Edinburgh World Writers' Conference » Turkey http://www.edinburghworldwritersconference.org The website for the 2012-13 Edinburgh World Writers' Conference Thu, 31 Oct 2013 16:37:34 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.5.2 EWWC Highlights Film http://www.edinburghworldwritersconference.org/all-presentations/ewwc-highlights/ http://www.edinburghworldwritersconference.org/all-presentations/ewwc-highlights/#comments Thu, 12 Sep 2013 15:43:51 +0000 maceymarini http://www.edinburghworldwritersconference.org/?p=5435 EWWC Highlights Film Watch this video showcasing the highlights of the festival throughout the past year]]> Watch this video showcasing the highlights of the EWWC festival throughout the past year, and read more about the Conference on our About the Conference page. ]]> http://www.edinburghworldwritersconference.org/all-presentations/ewwc-highlights/feed/ 0 Sema Kaygusuz, Turkish novelist: It’s a time to make things new http://www.edinburghworldwritersconference.org/the-future-of-the-novel/sema-kaygusuz-its-a-time-to-make-things-new/ http://www.edinburghworldwritersconference.org/the-future-of-the-novel/sema-kaygusuz-its-a-time-to-make-things-new/#comments Wed, 14 Aug 2013 11:04:55 +0000 tanyaandrews http://www.edinburghworldwritersconference.org/?p=5265 Sema Kaygusuz, Credit: Muhsin Akgun

Sema Kaygusuz, Credit: Muhsin Akgun

Sema Kaygusuz was born in 1972 in Samsun, Turkey. Due to her father’s itinerant military career, she lived in various regions across Turkey. A wide range of folk tales, legends and stories remain her greatest sources of inspiration. She is the author of four critically acclaimed collections of short stories, three award-winning novels and a forthcoming play, ‘The Sultan and the Poet’. Her work has been translated into German, French, Swedish and Norwegian. Alongside Inci Aral, Denise Mina and Panos Karnezis, she was a keynote speaker at the Edinburgh World Writers’ Conference: Izmir in February 2013.

We spoke to Sema from her home in Istanbul, ahead of her participation in this weekend’s Edinburgh World Writers’ Conference at the Edinburgh International Book Festival. She’ll be discussing the Future of the Novel with China Miéville and Hari Kunzru this Saturday at 5pm. During the course of our conversation the noise from the demonstration outside Sema’s window interrupted us and forced a hiatus, so we begin with:

EWWC: How are things in Istanbul at the moment?

SK: Things are a little bit difficult, but exciting. The demonstrations taking place at the moment are very important; we’re trying to build a new Turkey. Every day people continue to meet together in parks all over Istanbul, working together in small groups to talk about the future of Turkey.

EWWC: You took part in the EWWC Izmir last March, delivering a fascinating keynote speech on National Literature. In your speech you said “the fiction that is ‘country’ is to me an inner trouble and an outer burden that increases day by day. I do not want to be represented by it, or to be its representative”. Have your views changed since you gave that speech?

SK: At the time I wrote that speech, I had no hope. I was a total pessimist. But after the demonstrations started my feelings changed – and I felt OK, I do have a country after all. And now I am feeling very optimistic, because in these demonstrations all the different classes of people are coming together. There is no homophobia or sexism; all rights groups are clinging together. It’s the first time I’ve seen this in Turkey. Before I always felt alone – I never felt that I had a country. I realise now that I can take a deep breath; it feels very modern, very democratic and very exciting. It’s a time to make things new.

From the West Turkey is often seen as a very exotic place, and viewed from a very clichéd Orientalist viewpoint. Of course the reality is very diverse. For example, 50% of the literature sold in Turkey is translated, and that’s across all genres. We have a very vibrant, diverse literary culture. But when I go outside of Turkey all I am asked about is political issues, women’s issues, Islam …

The Conference was very useful, it’s so important to talk together and to meet new writers. The student audience was very focused, asking probing and important questions. We felt very connected to each other.

EWWC: At the Edinburgh conference event last August, Ahdaf Soueif, in her keynote address on literature and current affairs, said: “In Egypt, in the decade of slow, simmering discontent before the revolution, novelists produced texts of critique, dystopia, of nightmare. Now, we all seem to have given up – for the moment – on fiction.”  Can you talk a little about how writers in Turkey are reacting and responding to the current unrest?

SK: In the 1950s in Turkey there was a very strong political, polemical strand to literature – not just novelists but from writers across the board. But now writers know to use allegory and metaphor; they know that if you make things directly political the literature will be flat. Sometimes, I know, a country needs to hear its reality from its writers. Right now in Turkey there are some books being published following swiftly in the wake of the demonstrations. They are interesting, sociologically- based texts – but these are the grapes; in the next five years we will be able to drink our wine.

EWWC: Do you feel there is such thing as a community of writers in Turkey?

SK: In Turkey there are lots of opportunities to talk to other writers – we have a lot of projects together and there are lots of conferences. So much so that it can sometimes be difficult to find an audience! Every weekend people have so many speeches and events to choose from, particularly in terms of commercial literature – people always want to talk to bestselling writers.

Literature is such an important vehicle with which to talk about sociology, history, and so on. Since this year’s demonstrations began, people’s confidence in themselves to speak and express themselves has increased – the atmosphere of Turkey has completely changed. When they’re speaking publicly people are less cynical and less prudent even, than before. And there is always a lot of humour.

EWWC: If there was a writers’ conference in 50 years time, what questions do you think it would address?

SK: Literature is changing. Some forms of literature are going to die. In some places like France for example, nobody wants to read short stories any more, it’s difficult to get them published. In Germany, it’s the same with poetry. Maybe in the next 50 years – when I’m a very old lady – I would make a case for short stories being very big art. I have written a play recently and found it to be a very difficult form – you only have dialogue and the stage and lighting directions at your disposal. The novel on the other hand is a very elastic form. I like the novel.

EWWC: If you had to choose one or two writers from the Turkish canon to recommend, who would that be?

SK: To choose just two is very difficult, but I can say the most important writers for me from the canon of Turkish Literature are Sevim Burak and Bilge Karasu.

Thank you Sema!

To buy tickets for The Novel: Tenacious as a Cockroach? EWWC event on 17th August at Edinburgh International Book Festival, with Sema Kaygusuz, Hari Kunzru and China Miéville, click here.

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“Opening windows in walls we didn’t even realise were standing before us” – Impressions from the EWWC: Izmir, by rapporteur Esen Demirkent http://www.edinburghworldwritersconference.org/national-literature/opening-windows-in-walls-we-didnt-even-realise-were-standing-before-us-impressions-from-the-ewwc-izmir-by-rapporteur-esen-demirkent/ http://www.edinburghworldwritersconference.org/national-literature/opening-windows-in-walls-we-didnt-even-realise-were-standing-before-us-impressions-from-the-ewwc-izmir-by-rapporteur-esen-demirkent/#comments Sat, 30 Mar 2013 17:25:13 +0000 tanyaandrews http://www.edinburghworldwritersconference.org/?p=4275 Panos Karnezis and Sema Kaygusuz

Panos Karnezis and Sema Kaygusuz. Photo by Emin Menguarslan

Writers Opened up New Windows in İzmir

The İzmir leg of Edinburgh World Writers’ Conference held at Yaşar University was quite an inspirational event for the participants: writers from UK, İstanbul and İzmir, academicians, translators, students, professional readers ( as one member of the audience named herself), international guests. And of course literature was in the spotlight for two days as introduced by the Acting Chair and academician Trevor Hope,  during his opening speech. We as the audience were lucky enough to hear a number of diverse voices coming through the open windows – some which we recently discovered and some we did not even existed beforehand.

Literature in Translation, chaired by academician Jeffrey Hibbert, warmed up the stage for upcoming discussions.

Writer and translator Murat Uyurkulak mentioned the indifference of the “West” for the “East” comparing the the current  level of 3 % translated books with the previous 20 % in the 1950′s. Translation helps to cross over the boundaries created by nationalism and history, and the translator brings people closer to each other, he added.

Writer Denise Mina made some bold remarks saying, ‘All writers steal from each other. We are thieves . Therefore we need to support each other as a community of writers. This is especially important for the writers of three dominant languages – Spanish, Chinese and English – to avoid dominating the world and freezing out minority language writers.’

A National Literature? the question was addressed by two keynote speakers: writers Sema Kaygusuz from Turkey and Panos Karnezis from Cyprus / UK in the afternoon session.

First Sema Kaygusuz introduced her viewpoint with a strong tone of criticism on the ideological oppression some states exercise through citizenship in the modern era. She explained why and how all writers are in fact homeless nomads not confined to a single land.  Therefore, literature does not stop at national borders; she is against the social engineering of designing a nation with literature as a vehicle. She ended up with the warning that hidden domestication is the real threat of our times! And as a solution, she proposed that the dignity of the creators of art should be the first priority, then the art itself…

Panos Karnezis set out to discover the common elements of a national literature like homeland, local setting, language, race and literary tradition – each time ending up with more questions then before. How can we define the “nationality” of Kundera, Kafka, Nabokov, Conrad? He ended up with the tale of the Tower of Babel placing translation in a key role: ‘As writers and readers, writing and reading in a multiplicity of languages but being able to understand each other through translations, we are the children of the builders of Babel who want to return home and build the tower that would unite us again. But this time it will not be made out of bricks but something indestructible: words.’

When asked about their interaction with social media; Denise Mina said: ‘Arguments are reduced to adversarial binary discussions on Twitter: a simple Yes or No. Therefore I avoid it’

Şebnem İşigüzel described using Twitter as ‘like opening a window and letting go with a loud scream or a strong wind.’ Inci Aral remarked that too much social sharing affects her literary production negatively. Murat Uyurkulak used to resist Twitter but now embraces it as a source of timely and uncensored news. Sema Kaygusuz said that social media will be a powerful platform for sharing once we learn how to use it effectively.

After keynote speeches followed by two panels discussions, the attentive audience was full of further questions, some of them still lingering in my memory :

-The rise of the novel supported the creation of national communities in history. Is the same thing happening now with globalization or other media (ie movies) taking over this ideological role?

-Are there specific literary forms from your cultural roots or literary tradition affecting your writing?

-The reader is the recreator of art; does that in any sense inhibit what you put on paper?

-Do nations also need narratives to help heal their traumas?

The day ended with a reception just in time to allow for short chats with the writers and for turning over the ideas and images of the day in our minds.

The next day started with a Session for Aspiring Writers, chaired by writer and translator Kerem Işık.

He talked about his own metaphor of writing as gardening, scratching about for something. Writer Şebnem İşigüzel explained her own metaphor of opening up windows in a wall, being able to see through the blindfold. İnci Aral explained her own experience as a construction, first piling up then building. Denise Mina used the metaphor of archeology. Panos Karnezis described writing as more of a technical process and advised novice writers to imitate their favorite writers in the beginning observing “what?”, “how?” After some time you learn to create your own voice’, he said, with a quote from Picasso ‘Bad artists copy, good artists steal.’

In the afternoon session, writer İnci Aral from Turkey and  writer Denise Mina, from Scotland discussed The Future of the Novel.

İnci Aral spoke first, reminding us that the death of the novel has been proclaimed with alarming regularity over the years as the genre moved away from the more traditional novel. However, the novel captures human experience so neatly and brings meaning to its existence, that it can even create a common human memory by expanding individual stories. She spoke about the threat posed to the novel by the market conditions that encourage uniformity, shallowness and visual culture. She concluded with saying, ‘In order to protect its spirit and to win back its lost nobility the novel today must grasp life in all its aspects, foresee all the signs and feel the pain of the times.’

Denise Mina mentioned that the future of novel could be a totally different thing : we even may not call it novel, crime fiction could become cowboy fiction or no artefact like a book may exist anymore. There are a few reasons for this: digital copyrights allowing anybody to change anything you’ve written. She hates this because it disturbs the integrity of the work, even its politics. Therefore, writers need to find other means of owning intellectual property and further discuss the notion of authorship. If these developments go unchecked, working class people will not be able to publish because they won’t be able to make any money. The impression I got from her words is the “Death of the Writer” as opposed to Death of the Novel. As a funny example of copyright issues, she mentioned what happened to her friend: a book purchased on a Kindle disappeared one day due to copyright problems. She also warned that power is being concentrated in the hands of fewer and fewer people. Because a few giant bestselling books sell a lot but experimental novels sell less; therefore the gulf between these two groups is getting wider and wider. She made a call to writers: ‘We are not individual voices in a void but a chorus , so as a community of writers we have to protect the people coming after us.’

Following a discussion on questions of self and state silencing, activism, the self- consciousness of writer, sources of inspiration, changing stylistic approaches and the impact of visual culture, the day came to an end.

It was again Trevor Hope’s turn to close the conference, saying: “We want to thank you all for sharing with us more of your stories, opening windows in walls we didn’t even realize were standing before us, creating a narrative appetite and feeding our hunger for stories.”

So ended the frenetic pace of these two days full of mind-expanding discussions and inspiring conversations on literature.

Denise Mina & Murat Uyurkulak

Denise Mina, Prof Dr Murat Barkan (Rector) & Leigh Turner (HM Consul-General)


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Aral in Turkey – Keynote on the Future of the Novel http://www.edinburghworldwritersconference.org/the-future-of-the-novel/aral-in-turkey-keynote-on-the-future-of-the-novel/ http://www.edinburghworldwritersconference.org/the-future-of-the-novel/aral-in-turkey-keynote-on-the-future-of-the-novel/#comments Thu, 28 Feb 2013 14:02:14 +0000 maceymarini http://www.edinburghworldwritersconference.org/?p=3936 Inci-Aral-360pxThe Future of the Novel

Keynote address given by Inci Aral

First presented at the EWWC Izmir, Turkey


Inci Aral Keynote text: “The Future of the Novel”

In the literary world there seems to be constant fear for the future of the novel and the question of whether it is dying out or not is put with alarming regularity. The novel, which is widely held to have come into existence with the publication of Cervantes’s Don Quixote, flourished and took firm hold in the 18th and 19th centuries. The first worries about ‘the future’ surfaced as the era of Jane Austen, Stendhal and Flaubert drew to a close. In certain circles the fear continued to grow that the genre would die out as it moved away from the more traditional novel. There were those who readily expected the announcement of its funeral, but the novel did not die then and neither is it dying now. Not at all. Instead it lives on, alive and well and is as prolific as ever.

The novel represents the art of discovering human life. It reflects human nature, the soul of its communities and the spirit of life itself. The great novelists created not only works pertinent to their own country but works of global importance by stepping outside the one-sided wholesale language of history and employing their high sense of principle to write epic discourses with about tumultuous periods in world history.

In the last century, developments in psychological and philosophical concepts have been mirrored in the expansion of the boundaries of the art of novel writing. Novelists have written with passion in their attempt to bring meaning to existence, to create – recreate and to quote Kundera, to discover ‘that which the novel alone can discover’. They have attempted to fathom love, the darkness and light of the human heart and the mysteries of the subconscious. With moving stories they have laid out and examined the unjust attitudes of various political regimes that have abused human rights, labour and freedom and which have proved injurious to human dignity. By expanding these tragic stories from an individualistic level to a communal one, from within to without, a common human memory is created. The novel has unparalleled power to change life and to keep fresh the collective memory.

It is harder for a book-loving novelist to imagine the death of the novel than it is to imagine their own demise. Fortunately, there is no need for this. Whilst the world has been striding forwards from the Industrial era towards the modern day the novel has managed to keep its place firmly on the agenda. This is even true during the last one hundred years and our digital age of ever progressing technology. Even today when we find ourselves bombarded by empty and meaningless visual images, we can still take refuge in good novels that contain that special element of the human spirit. If such an influential art form were to be wiped out we would also have to give up hope for other treasures and beautiful creations of humanity.

Whilst the debates surrounding the novel may differ according to the times or their intellectual level the main subjects around which discussion occurs are critical and academic questions, the novel and political ideology, the various movements of the novel and its commercialisation due to technological developments. Academic discussions usually remain limited to within universities. But because the discussions are oriented towards out-dated or currently fashionable issues they can be somewhat artificial and tedious. As for the discussion surrounding literary movements, it has mainly been the domain of philosophers and critics. For years now the various styles and new narrative practices of the novel have been topics of debate. Theories have been cast on the table, and tested. Now the era of the critic is over and modernism, if not abandoned, has at least been declared out-dated. Due to its deficiencies, post-modernism too has become untenable.

These days more is spoken of the future of the novel than of the novel itself. Is this perhaps because now it has more freedom than ever before? Nowadays everything is possible. The novel can reach out to vast new areas thanks to the inventiveness allowed it by its being both an explicit and a practical tool which can be attuned to people and their constantly changing sensibilities. The powers of the novel to push the boundaries artistically or to engage in linguistic experimentation are vast. The author is free to do whatever he or she wishes between the covers of the book. The novel, which has no boundary other than its own narrative and aesthetic style never ceases to search for novelty. If it is to find new fields of existence in an electronic medium and an on-screen format then this will be alongside the existing printed form and will allow it to evolve in a new and altogether different manner.

We cannot deny the fact that most readers today invariably find themselves in front of a screen and that the very practice of reading is declining in importance. It has been confirmed that in developed countries less than half of all adults read novels and the number of readers, especially among the young, is rapidly falling. The situation is no doubt related to changing habits in the use of on-screen technology. The computer screen is used for entertainment, learning, leisure, shopping and self-expression and is now a fundamental part of everyday life. Nevertheless the fact that most readers find themselves in front of a screen does not mean that they will cease to read. The drop-off in reader numbers should be ascribed to the struggle of paper versus screen and the pursuit of convenience. As reading from the screen becomes more widespread the novel may still emerge victorious from the process.

In Turkey five hundred novels are printed on average each year, many of which are first-time novels. In 2012 the number increased to precisely 780 novels. We may be a country with a poor education system and a low literacy level but known authors can attain relatively high circulation. The book shops in Turkey are filled with beautiful books and avid young people. On the internet there are a great many books, literary magazines, websites and lively forum debates concerning the novel. I have heard that very informative narrative-based novels are being written in hypertext in the electronic media. In short, interest in the novel remains very substantial. As the technology of the near future continues to develop and invent itself it will allow novels to be written of such interest and appeal that we cannot yet imagine.

What will the future electronic novel writer be like? A gifted trickster, an insensitive code breaker or a carefully considered emotive writer? That I don’t know. My fear is that depth and content may suffer in the name of technique and that the soul of the novel may be lost. Because at the same time as making our lives easier, technology has become a symbol of intelligence. It changes the way in which we feel, think and see. The world under a technical gloss sterilises all types of imaginative processes and paralyses our own voice. Even more than this, it also plays with our desires. The end result will be that the novel, like it or not, will be forced into a much more confined context than that which it hoped to attain. What is more, the internet has not yet developed a language that is distinctive enough to compete with the art of novel writing. However, it is highly possible that that point will be reached relatively soon.

We must also remember that technological advances do not always give the required results. There was talk that the printed novel would disappear as e-book devices became widespread – but this did not happen. Those marketing the devices tried to assure people that electronic reading was going to be the easiest and most pleasurable form of reading. But attention also fell on the higher than expected cost of such items. And why should we make do with only an electronic object? I can’t see many people giving up on the paper book any time soon – it’s portable, user friendly, safe to use and you can even go to sleep with it in your hand.

In my opinion some of the problems threatening the future of the novel are the market conditions that encourage uniformity and are becoming shallower by the day.

As consumerist society and popular culture try to reinvent themselves as a visual language by way of the novel they succeed only in putting a gloss on trashy novels. Once the language and content of novels is reduced to facility and vulgarity the taste of the readers can be pulled down with it resulting in a seriously negative outcome. As some publishers, for the sake of sales, steer promising novelists towards writing about a cheap kind of spirituality, sex, weak topical subjects and encourage them to write about a corny kind of mysticism they turn the novel into a cheap thrill and as these ‘fast food’ books sells in their millions around the world, novels of real quality sit in their thousands gathering dust on the shelves.

There is no doubt it is not always easy to draw the line between bad and good. Every reader will choose a novel that is on their level. However, aggressive advertising and the pressure of widespread popular culture have a very real effect on the choice of the reader. The writer that does not stand firm against the market will not only suffer but will not be able to stop their works being exploited and pirated on the internet. The fight against piracy of material in Turkey has not made great headway. Whilst it is not so apparent in the big cities, illegally printed books are openly sold in bookshops in Anatolia and novels are downloaded, without permission, from the internet.

At the Edinburgh conference the writer China Miéville suggested that in order to ensure fairness the state should give salaries to writers. For us in Turkey this is but a joke. Whilst there still exists in our country the mentality that censors writers, throws them in prison, opens court cases against the Pen writers’ organisation and considers classics such as ‘Of Mice and Men’ to be damaging, there can be no-one within the state who will protect the rights and fight the corner of the writer.

We are going through a complicated period in which some values are being lost. But, despite everything, the novel and individual psychology continue to retain their significance. Writers are still awarded recognition and respect. There is still enormous interest in creative writing centres and courses. Writing a novel remains to be many people’s greatest dream. We are surrounded by surprising new narratives, constructs and new languages. The world of the novel is still so rich and alluring that it beats the dominating visual image hands down.
At the moment it appears that the importance of the novel’s discourse on its relationship to politics and ideologies has declined considerably. And this at a time when the world’s economic and political problems are at an uncomfortably high level with falling regimes, ever growing uncertainties, bloodshed and natural disasters. Our hopes that this century would turn out for the better are rapidly dwindling. The outlook for the future is hazy. What is humankind and the world waiting for? How will the economic crisis end? Will there be another large-scale war?

In such a situation can the writer remain shut away in their own world, indifferent to events around them? Can they shut their eyes and disassociate themselves from what is going on? The answer is both yes and no. If such is the case, we can say that the political spirit of our times has not sufficiently been reflected in novels. Whilst enjoyment and indifference are being heralded, politics is regarded with contempt and is being further hacked apart by outdated and negative examples.

No matter which oppressive regime is in question; we can never endorse the ‘regimented’ practices that are carried out in the spheres of literature and the arts such as censorship and persecution of writers, attempts made on their lives or their being silenced by exile. We should feel utter contempt for the restrictive prohibitions placed upon writers to prevent them from freely expressing themselves. Politics is to be found everywhere where people exist and to be non-political is also a political stance.

We are witnessing how literature and specifically how the novel is brought under control by various subtle pressures; how certain subjects are desensitised, blunted and made into media-style copy before being accepted. It is a very good thing that there are wonderful world writers of all ages that do not hold back now from subtly and expertly exposing and criticising the latest spurious plan for our happiness. Whilst inclining towards well-founded subjects they continue to make their readers happy and to write fabulous novels.

The years ahead will tell us in a more definite way just how the developments we are currently experiencing will affect writers and the novel. In which direction will thing set off, what will be the principal dynamics and from where will the subject matter be born?

More importantly when will marketing, which adversely affects writers’ insight, vision and the creative process, hit rock bottom? In order to protect its spirit and passion and to win back its lost heritage the novel today must grasp life in all its aspects, intuit all the signs and feel the pain of the times. Otherwise, as humankind’s downward spiral increases in velocity the novel too will draw its last breath.

Translated by Caroline Stockford


Below is text of the keynote speech given by Inci Aral in Turkish:


Edebiyat dünyasında romanın geleceği için sürekli kaygılar beslenir ve sık sık
ölmekte olup olmadığı sorgulanır. Cervantes’in Don Kişot’u ile doğduğu kabul edilen roman,
18. ve 19. yüzyıl boyunca serpilip yerini sağlamlaştırdı. İlk ‘gelecek’ tartışmaları ise Jane
Austen, Stendhal ve Flaubert gibi yazarların dönemi kapandığında başladı. Geleneksel
romandan uzaklaşıldıkça türün biteceği korkusu -kimi çevrelerde- artarak sürmüştür.
Cenazeyi kaldırmak için bekleyenler oldu hep ama roman bir türlü ölmedi, ölmüyor. Dipdiri,
son derece doğurgan bir biçimde yaşamakta.

Roman insan hayatının keşfedilmesi sanatıdır. İnsan hallerini, hayatın ve toplumların
ruhunu yansıtır. Büyük romancılar dünyanın altüst oluş dönemlerini tarihin taraflı, toptancı
dilinin dışında, destansı bir söylem ve yüksek yazarlık vicdanıyla dile getirmişler hem yerel,
hem evrensel değerde eserler yaratmışlardır.

Geçtiğimiz yüzyılda ruhbilimsel ve felsefi kavrayışlarla birlikte roman sanatının
sınırları da genişledi. Romancılar varoluşa anlam katmak, eğlenmek- eğlendirmek, ve
Kundera’nın deyişiyle; “ancak bir romanın keşfedebileceği şeyi keşfetmek için,” tutkuyla
yazdılar. Aşkı, insan yüreğinin karanlık ve aydınlığını, bilinçaltının gizlerini çözmeye,
anlamaya çalıştılar. Farklı siyasi rejimlerin insan hak, emek ve özgürlüklerini kısıtlayan,
insan onurunu zedeleyen adaletsiz tutumlarını etkili hikayelerle sergileyip sorguladılar. Bu
trajik hikayeler bireyselden toplumsala, içten dışa doğru genişleyerek ortak insanlık belleğini
oluşturur. Toplumsal belleği diri tutmada ve hayatı değiştirmede roman benzersiz bir güce

Roman sanatının sonunu hayal etmek sıkı roman okuru bir romancı için kendi
sonunu hayal etmekten daha zor. Neyse ki buna gerek yok. Dünya, sanayi devriminden
bu yana ve özellikle son yüzyılda, hızla gelişen teknolojiyle dijital çağa yürürken roman
gündemde kalmayı başarıyor. Bugün bile insani öze sahip iyi romanlar, içi boş bir görsel
imaj bombardımanı altında bunalan günümüz insanının sığınağıdır. Eğer bu kadar etkili bir
sanat yok olacaksa başka insani zenginlik ve güzelliklerden de umut kesmek gerekir.

Romanla ilgili tartışmalar zamana, zemine göre farklılık gösterse de genelde
eleştiri ve akademik sorunlar, roman ve siyasi ideoloji, çeşitli akımlar, gelişen teknolojiyle
ticarileşme gibi konularda yoğunlaşır. Günün akademik tartışmaları genelde üniversitelerle
sınırlıdır. Ama bunların ilgileri ya eski ya da moda olanlara yöneldiğinden yapay ve
sıkıcıdırlar. Akımlar ise daha çok felsefeci ve eleştirmenlerin tartıştığı konular oldu. Yıllar
yılı, romanın farklı biçem ve yeni anlatı yöntemleri üzerine tartışıldı. Teoriler ortaya atıldı,
denendi. Artık eleştirmenlerin çağı kapandı, modernlik ise terk edilmiş olmasa da eskimiş
kabul ediliyor. Post modernizm ise açıkları yüzünden fazla savunulamıyor.

Bugün kendisinden çok geleceği tartışılıyor romanın. Şimdiye kadar hiç olmadığı
kadar özgür olduğu için mi acaba? Artık her şey mümkün. İnsan ve hayat üzerinden değişen
anlayışlara uyum sağlama yeti ve olanakları yaratıcılığa son derece açık ve elverişli olan
roman çok geniş alanlara uzanabiliyor. Bir romanın anlatabilecekleri kadar artistik arayış
ve dilsel deneme yolları da sonsuz. Kitabın iki kapağı arasında yazar istediğini yapabiliyor.
Kendi anlatı ve biçim estetiğinin dışında sınırı olmayan roman yenilikler aramaktan hiç
vazgeçmiyor. Eğer elektronik ortamda ve ekranlarda farklı yaşam alanları bulacaksa bu da
kağıt baskının yanında, yeni ve farklı bir gelişme olarak yaşanacaktır.

Bugünün okurunun çoğunlukla ekran başında olduğu ve okuma eyleminin önemini
kaybettiği gerçeğini yadsıyamayız. Gelişmiş ülkelerde yetişkinlerin yarısından daha azının
roman okuduğu ve okuma oranının özellikle gençler arasında hızla düştüğü saptanmış.
Durum ekran önünde değişen alışkanlıklara bağlanıyor. Ancak artık eğlenmek, öğrenmek,
vakit geçirmek, alışveriş gibi günlük faaliyetler ve kendini ifade için, bilgisayar ekranı
yaşamın temel parçası. Yine de okurun çoğunlukla ekran başında olması artık okumayacağı
anlamına gelmez. Okur sayısının düşüşünü kağıt ve ekranın mücadelesi olarak görmek ve
kolaylık arayışına yormak gerekir. Ekrandan okuma yaygınlaştığında roman bu süreçten de
galip çıkabilir.

Türkiye’de de her yıl, çoğu ilk roman olmak üzere ortalama beş yüzün üstünde
roman yayımlanıyor. 2012 de sayı yükselmiş, tam 780 roman basılmış. Eğitim sistemi çok
kötü, okuma oranı düşük bir ülkeyiz ama tanınmış romancılar yüksek sayılacak tirajlara
ulaşabiliyorlar. Kitapçı dükkanları güzel kitaplarla ve ilgili gençlerle dolu. İnternette bir çok
kitap ve edebiyat dergisi, sitesi, romanlar üzerine yoğun tartışmalar var. Elektronik ortamda
çok anlatıcılı, çok anlatılı, hipermetin formunda romanlar yazılmakta olduğunu duydum.
Kısacası romana ilgi çok yoğun. Yakın gelecekte teknoloji kendine uygun buluşlarla şu an
hayal edemediğimiz olağanüstü çekici ve ilginç romanlar yazılmasına olanak sağlayabilir.

Geleceğin elektronik romancısı nasıl biri olacak bilemiyorum. Yetenekli bir oyunbaz
mı, duygusuz bir şifre çözücü mü, hesaplı bir duygusal mı? Korkum, teknik uğruna
derinlik ve içeriğin zarar görmesi, romanın ruhunu yitirmesi. Çünkü teknoloji hayatımızı
kolaylaştırırken aynı zamanda aklın simgesi haline geliyor. Hissetme, düşünme, görme
biçimimizi değiştiriyor. Teknikle cilalanmış dünya her türlü tahayyülü kısırlaştırıp dilimizi
felce uğratıyor, dahası arzularımızla oynuyor. Sonuçta ister istemez romanı da ulaşmaya
çalıştığından daha sınırlı bir içeriğe zorlayacaktır. Ayrıca internet henüz roman sanatıyla
rekabete girecek ölçüde özgün bir dil oluşturamadı. Yakın zamanda o noktaya ulaşması da
kolay değil.

Tekno gelişmelerin her zaman beklenen sonuçları vermediğini de unutmamalıyız. E-
kitap cihazlarının yaygınlaşması ile basılı romanların ortadan kalkacağı söylentisi boş çıktı.
Satıcılar elektronik okumanın en kolay ve zevkli okuma olduğuna insanları inandırmaya
çalıştılar ama aşılmış olduğu ileri sürülen değerler üzerine düşünmeye de ittiler. Neden
yalnızca elektronik bir nesneyle yetinmek zorunda olalım ki? Pek çok insan, kolayca taşınan,
birlikte uyunabilen, kullanışlı, sağlıklı, kağıt kitaptan yakın zamanda vazgeçmeyecek sanırım.

Bence romanın geleceğini tehdit eden sorunlardan biri de sığlaşan ve bir örnekliği
özendiren piyasa koşulları. Tüketim toplumu ve popüler kültürün roman üzerinden kendini
görsel bir dil olarak yeniden servis etmeye çalışması çer-çöp romanları parlatıyor. Roman
dili ve içeriğinin kolaylık ve basitliğe indirgenmesi zaman içinde okur beğenisinin aşağı
çekilmesine neden olacak ciddi bir olumsuzluk. Yetenekli bir romancıyı satış uğruna ucuz
bir gizemciliğe, bayat bir mistitizm, seks ve kof moda konulara yönlendiren kimi yayıncılar
yüzünden roman ucuz bir eğlenceliğe dönüşüyor ve bu ‘çabuk çorba’ kitaplar tüm dünyada
milyonlarca satarken nitelikli romanların bir-kaç bin kopyası raflarda tozlanıyor.

Kuşkusuz iyi kötü çizgisini çekmek her zaman kolay olmaz. Her okur düzeyine uygun
romanı okur. Ama saldırgan reklamların ve yaygın popüler kültürün baskısı okurun seçimini
çok etkiliyor. Piyasaya ödün vermeyen romancı ise hem mağdur oluyor hem de eserleri
internette bozuntu ve hırsızlıktan korunamıyor. Türkiye’de korsanla mücadelede de fazla
yol alınamadı. Büyük kentlerde daha az görülmekle birlikte Anadolu’daki kitapçılarda açıkça
yasa dışı basılmış kitap satılıyor ve izinsiz internetten roman indiriliyor.

Edinburg’daki toplantıda yazar Çin Mieville, adaleti sağlamak için devletin yazara
maaş bağlamasını önermiş. Bizim için bu ancak bir şaka. Yazarları sansürleyen, hapse atan,
Pen Yazar örgütüne dava açan, “Fareler ve İnsanlar” gibi klasikleşmiş kitapları bile sakıncalı
gören anlayışların var olduğu bir ülkede yazar asla devlet tarafından hakları korunup kollanması gereken biri olamaz.

Karmaşık bir değerler kaybı sürecinden geçiyoruz. Ama roman ve bireysel psikolojiler
her şeye rağmen anlamını koruyor. Yazarlar hala saygı ve itibar görüyor. Yaratıcı yazarlık
okul ve kurslarına ilgi yoğun. Bir roman yazabilmek pek çok kişi için hala en görkemli rüya.
Şaşırtıcı anlatılar, kurgular ve yeni dillerle karşı karşıyayız. Romanın dünyası hala öylesine
zengin ve çekici ki hakim görsellik büsbütün alternatifi olamıyor.

Bu arada romanın siyaset ve ideolojilerle ilişkisi tartışması önemini yitirmiş görünüyor.
Oysa dünyadaki siyasi ve ekonomik sorunlar, çöken rejimler, uzayıp giden belirsizlikler,
dökülen kan ve doğa katliamları rahatsız edici boyutlarda. Bu yüzyılın daha güzel olacağını
dair hayal ve umutlarımız hızla tükeniyor. Gelecek perspektifi ise puslu. İnsanlığı ve dünyayı
bekleyen ne? Ekonomik kriz nasıl bitecek? Yeni bir büyük savaş mı çıkacak?

Böyle bir ortamda romancı kendi alemine kapanıp olup bitene kayıtsız kalabilir mi?
Gözlerini yumup kendini yaşananlardan soyutlayabilir mi? Hem hayır, hem evet ! Öyleyse
yaşadığımız dönemin siyasi ruhunun romanlara gerektiği kadar yansımadığını söyleyebiliriz.
Yalnızca eğlence ve aldırmazlığın pompalandığı yerde siyaset hor görülüyor, eski olumsuz
örnekler üzerinden paramparça ediliyor.

Hangi baskıcı rejim olursa olsun; yazarı, sansür ve sürgünlerle susturmuş, eziyet
etmiş ve canına kastetmiş “güdümlü” sanat ve edebiyat uygulamalarını asla onaylayamayız.
Bir yazarın özgürce yaratmasına gem vuran yasaklara nefret duymalıyız. Ancak insanın
olduğu her yerde siyaset de vardır ve siyaseti olmamak da siyasi bir tutumdur. Piyasanın
hileli sansür yöntemlerini unutmayalım. Edebiyat ve özelde romanın hangi incelikli baskılarla
kontrol altına alındığını, yazarın belli konulara nasıl duyarsızlaştırılıp körleştirildiğini ve
medyatik suretlere dönüştürülüp teslim alındığını görmekteyiz. İyi ki yeni moda yalancı
mutluluk tasarımlarını incelikle, ustalıkla ifşa eden ve eleştirmekten geri durmayan olgun ya
da genç harika dünya yazarları var. Onlar sağlam konulara eğilirken okurlarını mutlu edecek
müthiş romanlar yazmayı sürdürüyorlar.

Yaşanacak gelişmelerin romancıyı ve romanı nasıl etkileyeceği önümüzdeki yıllarda
daha net biçimde belli olacak. Hangi yönelişler içinde yol alınacak, temel dinamikler ne
olacak, konular nerelerden doğacak? Daha önemlisi kavrayışları, bakışı ve yaratma
sürecini kötü etkileyen piyasacılık olgusu ne zaman dibe vuracak? Roman bugün ruhunu
ve arzusunu korumak ve kaybettiği soyluluğu yeniden kazanmak için hayatı tüm yönleriyle
yakalamak, işaretleri sezmek, zamanın acılarını hissetmek zorunda. Yoksa insanlığın iniş
rotası hızlandıkça romanın soluğu da tükenecektir.

http://www.edinburghworldwritersconference.org/the-future-of-the-novel/aral-in-turkey-keynote-on-the-future-of-the-novel/feed/ 0
ARAL & MINA – The Future of the Novel http://www.edinburghworldwritersconference.org/the-future-of-the-novel/aral-mina-the-future-of-the-novel/ http://www.edinburghworldwritersconference.org/the-future-of-the-novel/aral-mina-the-future-of-the-novel/#comments Thu, 28 Feb 2013 07:24:51 +0000 maceymarini http://www.edinburghworldwritersconference.org/?p=3675 Edinburgh World Writers' Conference, Izmir
Thursday 28 February 2:00pm EET The Future of the Novel Keynote given by Inci Aral, with a response by Denise Mina.]]> Mina-Aral-360px_NEWEdinburgh World Writers’ Conference, Izmir

Thursday 28 February 2:00pm EET

The Future of the Novel

Keynote by: Inci Aral with a response by Denise Mina.

For more information have a look at the event e-flyer.

Author biographies:

Inci Aral was born in 1944. She was educated in painting. Then she got interested in literature and started her writing career with short stories, then added novels to her work. In her work she mostly dwells on the emotional state of individuals, shaped by the influence of sociological changes; the impossible nature of love; lack of communication between individuals and the problems of existence. Inci Aral is one of the most favorite, most read authors in her country; her short stories have been translated and have appeared in several anthologies in countries like the United States, The Netherlands, Slovakia, France, Germany, Bulgaria and Iraq, among others.

Denise Mina is the author of eleven novels, three graphic novels, three plays and many short stories. Two of her novels have been filmed by BBC television. She has won prizes, been nominated for prizes, judged and presented prizes and is starting to think they might be meaningless. She is a regular contributor to television and radio, presents documentaries and is currently finishing her first video piece ‘Multum in Parvo’ – a film about her extended family watching a film  about her extended family  making a film about her extended family.


http://www.edinburghworldwritersconference.org/the-future-of-the-novel/aral-mina-the-future-of-the-novel/feed/ 1 Kaygusuz in Turkey – Keynote on A National Literature http://www.edinburghworldwritersconference.org/national-literature/kaygusuz-in-turkey-keynote-on-a-national-literature/ http://www.edinburghworldwritersconference.org/national-literature/kaygusuz-in-turkey-keynote-on-a-national-literature/#comments Wed, 27 Feb 2013 15:39:12 +0000 maceymarini http://www.edinburghworldwritersconference.org/?p=3930 SEMA-KAYGUSUZ-360pxA National Literature

Keynote address given by Sema Kaygusuz

First presented at the EWWC Izmir, Turkey


Sema Kaygusuz Keynote text: “A National Literature”

‘Dignity first, then art…
This essay is but a short overview comparing people’s psychological nature with the structure of national literature. Nationalism and patriotism are designs of the state. During the Late Ottoman period and early Turkish Republic an ideological literature sprang up that served National Literature and the purpose of deliberately reassociating people with their Turkic roots. However, these movements benefited political aspirations and not literature itself. A person with a vocabulary can only make sense of their world when they are part of a dialogue. A person shares their language. And just as this language identifies them as a local, at the same time it makes them a citizen not just of their own country but of the world. The system at one time strove to separate populations from one another by way of nationalistic convictions, whereas now the capitalist concepts of a single culture and centralisation makes artists into local citizens in their own parts of the world. In this context the independence of the artist and the individuality of the piece of work can never be completely trustworthy. Just as the ideologically motivated writer may just be an office worker; so the writer of today who is reduced to being a local representative cannot progress further than being a parrot that repeats what is desired to be heard.

Probably one of the most striking moments in which a person becomes aware of themselves as a being with the power of speech is when they find themselves listening to or conversing with another person. When a person engages in conversation they not only create the words but also create time and space in a new dimension. What is heard and what is said is not just a result of having been in that place at that time but instead is stamped with the very words that were spoken in those moments.
The incomparable German poet Hölderlin puts it like this in his verse:
‘Man has learned much since morning,
And has named many forms in the sky
For we are a conversation and can listen
to one another’ [Friedensfeier (1801-1803), third print, last stanza]

So what are these forms in the sky and what is this common source that induces us to hold ‘a conversation’? Our common spirituality or geography, civilisation, culture or our shared language? If it were up to me I would say that it is our common spirituality that makes us enter into conversation. I’m talking about a common spirituality that transcends all other uniting factors such as language or country.

Whenever a person, as a being with the power of speech, becomes the object of a narrative they become, at the same time, the narrative’s metaphor and literature transforms not just the person but all things in the world into significant objects. Even if the object of the narrative is a stone, that stone ‘is by itself a stone representing everything’. Just as wherever a person looks they will see their own essence reflected, so every writer/narrator, at the same time, draws attention to a universal essence. What is more a person does not just speak with language but with their entire existence. They speak with their hands, their eyes, the motion of their body, with the rising and falling cadence of their voice and, most importantly, they speak with their memory.

Years ago I went to a night club on the beautiful Greek island of Rhodes. It was four o’clock in the morning, everyone in the club was drunk, dancing and enjoying themselves. At one point I went to the lavatory and met a woman crying at the sinks. As I was washing my hands at the sink our eyes met. The distress on the woman’s face was very familiar to me. With the meeting of our eyes the woman began to speak without drawing breath. As you know, words are at the same time lyrics. Whilst listening to that woman, I not only heard the drunken slurring of Greek words, instead I heard a musical story of rhyming ‘s’ sounds. And of course, I couldn’t understand a word. The woman spoke so quickly that I didn’t have an opportunity to tell her that I didn’t understand Greek. In any case within a few seconds I realised that all she wanted was to talk to a stranger, an ‘other’ person. The woman’s speech went on for minutes. During this few minutes’ remonstration with her voice full of bitterness, hurt and disillusionment I managed to make out, albeit falteringly, that her fiancée had bumped into his ex-girlfriend in the club and had lavished his attention on her and that the ex-girlfriend, sensing the opportunity had played up to this by flirting back. The thing that the Greek woman and I had in common was not language, but tone. Not words, but behaviour, the situation and the history of experience shared all up and down the Aegean coast, inked onto our bodies. Even if we had not had a real conversation we had had a meaningful coming together. Just like reading a very well translated literary text I was able to decipher her codes with my own cultural and linguistic codes.

The reason for my recounting this anecdote is to illustrate that translation is a natural act and before it became an intellectual effort it was a letting go, or a going ‘off-road’. I sometimes wonder, given that we have the skill to translate, whether there is a crumb of emotion left that in the world we haven’t translated from one language to another. As Hannah Arendt said, ‘The world is not human just because people came into existence, and it cannot be human simply because human voices echo within it; it only becomes human when it is the object of speech’ [H.Arendt, Men in dark Times, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, San Diego, New York 1968 p.25]. Whilst this is the case which object of speech, be it an entreaty, a groan, a cry of delight, a curse or scream is still the same as it was at source? Which story that gives us the strength to push on towards the truth still remains connected exclusively with its source? As stories get translated again and again on their journey around the world it is our shared spirit that keeps them alive.

If the structure of National Literature can be understood from a shared language perspective, it occurs to me that no language can be defined by nationality. This is because language does not belong merely to those of the same race, but to communities. What is more, just as a language can contain repertories of borrowed words from other languages so can it play host to other languages that have melded into each other. For example, within the structure of Turkish there are reams of words borrowed from Arabic, Persian, Greek, Kurdish, French and English. On the other hand there is no intellectual benefit to be gained from hiding powerful literary texts away in the drawer marked ‘National Literature’. However, at this point I must take one precaution. I personally have no objection to the lyrical lexical composition of Turkish Literature being compared to Japanese Literature, which introduced incomparable literary genres to world literature; or to Chinese Literature, the first exponent of prose and essentially regarded at the progenitor of the novel. To the contrary, I see these characterisations as being the key to pluralism and diversity. What I do disagree with is the idea of a nation being incubated upon a literature as once literature is made into a vehicle the population begins to be drawn into social engineering.

Turkish Literature’s departure into Turkism is a prime example of the social engineering to which I have just referred. With the 1908 Constitutional movement of the late Ottoman period an out and out ‘National Literature’ movement was born which adopted as its principal the intention to take literature back to its early Turkic origin. This departure, which was ideologically motivated and based on the desire to return literature to its early national source, heralded the simplification of the language, the replacement of the aruz meter with the syllabic meter and tried to reflect local life in a nationalistic perspective. The literary efforts of this nationalistic movement were, paradoxically, influenced by French, Russian and English literature. Later on, alongside the social realist literature which highlighted the plight of certain communities there came, in the 1960s a departure towards Turkism led to the creation of Turkic-root oriented narratives recounting the angst felt concerning the population’s collective identity [For further information on this subject please read Murat Belge’s “Genesis-Büyük Ulusal Anlatı ve Türklerin Kökeni”]. This movement twisted historical events and wrote material brimming with native valour and disparaging to other countries. But despite its shallowness and transience, even in our times it is not hard to see the scars this movement left behind.

The highly motivated writers of this period surely contributed to the unprecedented hatred and xenophobia and the exclusionist attitude in language assumed towards those of minority religions or different ethnicity that is apparent in our country. They are also responsible for the attitude in our country that associated the Turk-Sunni coming together with an intellectual gene. Fortunately literature can only stay alive when it is authentic and unfettered. Despite all the intellectual assertions to the contrary, the fact that a strong Turkish literature has come into being today is due to the writers with intellectual dignity who have strengthened our literature. We are only able to speak of the respectable state of Turkish literature today thanks to the writers who have not been afraid to make their mark, who have contended with massacres, have turned their back on hardline sensitivities, made a stand against fascism, undermined culture, who have attacked the official version of history, have overthrown personal politics and who have put their guard up against all types of sexist, homophobic and heterosexist attitudes. If we are able today to write literary works with confidence and without apology it is only thanks to the efforts of our libertarian predecessors; writers who made writing into a an existential act.

If I were to have to talk personally of what drives my own writing I would quite naturally have to step outside the framework of national literature. In fact, all of the world’s writers are actually stateless. Like many of them, I too have a feeling of separation that cannot be alleviated, a deep feeling of exile and disquietude within stemming from feeling cut off from nature. I too feel the discord of not being able to conform to hierarchical time and the resulting sensation of innate fragmentation that comes from this. On the other hand, when, as a being endowed with memory, I try to create for myself an intellectual framework I find myself experiencing a narcissistically comforting feeling that comes from being an inhabitant of a geography that has deep historical roots spread from the Mediterranean basin to Mesopotamia and from the Middle East to Anatolia. In other words, thanks to something primeval I am able to confront the feeling of statelessness. This intellectual geography is, for me, made up of all the celestial religions, the Greek gods, the myths of Sumeria, the Persian poets and Arab philosophers, Jewish cabalists, Armenian legends, Kurdish dengbejs, Hellenic architecture, the horticultural skill of the early farmers of Rum who domesticated the vine, the traditional Shamanistic practices of the Turkmen tribes, Gypsy songs and the crafts and narratives of numerous peoples. But then the minute that I leave Turkey I am labelled absolutely and exclusively as a female writer who is Turkish and Muslim and I am only accepted by some literary circles if I bear these tags. The emphasis is always on these aspects. I am constantly subjected to questions about Islam. At the Ubud Festival in Indonesia they want me to talk about Sinbad, the great Arabian story teller. I get invited to debates on Islamophobia in Germany. In France, a country known for its secularity, I ended up having to discuss strong anti-secular stances from the viewpoint of a woman in a Muslim country for the newspaper Liberation. The issue here is not those particular subjects, but rather the fact that by way of these subjects I was reduced to no more than a ‘representative’. Whenever I managed to get past answering some of these questions I jumped at the chance of mentioning my own perspectives on literature with the agility of a cat pouncing upon its prey. It seems that, abroad, I have to cope with a false sense of Turkey fuelled by insufficient information and never-ending prejudice. As if the real issues in Turkey are not enough – the intellectual modelling, the language conventions forced upon us by nationalistic thinking, the simplistic attitudes induced by the power of mediocrity, the barbarity of popular culture, all the sexist attitudes I have to endure daily, the gulf that exists between writer and reader – is this not enough? I will say it, the fiction that is ‘country’ is to me an inner trouble and an outer burden that increases day by day. I do not want to be represented by it, or to be its representative. As a person who views all progress in this world as a result of people travelling and dicovering each other I still feel repulsed when I have to pass from the border of one country to the border of another.

At this very moment, when a writer may only enter another country with a passport and visa we should recognise that their freedom is being threatened and I feel that to respect that freedom is not just a simple matter of manners but is instead a moral stance. When we look through a framework of centralism and monoculture at an artist representing their work, that person is just a citizen. The lifestyle propounded by the postmodern capitalist society of today to all inhabitants of the world is nothing more than an institution made up of citizens. Therefore all the warm democracies the author encounters, such as publishing houses, cultural and artistic ideologists, editors and academicians do in fact have life-sustaining meaning.

We have to accept that all beautiful things we encounter are to be viewed with suspicion. The State is setting aside funds for literary translation, official ministries are supporting the cinema, international organisations are investing in enormous cultural projects and haute couture companies are opening art galleries. In this way all artistic endeavour is being taken under control. The artist who throws his lot in with the system as an allegiant citizen is being invited into a role as a conciliator who says what they want to hear. These artists…, who are not too badly behaved to make people feel uncomfortable, deluded enough to inspire sympathy and who are insane in an almost sane way… This hidden domestication is what really threatens our times. A domestication that begins with the nation and comes to fruition with citizenship. However, we have to remember that if artefacts plundered from Afghanistan are being displayed in an European museum this means that the shadow of international war has fallen on every treasure and will continue to do so. At this time the dignity of the creators of art are far more indispensable than the objective beauty of art. If we are to continue to name the celestial objects as Hölderlin entrusted us to, then first we must stand firm in our dignity and then we must, all of us together, be the very conversation itself.

Translated by Caroline Stockford


Below is text of the keynote speech given by Sema Kaygusuz in Turkish:

Önce haysiyet, sonra sanat…

Bu yazı, ulusal edebiyat çerçevesinin insanın ruhsal evreni ile kıyaslanınca
dar bir çerçeve olduğunu hatırlatmaktadır. Ulusçuluk, milliyetçilik
devletlerin projesidir. Geç Osmanlı ve Türkiye Cumhuriyeti sırasında Milli
Edebiyat ve Türkleri kökenleştirmeye hizmet eden ideolojik bir edebiyat
türemiştir. Ne var ki bu akımlar edebiyata değil siyasi fikirlere hizmet
eder. Oysa ki bir söz varlığı olan insan, ancak bir diyaloğun parçası
olduğunda kendi dünyasını anlamlandırabilir. İnsan dilini paylaşır. Ve bu
dil gerçekte onu bir yerli yaptığı gibi, sadece kendi memleketinin değil
dünyanın yerlisi yapar. Vaktiyle ulusçu fikirlerle toplumları birbirinden
ayıran sistem, şimdiki tek kültürcü/merkeziyetçi kapitalist anlayışla
sanatçıları birer kendi yerinin yerlisi vatandaşlar haline getiriyor. Bu
bağlamda sanatçının bağımsızlığı, sanat eserinin özgünlüğü daima
kuşkuludur. Nasıl ki ideolojik olarak güdülenmiş yazar, gerçekte sadece
memur ise; bugün yerel bir temsilciliğe indirgenen yazar da sadece
duymak istenileni aktaran bir evcilliğin ötesine geçemeyecektir.

İnsanın dilsel bir varlık olarak kendilik bilincine vardığı çarpıcı anlardan
belki de en önemlisi başkasını dinlediği, başkasıyla söyleştiği anlardır. Söyleşiye
katılan kişi, sözcükler eşliğinde zamanı ve mekanı yeni bir boyutta yeniden kavrar.
Dinlemek ve söylemek o sırada orada bulunmaktan öte, o sırada orada geçen sözle
damgalanmaktır. Almancanın eşsiz şairi Hölderlin’in dizelerinde şöyle geçer:

İnsan pek çok şey yaşadı

Ve birçok göksel şeyi adlandırdı

Bir diyalog olduğumuz

Ve birbirimizi duyabildiğimizden beri [Friedensfeier (bahar 1801-1803’ün sonu), üçüncü baskı son kıta]

Peki “birçok göksel şeyi adlandıran” bizi “bir diyalog” yapan ortak kaynak
nedir? Ortak ruhsallığımız mı, ortak coğrafyamız mı, uygarlığımız mı, kültürümüz
mü, yoksa ortak dilimiz mi? Bana kalırsa bizi bir diyolog yapan ilk düzlem, ortak
ruhsallığımızdır. Dilsel, ulusal bütün aidiyetleri aşan ortak bir ruhsallıktan söz

Bir dil varlığı olarak insan ne zaman bir anlatının nesnesi olsa, aynı zamanda
o anlatının mecazı haline de gelir ve edebiyat sadece insanı değil dünyadaki bütün
şeyleri anlamlı bir özneye dönüştürür. Anlatının nesnesi taş bile olsa o taş ‘kendi
başına her şey olan bir taş’tır. İnsan nereye baksa kendi özünü gördüğüne göre her
yazar/anlatıcı aynı zamanda evrensel bir öze de dikkat çeker. Üstelik insan sadece
diliyle değil, bütün varlığıyla söyler. Elleriyle, gözleriyle, bedenin dansıyla, inişli çıkışla
sesiyle, en önemlisi belleğiyle de dile gelir.

Yıllar önce Yunanistan’ın güzel adası Rodos’ta bir gece kulübüne gitmiştim.
Saat sabahın dördüydü, klüpteki herkes sarhoş, eğleniyor, dans ediyordu. Bir ara
tuvalete gittiğimde lavabonun başında ağlayan bir kadınla karşılaştım. Ellerimi
yıkarken aynadan onunla göz göze geldim. Kadının yüzündeki keder benim için
çok tanıdıktı. Bu göz temasıyla birlikte kadın nefes almadan konuşmaya başladı.
Biliyorsunuz söz, aynı zamanda güftedir. O kadını dinlerken sarhoşlukla yayvanlaşan
bir Yunanca’dan çok daha fazlasını, “s” sesinin uyak düştüğü müzikal bir hikâyeyi
dinliyordum, elbette tek kelimesini anlamadan. Kadın o kadar hızlı konuşuyordu ki
ona Yunanca bilmediğimi söylemeye fırsat bulamadım. Zaten bir kaç saniye içinde
onun tek ihtiyacının bir yabancıya –başkası olan bir yabancıya- konuşmak istediğini
farketmiştim. Kadının konuşması dakikalar sürdü. Hırçın, yılgın, hayal kırıklığıyla
dolu bu birkaç dakikalık yakınma sırasında, nişanlısının kulüpte eski kızarkadaşına
rastlayınca bütün ilgisini ona yönelttiğini, öbür kadının da bu karşılaşmayı fırsat
bilerek adama ne cilveler yaptığını kılı kılına anlamasam da aşağı yukarı sezmiştim.
Yunanlı kadınla aramızdaki ortak şey dil değil, üsluptu. Söz değil tavır, hâl ve Ege
bölgesini baştan başa saran yaşantının bedenlerimize dövmelenmiş tarihiydi.
Aramızda gerçek bir diyalog olmasa da anlamlı bir kesişme vardı. Çok iyi çevrilmiş
edebi bir metni okur gibi, kendi kültürel, dilsel kodlarımla onun kodlarını kendime
deşifre ediyordum.

Bu anıyı anlatmamın sebebi çevirinin doğal bir eylem olduğunu, entelektüel
bir çaba olmazdan önce beklenmedik bir kapılma, hatta yoldan çıkma hali olduğunu
örnekleyebilmektir. Bazen merak ederim, çevirmenlik gibi bir maharetimiz varken
acaba dünyada bir dilden başka bir dile çevrilememiş bir duygu kırıntısı kalmış mıdır?
Hannah Arendt’nin dediği gibi “Dünya insanlardan oluştuğu için insani değildir, ve
sırf içinde insan sesi yankılanıyor diye de insani olmaz; yalnızca söylemin nesnesi
olduğu zaman insani olur.” [H.Arendt, Men in dark Times, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, San Diego, New York 1968 s.25]

Hal böyleyken, söylemin nesnesi hangi yakarış, hangi
inilti veya sevinç, hangi ilenç veya haykırış, bize gerçeğe tahammül edebilme gücü
veren hangi hikâye sadece çıktığı kaynağa asılı kalır? Çevrile çevrile dünyayı
dolaşan hikâyelerin canlı kalma gücü, ortak ruhsallığımızdan ileri gelir.

Ulusal Edebiyat olarak çizilen çerçeve, dil birliği açısından anlaşılabilse de,
bence hiçbir dil ulusla tanımlanamaz. Çünkü dil soydaşlara değil topluluklara aittir.
Ayrıca bir dilin içinde farklı dillerden devşirme söz dağarcıkları olduğu gibi, iç içe
erimiş başka dilleri de konuk eder. Sözgelimi Türkçenin bünyesinde Arapçadan
Farsçaya, Rumcadan Kürtçeye, Fransızcadan İngilizceye oldukça geniş söz dağarları
mevcuttur. Öte yandan güçlü edebiyat metinlerini Ulusal Edebiyat çekmecesine
kaldırmanın pek bir zihinsel yardımı da yoktur. Yalnız, tam bu noktada bir önlem
almam gerekiyor. Lirik söz dizimleriyle Türk Edebiyatı, dünya edebiyatına eşsiz
edebi türler kazandıran Japon Edebiyatı veya ilk düzyazı metinleriyle aslında roman
türünün atası olan Çin Edebiyatı gibi tasniflere okur olarak şahsen bir itirazım
olamaz. Tam tersine bu tanımlamaları çoğulluğun ve çeşitliğiliğin anahtarları olarak
görürüm. Benim için itiraz noktası halkların edebiyatı üstünden bir ulus tasarlamak,
edebiyatı araçsallaştırarak toplum mühendisliğine soyunmakta başlıyor.

Türk Edebiyatı’nın geçirdiği Türkçü yönelimler, tam da sözünü ettiğim
toplum mühendisliğini kanıtlar niteliktedir. Geç Osmanlı dönemi 1908 Meşrutiyet
hareketiyle birlikte edebiyatta milli kaynaklara dönmeyi ilke edinen adlı adınca “Milli
Edebiyat” diye bir akım doğmuştur. Edebiyatta milli kaynaklara dönme düşüncesiyle
ideolojik olarak güdülenmiş bu yönelim, dilde sadeleşme, aruz vezni yerine hece
vezni kullanma, yerli hayatı yansıtma gibi milliyetçi bir perspektif sunar. Bu milli
hareketin edebi üretimleri paradoksal olarak Fransız, Rus ve İngiliz Edebiyatı’nın
etkisinde yazılmıştır. Daha sonra, toplumsal sorunları vurgulayan sosyal gerçekçi
edebiyatın yanısıra 1960’lı yıllarda doğan Türkçü bir yönelim var ki, o dönem yazılan
kitaplar Türkiye toplumunun kollektif kimlik endişesini açığa vururcasına Türklüğün
kökenlerine odaklı anlatılardan oluşur. [Bu konuda Murat Belge’nin “Genesis-Büyük Ulusal Anlatı ve Türklerin Kökeni” adlı kitabı çarpıcı bir incelemedir.] Tarihi unsurları saptıran, hamaset dolu,
başka milletleri aşağılayan bu akımın sığlığına ve gelip geçiciliğine rağmen nasıl
kalıcı izler bıraktığını günümüzde görmek zor değil. Toplulumumuzdaki Türk-Sünni
eşleşmesinin zihinsel bir gen haline gelmesi, önü alınamaz nefret, yabancı korkusu,
etnik unsurlara ve azınlık dinlerine karşı takınılan dışlayıcı dil ve düşmanlıkta, bu
dönemin güdümlü yazarlarının herhalde payı vardır. Neyse ki gerçek edebiyat ancak
özgür ve özgün olduğu sürece canlı kalır. Onca zihinsel dayatmaya rağmen bugün
güçlü bir Türk edebiyatı oluşmuşsa, edebiyatı taçlandıran bağımsız yazarların
entellektüel haysiyetleri sayesinde olmuştur. Zamanı incitmekten korkmayan,
katliamlarla yüzleşen, muhafazakar hassasiyetlere sırt çeviren, faşizme direnen,
kültürün altını oyan, resmi tarih algısında yara açan, kimlik politikalarını alaşağı eden,
her türlü cinsiyetçi, heteroseksist, homofobik düşünce biçimlerine karşı tetikte olan
yazarlar sayesinde bugün hatırı sayılır bir Türkçe edebiyattan söz edebiliriz. Eğer biz
bugün özgüvenle ve müdanasızca yazı yazabiliyorsak, vaktiyle yazıyı varoluşsal bir
eylem olarak gerçekleştiren özgürlükçü yazar atalarımız sayesindedir.

Kişisel olarak kendi yazarlık dinamiğimin kökeninden söz etmem gerekirse, doğal
olarak ulusal edebiyat çerçevesinin dışına çıkmam gerekir. Zaten dünyanın bütün
yazarları gerçekte vatansızdır. Ben de birçokları gibi teskin edilemez bir gurbetlik
duygusu, sürgünlük kederi, doğadan koparılmış olmanın iç sıkıntısı, sıradüzenli
zamana ayak uyduramamaya içkin parçalanmışlık duygusuyla uyumsuzluk
çekerim. Öte yandan, belleksel bir varlık olarak kendime zihinsel bir çerçeve
çizmeye kalkıştığım zaman, Akdeniz havzasından Mezopotamya’ya, Orta Doğu’dan
Anadolu’ya geniş ve tarihsel olarak köklü bir coğrafyanın yerlisi olmaktan ötürü
narsistik bir doygunluk duygusuyla teselli bulurum. Kısacası kadim olan sayesinde
yurtsuzluk duygusuna göğüs gerebiliyorum. Bu zihinsel coğrafya, bütün semavi
dinleri, temas ettiğim bütün Yunanlı tanrıları, Sümer’den kalan mitleri, İranlı şairleri,
Arap filozofları, Yahudi kabalistleri, Ermeni masallarını, Kürt dengbejlerini, Helen
mimarisini, zeytin ehli Rum çifçilerin doğa bilgisini, Türkmen boylarının Şamanistik
geleneklerini, Çingene şarkılarını ve daha nice halkın melekelerini ve anlatılarını
içerir. Gelin görün ki Türkiye’nin dışına çıkar çıkmaz, yalnızca ve yalnızca Türk ve
Müslüman bir kadın yazar olmakla işaretlenir bazı edebiyat ortamlarına sadece bu
işaretle kabul edilirim. Vurgu hep bu yöndedir. Sürekli İslamiyet konusunda sorulara
maruz kalırım. Endonezya’daki Ubud Festivalinde Arap masal kahramanı Sinbad’dan
söz etmemi isterler, Almanya’da İslamafobi tartışmalarına davet edilirim, laiklik
ilkesiyle tanınan Fransa’da Liberation gazetesinde Müslüman bir ülkede kadın olmak
gibi son derece antilaik bir yaklaşımı tartışmak zorunda kalırım. Mesele konular
değil, mesele bu konular aracılığıyla “bir temsilci”ye indirgenmektir. Aşmam gereken
sorulardan fırsat kalırsa, avına atlayan kedi çevikliğiyle bir çırpıda kendi edebi
anlayışımdan söz ederim. Türkiye’deki zihinsel kalıplar, ulusçu düşünüşün dayattığı
dil alışkanlıkları, vasatlığın iktidar olduğu basitleştirici tutumlar, popüler kültürün
kıyıcılığı, her gün uğradığım cinsiyetçi yaklaşımlar, yazarla okur arasındaki uçurum
yetmezmiş gibi, yurt dışında da sonu gelmez önyargılar ve eksik bilgilerle donatılmış
başka bir Türkiye algısıyla baş etmek zorunda kalırım. Diyeceğim, benim için ülke
denilen mevhum içimde bir dert, dışımda günbegün ağırlaşan bir kamburdur. Onu ne
temsil etmek isterim ne de onun tarafından temsil edilmek. Hele ki dünyadaki bütün
seyri halklardan halklara geçmek şeklinde algılayan biri olarak, bir ülkenin sınırından
başka bir ülkenin sınırına geçmek, benim için daimi bir hezimettir.

Tam da bu noktada bir pasaport ve ancak vizeyle başka ülkeye giriş yapan
yazarın her an tehdit altında olan bağımsızlığını tanımak ve o bağımsızlığa saygı
göstermek bana göre basit bir terbiye kuralı değil, ahlaki bir tutumdur. Yapıtını
temsil eden sanatçıya, merkeziyetçi ve tekkültürcü bir çerçeveden baktığımız
zaman görebileceğimiz kişi yalnızca bir vatandaş olacaktır. Bugünkü postmodern
kapitalist sistemin bütün dünyanın yerlilerine önerdiği yaşama biçimi, aslında sadece
vatandaşlık kurumudur. Dolayısıyla sanatçıyı dolaşıma sokan bütün kurumların,
yayınevlerinin, editörlerin, kültür ve sanat ideologlarının, akademisyenlerin samimi
demokratlıkları yaşamsal bir önem taşıyor.

Kabul etmeliyiz ki, rastladığımız bütün güzellikler kuşkulu. Devletler edebiyat
çevirileri için fon ayırıyor, resmi bakanlıklar sinemaya destek veriyor, uluslararası
organizasyonlar devasa kültür projelerine yatırım yapıyor, yüksek sosyeteye hizmet
veren giyim firmaları sanat galerileri açıyor ve böylece her yaratıcı eylem kontrol
altına alıyor. Vatandaşlık tabiiyetiyle sisteme paçasını kaptıran sanatçı, duymak
istenileni söyleyen uzlaşmacı bir role davet ediliyor. Huzursuz etmeyecek ölçüde
yaramaz, sempati duyulacak kadar çılgın, makul ölçüde deli sanatçılar… Çağımızı
tehdit eden işte bu gizli evcilleşmedir. Ulusla başlayıp vatandaşlıkla tamamına eren
evcillik. Ancak hatırlamalıyız ki Afganistan’da yağmalanan arkeolojik eserler bir
Avrupa şehrinin müzesinde sergileniyorsa, her güzelliğe uluslarası savaşların gölgesi
düşmüş ve düşecek demektir. Tam da bu noktada sanat taşıyıcısının haysiyeti, sanat
nesnesinin güzelliğinden çok daha elzemdir. Hölderlin’in emanet ettiği gibi göksel
şeylere ad vermeye devam edeceksek, önce haysiyetimize sahip çıkmalı, daha sonra
biz, hepimiz, beraberce diyaloğun ta kendisi olmalıyız.

Copyright: Sema Kaygusuz, 2013

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KAYGUSUZ & KARNEZIS – A National Literature? http://www.edinburghworldwritersconference.org/national-literature/kaygusuz-karnezis-a-national-literature/ http://www.edinburghworldwritersconference.org/national-literature/kaygusuz-karnezis-a-national-literature/#comments Wed, 27 Feb 2013 13:27:25 +0000 maceymarini http://www.edinburghworldwritersconference.org/?p=3613 Edinburgh World Writers' Conference, Izmir Wednesday 27 February 2:00pm EET A National Literature? Keynote given by Sema Kaygusuz, with a response by Panos Karnezis.]]> sema-karnezis-360px

Edinburgh World Writers’ Conference, Izmir

Wednesday 27 February 2:00pm EET

A National Literature?

Keynote by: Sema Kaygusuz with a response by Panos Karnezis.

For more information have a look at the event e-flyer.

Author Biographies:

Sema Kaygusuz is a fiction writer living in Istanbul. After publishing three collections of short stories, which won some of the most prestigious literary awards in Turkey, her first novel Yere Düsen Dualar (Prayers Falling on Earth) was published in 2006. The novel met with unanimous acclaim from both the Turkish and the international reviewers and won the 2009 Ecrimed-Cultura translation award,  the 2010 France-Turquie award in France, and the 2010 Balkanika award including six Balkan countries (Albania, Bulgaria, Greece, Romania, Serbia, Turkey). Her second novel, Yüzünde Bir Yer (A Place on Your Face), was published in 2009 and praised as the “literary Guernica”. Yüzünde Bir Yer will be published in April 2013 by Actes Sud in France. Her most recent narration, Karaduygun (Melancholic), was published in 2012 and will be published in March 2013 by Matthes & Seitz in Germany. Sema Kaygusuz is also the co-author of the movie script of Pandora’s Box, which won in 2008 The Golden Shell Best Film Award at the San Sebastian Film Festival. (Image credit: Muhsin Akgun)

Panos Karnezis was born in Greece in 1967 and came to England in 1992. He studied engineering and worked in industry, then studied for an MA in Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia. His first book, Little Infamies (2002) is a collection of connected short stories set in one nameless Greek village, and his second book, The Maze (2004), is a novel set in Anatolia in 1922. It was shortlisted for the 2004 Whitbread First Novel Award. Short stories by Panos Karnezis have been broadcast by BBC Radio 4 and have appeared in magazines in the UK and abroad. His novels are The Maze (2004), The Birthday Party (2007) and The Convent (2010). Panos Karnezis lives in London. (Image credit: Vana Avgerinou)



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Denise Mina on travelling to Turkey for EWWC http://www.edinburghworldwritersconference.org/the-future-of-the-novel/denise-mina-on-travelling-to-turkey-for-ewwc/ http://www.edinburghworldwritersconference.org/the-future-of-the-novel/denise-mina-on-travelling-to-turkey-for-ewwc/#comments Tue, 26 Feb 2013 14:00:27 +0000 tanyaandrews http://www.edinburghworldwritersconference.org/?p=3995 Denise Mina,  © Neil DavidsonGlaswegian Denise Mina is the author of 14 visceral, disturbing yet humane and witty crime novels. She also writes comics, short stories, and presents on TV and radio. In 2012 her novel The End of the Wasp Season won the Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award. She’ll be responding to Inci Aral’s keynote on the Future of the Novel at EWWC Izmir later this week and before she left, we had a chat about the thorny issue of copyright, why sitting on your ego for 5 days is a Good Thing, and the possibilities of Cowboy Fiction in the future.

EWWC: You’re discussing the ‘Future of the Novel’ in Turkey with Inci Aral. At Edinburgh you instigated a closed session with the writers present for a discussion of the market, which led to the production of a statement addressing writers’ rights and challenges with regard to copyright and distribution. This took place before the debate on the Future of the Novel and China Miéville’s controversial address, in which he said “Not only do we approach an era when absolutely no one who really doesn’t want to pay for a book will have to, but one in which the digital availability of the text alters the relationship between reader, writer, and book. The text won’t be closed.”  What are your thoughts on this? Have they developed since last August?

DM: I’ve actually been researching this subject a lot more and feel it’s something that we, as writers, really need to address. There are types of digital copyright often imposed on people, especially for journalistic articles, which often mean that anybody can go in and change anything you’ve written, like an open programme on a computer. There’s a big groundswell movement against that, not just for financial reasons but also for the integrity of the work. I think we need to get organised on an international level to either try and change the notion of copyright or find another means of owning intellectual property. I think we’re going to need a much bigger discussion which looks carefully at what the notion of authorship is. At some point in the future, maybe quite soon, there just isn’t going to be an artefact like a book anymore.

EWWC: As EWWC continues over this year we’re hearing a variety of viewpoints on this subject from all over the world. How do you see this movement panning out?

DM: I think everybody has to get stuck in. I’d like to speak to other people in other parts of the world to find out what their experience of this problem is. I suspect that people writing in the three dominant languages of Spanish, Chinese and English are experiencing these things before other people, simply because we are disseminated more widely. And if we feel in any way guilty about dominating the world and freezing out minority language writers, then this is one way of starting to right the balance – of finding ways to protect other writers’ rights. It’s not just about making money for writers, it means that if these developments go unchecked, working class people will not be able to publish because they won’t be able to make any money. I think that rather than talk about what we should do, we should start by sharing information internationally so we get a rounded picture of what’s going on.

The great thing about the Writers’ Conference is that it establishes channels for writers to be able to pass on information – that’s what’s brilliant about it.

EWWC: The participants in the EWWC, both at Edinburgh and internationally, represent a range of writing genres. Do you think the copyright issue is something which is experienced more sharply in some genres than others?

DM: [In crime fiction] We’re fairly well protected because we have agents, and because there’s money in it. I think it’s felt far more keenly by people who struggle to get their works out there because there’s no money in it for anybody, so nobody has any interest in protecting their rights. The gulf that’s emerging between those authors whose work sells very well and those whose doesn’t sell at all is getting wider and wider. All the power is being concentrated in the hands of fewer and fewer people. We need to appreciate that as writers we are a community, and we do have to protect people coming after us. People are really keen to do that, but they need a kick up the arse as well.

EWWC: A few days before the EWWC in Edinburgh you wrote “I want to leave the conference with that peculiar, epiphanous, synaptic twang. I want to leave with more questions than I came with. I want to leave wondering.” Five months on, what do you think about the project and its role?

DM: You know what? We really did establish a community, and that’s continued. It’s fairly hard for writers, who are used to being the most important person in the room, to be in a room with 50 other incredibly special people. So for us all to sit on our egos and do that every day for a week was a fairly difficult call. I think it’s only after a few months you can look back and you realise, God! Those people were brilliant. I really loved that. It was just so stimulating. Incredibly stimulating. And being in a group of incredibly clever, thoughtful people made a lot of us up our game. You really had to sharpen up. It’s the difference between being the cleverest person in the pub and being at university.

I left with huge questions, like Are we a community? Who’s in the community? Who counts as a writer? What can we do to protect each other? What can we do to protect forms which aren’t even emerging yet? Because I think there’s a lot coming that’s going to change fundamentally.

EWWC: What hopes do you have for the Turkish events?

DM: I’ll be really interested to hear about the Turkish take on censorship, because I’m very unclear on what the situation is over there. In Edinburgh Patrick [Ness] talked very much about self-censorship and I’m very interested to hear what that sounds like in a different culture with different cultural mores. Particularly so in Turkey, at the crossroads between western traditional values and eastern values. I’m also really interested in the future of the novel and what people have to say on that topic in that context. I’m so looking forward to it.

EWWC: What questions do you think a World Writers’ Conference in 50 years’ time might address?

DM: I think they would probably be very different. I think the novel will be a different thing, I don’t know if it will be called the novel – perhaps the subject would be the future of fiction. I think the schisms between high art and low art, or populist art, will be exactly the same but the lines all be in completely different places; crime fiction will become cowboy fiction, or something! Censorship: I think that could go either way, it could either be a massive issue or not an issue at all. National literature I think will probably be an irrelevant question. I think it’s almost irrelevant now.

EWWC: And finally … If you had to be exiled permanently to one of the EWWC cities – Edinburgh, Berlin, Cape Town, Toronto, Krasnoyarsk, Cairo, Jaipur, Beijing, Izmir, Brussels, Lisbon, Port of Spain (Trinidad), St Malo, Kuala Lumpur & Melbourne – which would you choose and why?

DM: It would have to be Edinburgh – then I wouldn’t have to travel too far to be near my family.

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