Translating Ulysses

A Portrait of A Writer Translating James Joyce into Kurdish

Documentary filmmakers, Aylin Kuryel and Firat Yücel, introduce us to one of the most amazing literary missions ever undertaken: Translating James Joyce’s Ulysses into Kurdish a long-oppressed language in Turkey. Renowned Kurdish author and scholar of English literature, Kewa Nemir, takes refuge in Amsterdam as a writer in residence at Anne Frank’s former house where he continues his epic journey to bring Joyce’s 1904 Dubin back to the Kurdish mountains and their people. But how can Ulysses with all its complexities and infinite variety of words, messages, slang and parodies be translated into a language that is politically repressed? Over the course of five years Nemir collects countless Kurdish words and idioms to create a Kurdish equivalence to Joyce’s novel, attempting to save the collective memory of the Kurdish language and to build between his own Kurdish culture and the vast world of literature.


“In Europe, where many Kurds live in diaspora — bookworms have grown up on his translations of Emily Dickinson, Sara Teasdale and Walt Whitman.” —The Dial

“Nemir figured that if he could replicate Joyce’s linguistic feat in Kurdish, with all its grammatical and historical texture, then nobody would be able to dismiss it as an inferior language.” —The Dial



DIRECTOR(S)Fırat Yücel, Aylin Kuryel
PRODUCER(S)Aylin Kuryel
SCREENWRITER(S)Fırat Yücel, Aylin Kuryel
CASTKawa Nemir, Armağan Ekici

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YEAR: 2023
RUN TIME: 71 Minutes
LANGUAGES: kurdish