab-American National Museum, Poetry International, BANFF Center, Norwich Center and Forum Transregionale Studien.

Kareem’s English translation of Palestininan poet, artist and cultural activist Ashraf Fayadh’s "Instructions Within" (with Mona Zaki and Jonathan Wright) was nominated for the Best Translated Book Award in 2016 and was reprinted by English PEN in 2017. “During my residency, I will be finalizing my Arabic translation of Octavia Butler's 'Kindred,' to be released by Takween Publishing end of this year, as well as my selected translation of Ra'ad Abdul Qadir's poems, to be published in Spring 2021 by Ugly Duckling Presse,” she said. Qadir is leading Iraqi prose poet.

She will also be co-teaching a 400-level undergraduate course titled “Migration, Translation, Community,” and will focus on self-translations and émigré writing practices that involve translation or multilingual writing. 

“[Mona] will be our first translator in residence who translates both into and out of her first language, thus challenging the notion that one can only translate into languages one speaks ‘natively,’ and indeed the very idea of a ‘native speaker’,” said Karen Emmerich, associate professor of comparative literature and director of PTIC. “She also brings an activist impulse to her translation work, an impulse perhaps more important now than ever. We are incredibly lucky and excited to have her with us.”

Kareem holds a Ph.D. in comparative literature from SUNY Binghamton, and has taught at SUNY Binghamton, Rutgers University, Bronx Community College and the University of Maryland.

The PTIC program resides within the Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies (PIIRS), which provides support for translation workshops, guest lectures and new courses; the translator in residence position is jointly supported by PIIRS and the Humanities Council. Dr. Kareem's appointment is made possible by matching funds from the Humanities Council.