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Refugee Number 33,333

Refugee Number 33,333

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By Farhad Pirbal

Translated by Pshtiwan Babakr & David Shook

A collection of poetry from acclaimed yet underrepresented Kurdish poet Farhad Pirbal.

Publication Date: July 9, 2024

Paperback: 9781646052714

eBook: 9781646052929


Like his contemporary Abdulla Pashew, this poetry is a chronicle of exile and displacement, longing and not belonging. Poetry is in turns wistful and disoriented, reflecting his role as dissident and persecuted prisoner. "Poète maudit" of Kurdistan, Pirbal is known as well for his highly publicized antics as for his prolific literary output. Pirbal, born in 1961, "may be the greatest innovator of Kurdish literature in the twentieth century, in both poetry and prose" (Shook, Poetry Foundation).

Biographical Information

Farhad Pirbal is a Kurdish writer, philosopher, singer, poet, painter and critic. He was born in the city of Erbil in Southern Kurdistan. He studied Kurdish language and literature in the University of Salahadin in Hewlêr. In 1986, he left Kurdistan for France, where he continued his studies in the field of Kurdish literature at Sorbonne University. After going back to Southern Kurdistan, in 1994, he established the Sharafkhan Badlisi cultural center.

Pshtiwan Babakr is a filmmaker, curator, and translator who has served as the archivist for visual arts at Kashkul, the center for arts and culture at the American University of Iraq, Sulaimani, and has directed and produced several documentaries, including Red Land and Not for Sale. His translations can be found in World Literature Today, On the Seawall, Loch Raven Review, and Dispatches from the Poetry Wars.

Shook is a poet and translator. Since living in Slemani for two years, they have co-translated over a dozen Kurdish writers into English and Spanish. Today they direct Kashkul Books, a multilingual publishing project based in South Kurdistan. Their recent translations include a Spanish-language edition of Refugee Number 33,333 (Gato Negro Ediciones, co-translated by Jiyar Homer) and Conceição Lima's No Gods Live Here (Phoneme).