popularising the literature of ancient Iraq through the art of oral storytelling



The literature of Mesopotamia has lain dormant on clay tablets for more than 2000 years. Breathing new life into this literature through the art of oral storytelling is the ZIPANG mission.

New book

The Enheduanna Society’s latest publication is Three Kings of Warka, by Fran Hazelton. It’s a retelling of three myths from ancient Mesopotamia—the stories of Enmerkar, Lugalbanda and Gilgamesh.

Click here to find out more about this book


Reviews for Three Kings of Warka

While remaining faithful to the original texts, immersed in the ancient culture over many years, [Fran Hazelton] has produced a telling of real literary merit. This book is a remarkable achievement that allows a wide readership to enjoy three of the best tales of ancient Mesopotamia. Dr Stephanie Dalley, Oriental Institute, University of Oxford

Superbly retold, these tales of wizards and wise-women, mountains and deserts, feasts and fighting, carry us back through thousands of years to Mesopotamia, cradle of myth—a unique experience, funny, powerful, and a triumph of story-telling. Jenny Uglow

A book by a master storyteller weaving her magic on three major pieces of Mesopotamian literature, bringing them to life— compelling reading and a must especially for Iraqis thirsting after the ancient history of their land. Muzahim al-Jalili

It is so important to have these tales told as they ought to be, and not in a dry academic way. It is a hugely important contribution to people’s appreciation of what ancient Mesopotamian culture and arts were. Professor Zainab Bahrani, Columbia University, USA

Mission Statement

The ZIPANG vision inspires the ZIPANG mission. ‘ZIPANG’ is the Sumerian word for ‘breath’.

The ZIPANG mission is undertaken by the Enheduanna Society, an education charity founded in 2002. To fulfil this mission, the Enheduanna Society—

• provides ZIPANG storytellers booked for public and private events organised by others

• publishes retold stories from ancient Iraq

• passes on Mesopotamian stories and storytelling skills to a new generation of ZIPANG storytellers

• promotes and organises ZIPANG storytelling activities for all ages and abilities

• brings together Iraqi and non-Iraqi scholars, storytellers, musicians and enthusiasts to develop their shared appreciation of Mesopotamian literature, and spread this appreciation to as many people as possible.

The ZIPANG storytellers depend for their performance material on the work of academic translators and teachers.

Visit the Enheduanna Society’s Online Art Gallery to view exhibitions of contemporary art inspired by ancient Mesopotamian art and mythology.

Click here to find out how you can support the work of the Enheduanna Society.

The Enheduanna Society has received generous support for ZIPANG events
and projects from several organisations.