Turkish Reading Challenges discussion


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message 1: by Ugur, Challenge Generator (new)

Ugur (ugur_basak) | 1329 comments Mod
In this discussion folder, you can write about a book, an author or anything in English (or any other languages). And also you can use other discussion folders for English too.

message 2: by Betty (new)

Betty Asma (everydayabook) Just completed The Museum of Innocence and the companion volume The Innocence of Objects (Şeylerin Masumiyeti). The fictional love story went a long way to describe the Turkish middle-class and high society, the culture in Istanbul during the 1950-1990s, and the westernizing influence from American automobiles. The companion volume about the real Museum of Innocence in Çukurcuma (Istanbul) were photographic essays about objects and photographs the protagonist Kemal (Orhan Pamuk) collected to bring Füaun and the era to life.

message 3: by sevinç (new)

sevinç | 2 comments sevinc

message 4: by Mark (new)

Mark William | 3 comments Hello everyone,

I'm hoping to put a bit of energy into this English section of the Turkish Reading Challenge group. It seems there's been little activity here recently. Perhaps because most people in this group are native Turkish speakers. However, as it's easily searchable on Good Reads I thought it might capture a sufficient amount of attention to get the ball rolling towards some good explorations of Turkish literature.

My interest in Turkish literature has arisen as my wife's family is from Turkey. Thus, I'm hoping to improve my knowledge of Turkey, its literature, arts, culture, history etc. A side project is to hopefully learn the Turkish language. For now however, I'll have to stick to English.

My aim here would be to make this section of the group a good resource for finding English translations of Turkish literature. I may not be the best researcher but hopefully what I've found is helpful for those looking for the same thing as I am. Following on from that, it would be fantastic to have recommendations from those out there who know of English translations of Turkish literature. Perhaps even more so, just establishing a good sense of Turkish literature as a whole, translated or not. Over time it would be nice to compile a list of what isn't yet translated but should be.

So, I hope this project is appealing to those who find themselves here and motivates engagement with this project. Any efforts will be much appreciated!

Kind regards,


message 5: by Ayse (new)

Ayse Sasmazel | 4 comments Eve Temelkuran Deep Mountain is a good one to understand the divide between Turkey and Armenia

message 6: by Nagehan (new)

Nagehan Ramazanoglu | 2 comments Dear Mark,

Orhan Pamuk’s books are very informative about Istanbul and Turk culture. My favorite one is Black Book. As far as I know, English translations are also very successful.

If you can find English translations, the stories of Sait Faik Abasiyanik and Sabahattin Ali tell Anatolian life well.

Kind regards,


message 7: by Mark (new)

Mark William | 3 comments So, here are the results of my first look around for what's going on for English translations of Turkish literature. These are the groups, projects, publishers and people who are doing excellent things. The length will require a few posts so make sure you see all.

TEDA Translation and Publication Program

'TEDA is a grant program intended to foster the publication of Turkish literature as well as works about Turkish art and culture in languages other than Turkish. Run by the Republic of Turkey’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism, it is a subvention program for translation and publication, providing incentives to publishers abroad who wish to publish Turkish literature and works on Turkish art and culture in foreign languages.

The TEDA Program, which began in 2005, allows foreign readers to access Turkish literature, and as well as the opportunity to read about Turkey’s vast cultural wealth, in their own respective languages. In this way the Program increases the visibility of books by Turkish authors in the global book market.

The TEDA Program, which is run by the Ministry of Culture, provides funding for applications approved by the TEDA Advisory and Evaluation Committee, with the aim of fostering greater circulation of Turkish literature worldwide.'

The TEDA website provides a link to PDF of ‘A Millenium of Turkish Literature’ by Talat S. Halman

Cunda International Workshop for Turkish Translation

‘The Cunda International Workshop for Translators of Turkish Literature (CIWTTL) / Türk Edebiyatı Çevirmenleri Cunda Uluslararası Atölyesi (TEÇCA) was founded in 2006 by Saliha Paker, Professor of Translation Studies, to promote the translation of Turkish literature into English and other European languages.

The invitation-only workshop has been run by Boğaziçi University in collaboration with the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism from the beginning. From 2009-2012, the EU Culture Programme’s Literature Across Frontiers also supported the workshop.’

They’ve published some excellent works;

‘Aeolian Visions/Versions: Modern Classics and New Writing from Turkey’

‘A collection of over 70 literary works, including poetry, short fiction, essays, and author interviews, translated from Turkish to English. All of the works were translated during the annual Cunda Workshop for Translators of Turkish Literature.

This exceptionally rich collection reflects the crosscurrents of modern and contemporary Turkish poetry and literature, and includes many fresh, exciting, and experimental works, resulting from innovative collaborations between translators and authors, and the translators themselves. Designed for academic courses as well as individual reading, the book is the new and essential reader of translated Turkish literature.’

Plus, a poetry collection of Gülten Akın and Birgül Oğuz’s phenomenal European Prize winning ‘HAH’

Bosphorous Review of Books
Fantastic recent addition to the landscape

Interview with editors

‘Showcase’ with editors

They’ve released an anthology of their review
The Two Currents: An Anthology of the Bosphorus Review of Books


Interview with Amy Spangler – very enlightening re: English translations of Turkish works, plus what she feels should be out there, Leyla Erbil

Co-founded by the prominent translator Amy Spangler and Dilek Akdemir.

‘AnatoliaLit Agency is an Istanbul-based literary agency acting as Turkish sub-agent for foreign publishers and agencies, as well as representing some of Turkey’s finest authors in Turkey and abroad.

Established by Amy Spangler and Dilek Akdemir in 2005, AnatoliaLit proudly partnered with Andrew Nurnberg Associates International (ANAI) in 2015. As an overseas office of ANAI, AnatoliaLit has joined a highly respected team of offices spanning the globe and boasting a reputation for honesty, transparency, and tireless effort on behalf of its clients.

As sub-agents, we at AnatoliaLit do our best to ensure that foreign titles are placed with the right Turkish publishers, in deals that are to the satisfaction of all parties involved.

As primary agents, AnatoliaLit aims to introduce the works of its own authors to domestic and international audiences and to foster relations between the authors and publishers.

We at AnatoliaLit Agency welcome your inquiries and suggestions and thank you for visiting our site.’

One of their projects was helping to produce Issue 32 of the Transcript Review called ‘New Prose Fiction of Turkey’, however unfortunately it seems the link to this doesn’t work anymore. If anyone has access to a copy of this, please post. It was very good.

Millet Publishing

‘As a trailblazing publishing company, Milet has indelibly expanded the scope and look of bilingual and multicultural titles for children and adults, combining artistic innovation with linguistic excellence in books and multimedia resources that are both educational and entertaining. Milet is also a groundbreaking publisher of literature in translation, bringing into English works by international authors of children’s books and adult literary fiction. Our books have won awards and praise, and most importantly, devoted readers (who we thank, greatly). Milet is known for its thoughtful, beautiful, high quality books and for its commitment to different voices and visions.

Milet continues to innovate and educate with exciting new titles: check out our latest and our enduring, essential titles on the site!

About our name: Milet, or Miletus, is a historical site on the Aegean coast of Turkey. In ancient times, Milet was a center of knowledge – a place where people from different places and cultures met and exchanged ideas, creating new philosophies and directions. That spirit of multiculturalism, exchange and innovation is the inspiration for Milet Publishing and is reflected in the diversity of our ranges.’

They’ve put out a collection of Turkish novels

Two Green Otters - Buket Uzuner
Kind-hearted Sinners - Cezmi Ersoz
Zarife - Deniz Kavukçuoğlu
A Midlife Dream - Erendiz Atasu
As the Red Carnation Fades - Feyza Hepçilingirler
The Disenchanted - Mehmet Eroğlu
Mount Qaf - Müge İplikçi
Boundless Solitude - Selim İleri
Noontime in Yenisheir - Sevgi Soysal

And short stories from many authors

Plus! Forthcoming in December 2019, a work by Yakup Kadri Karaosmanoglu, ‘Stepmother Earth’ who seems to have never had anything translated into English.

Women writers of Turkey
Created by Dr Burcu Alkan and Dr Çimen Günay-Erkol

‘Women Writers of Turkey website is launched to contribute to the efforts of digitising humanities resources to be made available for researchers around the world. It is designed as a trilingual database that provides biographies of women writers, working in a diverse range of genres. The entries are in Turkish, English and French, though entries in French are limited in number. Whilst we are doing our best to keep the entries and their translations up to date, it is a slow-moving process with so few hands on board. We apologise for the inconvenience. Please bear with us as we work our way through the entries.

The initial WWoT database was the outcome of a research project funded by TUBITAK (2010-2012) and it serves as the Turkish representative of the EU-supported COST action: "Women Writers in History: Toward a New Understanding of European Literary Culture". The project involved a team of researchers working on the question of what constitutes a canon through an analysis of the women writers and the relationship between their lives and works.’

Dr Burcu Alkan’s academic works

Dr Çimen Günay-Erkol’s academic works

Drs Alkan and Gürney-Erkol also took submissions for a forthcoming ‘Turkish Literature as World Literature’. Hopefully this arrives soon!

‘Can the literature of a specific country, author, or genre be used to approach the elusive concept of “world literature”? Literatures as World Literature takes a novel approach to world literature by analyzing specific constellations - according to language, nation, form, or theme - of literary texts and authors in their own world-literary dimensions.

World literature is obviously so vast that any view of it cannot help but be partial; the question then becomes how to reduce the complex task of understanding and describing world literature. Most treatments of world literature so far either have been theoretical and thus abstract, or else have made broad use of exemplary texts from a variety of languages and epochs. The majority of critical work, the filling in of what has been traced, lies ahead of us. Literatures as World Literature fills in the devilish details by allowing scholars to move outward from their own areas of specialization, fostering scholarly writing that approaches more closely the polyphonic, multiperspectival nature of world literature.’

They have also both contributed to the Dictionary of Literary Biography: Turkish Novelists Since 1960, Second Series

Literary translation from Turkish into English in the United Kingdom and Ireland 1990–2010

'A report prepared by Duygu Tekgül. A part of the ‘Making Literature Travel’ series of reports on literary exchange, translation and publishing.'

message 8: by Mark (new)

Mark William | 3 comments Turkish Book Talk

‘Turkey Book Talk features interviews with authors, academics, journalists and researchers on Turkey and its region.

The podcast provides a platform for our guests' important work to reach a wider audience. The goal is to present complex subjects in an accessible and enjoyable form.’

The Modern Novel: A Blog

‘Every year, around this time, I read books only from one country. This year I have chosen Turkey. It is no secret that Turkey is currently in turmoil, with massive repression of journalists and anyone opposing President Erdoğan. The only two Turkish writers on my site at the moment – Orhan Pamuk and Ece Temelkuran – have both fallen out with the administration and have faced problems.

I am not going to give a potted history of Turkish literature, not least because I know very little about it. I have provided a few links below if you wish to know more. Like other cultures, Turkey has had its folk tradition, its national epics and its poetry and, also like other cultures, the novel is a relatively recent innovation. The first Turkish novel was said to be Sami Frashëri‘s تعشق طلعت و فطنت; (Tal’at and Fitnat In Love), first published in 1873. It does not appear to be available in English but is readily available in German as Die Liebesgeschichte von Talat und Fitnat and published by Literaturca Verlag in 2013. Frashëri was ethnically an Albanian

The author of the novel that is actually the first novel to be published in Turkish was Armenian, Vartan Pasha (Paşa). His novel Akabi Hikâyesi [Akabi’s Story] was first published in 1851. It has been reissued in Turkish and Armenian but not, as far as I can tell, in any other language.

Often under the influence of French writers, Turkish novels started to appear more frequently in the late nineteenth century. None of them made much of an impact outside Turkey till the publication in 1932 of Yakup Kadri Karaosmanoğlu‘s Yaban, which has been published in French (L’étranger) and German (Der Fremdling) but not English.

One of the problems Turkish literature faces is that their earlier literature was written in Arabic script. Latin script was not adopted till 1928, As a result much of the older Turkish literature is not available to the modern generation who cannot read the Arabic script. This issue is highlighted in one of the books I shall be reading.

Turkish prose fiction did develop from that period and there are quite a few novelists whose work has been translated into English and other European languages though with the exception of Orhan Pamuk and, perhaps, Elik Shafak, they have not made much impression in the English-speaking world. I am looking forward to discovering some of these writers about whom I know little but their name.’

Words without borders

‘Founded in 2003, Words Without Borders expands cultural understanding through the translation, publication, and promotion of the finest contemporary international literature. Our publications and programs open doors for readers of English around the world to the multiplicity of viewpoints, richness of experience, and literary perspective on world events offered by writers in other languages. We seek to connect international writers to the general public, to students and educators, and to the media and to serve as a primary online location for a global literary conversation.’

‘Turkish’ search, 43 results from many authors of fiction and poetry

Dalkey Archive
Turkish Literature Series
Mario Levi, Buket Uzuner, Ayşe Kulin, Kürşat Başar

William Armstrong

‘I’m a writer and editor, originally from the UK and currently in Istanbul, Turkey. My work has featured in the Times Literary Supplement, the New York Times, Foreign Policy, Politico, Al Monitor and others.

I write weekly book reviews for the Hürriyet Daily News and present/produce the Turkey Book Talk podcast.’

Podcast Turkey Book Talk: Fiction, non-fiction, interviews


Red Hand Books

Red Hand Books publishes the anthology ‘Turkish Poetry Today’ 2013-17
‘Ever since the magazine was imagined, created and produced by George Messo way back in 2013 (!) Turkish Poetry Today has attracted a great deal of interest. George brought his considerable skill as a poet and translator and his impressive range of contacts to bear to produce a ground-breaking insight into this less well-known but very vibrant poetic heritage. And we are proud to carry the torch into the next phase with the launch of a whole new format and style with the publication of Turkish Poetry Today 2016.’

They have published ‘Contemporary Turkish Womens’ Poetry’:
‘In recent decades Turkish women have risen to extraordinary prominence in a literary culture once dominated by men. Contemporary Turkish Women Poets is the first comprehensive survey of these startling, vibrant developments. In his landmark anthology, poet-translator George Messo gathers twenty-two of Turkey’s leading, award-winning poets, writing at the very height of their creative powers. Collectively, they represent more than half a century of innovation and change, embodying one of the most sustained and compelling re-visionings of contemporary poetry for many years.

With an introduction by the translator-scholar Saliha Paker, Contemporary Turkish Women Poets offers a uniquely challenging and irresistible encounter with some of the most dynamic poets writing today.

From Saliha Paker’s Introduction:
In Sennur Sezer’s ‘documentary narrative’ Mihrî Hatun, a Turkish Sappho the author reconstructs the life and times of Mihrî (c.1460- 1506), an Ottoman woman who achieved unusual recognition as a poet in the late fifteenth century, but who was only brought to the modern reader’s attention within the last few decades.

In ‘The Age of Beloveds: Love and the Beloved in Early-Modern Ottoman and European Culture and Society’ (2005) Walter Andrews and Mehmet Kalpaklı too discuss Mihrî, focusing on ‘the problem that the woman poet presents for both Hafezan (Persianate) and Petrarchan poetry’ – forms almost entirely dominated by men. Offering invaluable insight not only into the gender politics of poetry of the sixteenth century but also of our very ‘modern’ times, they write:

The beloved’s power is always what the early-modern (/male) poet perceives as feminine – no matter what the beloved’s actual gender. That power lies in withholding, denying, inaccessibility, veiling, spirituality, silence, modesty. The beloved acts, if at all, only in the most subtle and ambiguous gestures – the shy glance, timid coquetry. Active love is the masculine role. It is passionate, suffers publicly, speaks aloud. It reveals the beloved and creates the beloved’s image by tearing away veils of modesty with gusts of description, making the beloved present to the gaze of the world. Thus, unless the object of her passion is God and, by extension, her own (holy) virtue, the woman poet is taking a man’s part and leaving the male poet in a quandary. Either becoming a poet is the same as abandoning the (supposedly) female virtues, or presumed gender distinctions and categories no longer hold…’

Talât Sait Halman
An author who has written a number works on Turkish literature

A Millennium of Turkish Literature: A Concise History
Link to PDF from the TEDA website

A Brave New Quest: 100 Modern Turkish Poems

Popular Turkish Love Lyrics & Folk Legends

Turkish Literature and Translation Trapped Between East and West

Akashic Books
Published Istanbul Noir, part of ‘city’ noir series

Levantine Journal

‘This dossier presents three translated essays, by Leyla Erbil (1931–2013), Şavkar Altınel (1953–), and Ataol Behramoğlu (1942–), that inquire into the question of authenticity as related to tradition, individuality, and artistic creativity. The authors try to define what these concepts mean in the Turkish literary field. Prof. Sibel Erol’s essay serves as both an editorial introduction to these translations and an investigation in its own right into the question of whether there is a real Turkish literature. She engages with the heart of the debate through an analysis of the Turkish writer Erbil’s essay titled “On the Question of an Authentic and Original Turkish Literature.” Altınel’s “Yahya Kemal, T. S. Eliot, and the Force of ‘Tradition'” and Behramoğlu’s “Organic Poetry,” while not written directly in response to Erbil’s essay or the question she raises, are in conversation with each other, enriching the debate on literary tradition in general and the state of Turkish literature in particular.’

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