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Turkish Delights

October 2008

We join the publishing world in a salute to Turkey, the guest of honor at this year’s Frankfurt Book Fair and the center of our attention this month. At the crossroads of Europe and Asia, this ancient country blends Balkan, Arabic, and Persian influences in a rich and vibrant culture as sprawling and diverse as the landscape itself. Come explore these plural identities with Asli Erdogan, Seyhan Erözçelik, Müge İplikçi, Küçük Iskender, Yaşar Kemal, Birhan Keskin, Murathan Mungan, and Sevgi Soysal, and listen in to a wide-ranging conversation between Claire Messud and Buket Uzuner. A tip of the fez to Levent Yilmaz, the most charming and brilliant Turkish-French-Italian publisher in the world, for sending these Anatolian treats our way.

Story of an Island
By Yaşar Kemal
And in the desert between the two rivers the battle which had been going on for many days continued.
Translated from Turkish by Angela Roome
In Conversation
By Claire Messud
Buket Uzuner: I met Claire Messud in Istanbul in November 2007 while she was visiting the city as one of the guest writers of the Istanbul Book Fair. A week before I met her, I started to read her very…
The Prisoner
By Asli Erdogan
She woke up long before the alarm.
Translated from Turkish by Deniz Perin
An illustration of a girl in a red and white tutu standing on the back of a white horse in front...
Popular Graphic Arts, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
Tante Rosa, Would-be Horse Acrobat
By Sevgi Soysal
Rosa would no longer be falling off of horses. Instead, she would bag the manure of the circus animals and sell it to villagers.
Translated from Turkish by Amy Spangler
The Hidden Me
By Murathan Mungan
Here is the photograph. It was taken on the day my father came out of the Diyarbakır Prison.
Translated from Turkish by Ruth Christie
Coffee Grinds
By Seyhan Erözçelik
People hold hands . . . this one in front, the other by the feet, the other by and by, a tower of people toward the sky.
Translated from Turkish by Murat Nemet-Nejat
From “Harbinger”
By Müge Iplikçi
from the very beginning some people said that it was a disorder.
Translated from Turkish by Esen Köybaşi
By Birhan Keskin
Pass through me, I’ll remain, I’ll wait, pass through me, / but where you pass through me I cannot know.
Translated from Turkish by George Messo
By Birhan Keskin
The roads I walked didn’t tire me,
Translated from Turkish by George Messo
By Voltaire Oyzon
Three or four days / he hangs out in our house.
Translated from Waray by Merlie M. Alunan
The Train
By Murathan Mungan
We carry within us the greatest secret in life.
Translated from Turkish by Ruth Christie
By Küçük Iskender
left and right cigarettes lit, burnt out / each drag starts with “my love,”
Translated from Turkish by Murat Nemet-Nejat