A New Translation

Maria Dahvana Headley

176 pages August 2020 Copies in English Literary Fiction

Represented by Stephanie Cabot

A new, feminist translation of Beowulf by the author of the much-buzzed-about novel The Mere Wife.

Nearly twenty years after Seamus Heaney’s translation of Beowulf and fifty years after the translation that continues to torment high-school students around the world, here is a radical new verse translation of the epic poem by Maria Dahvana Headley, which brings to light elements that have never before been translated into English, recontextualizing the binary narrative of monsters and heroes into a tale in which the two categories often entwine, justice is rarely served, and dragons live among us.


Represented by Stephanie Cabot.


“Brash and belligerent, lunatic and invigorating, with passages of sublime poetry punctuated by obscenities and social-media shorthand The over-all effect is as if Headley, like the warrior queen she admired as a child, were storming the dusty halls of the library, upending the crowded shelf of “Beowulf” translations to make room for something completely new.”— Ruth Franklin, The New Yorker