anthology

Successor to Expat Harem Launches: Expat Sofra

So thrilled to share this expat lit news! Screen Shot 2015-01-01 at 4.07.53 PM

Katherine Belliel and Rose Margaret Deniz, (Expat Harem book and blog writers you'll recognize whom I've had the privilege and pleasure of working with for many years) are now calling for submissions to their new anthology for expat women writers who've lived in Turkey.

It's called Expat Sofra: A Gathering of Foreign Voices Around the Turkish Table.

Screen Shot 2015-01-01 at 4.18.54 PM As they explain,

"Follow in the footsteps of Tales from the Expat Harem by going deep into personal, introspective experiences that have a love and respect for the local culture and traditions.

"Sofra invites you to a second course by taking a seat at the Turkish table.

"Just as the sofra is the heart of the Turkish hearth, we want stories that are steeped in the experience of being an expat in Turkey. The editors have a combined twenty-five years in Turkey and are editing this compilation of essays to give back to the culture that has nourished their lives abroad."

If you've lived in Turkey for at least a year, or know someone who has, take a look at the call for submissions, open to April 1, 2015.

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"At the heart of every story is a flavor. Expats pack their bags with spices from home to find that incorporating it into meals, and subsequently their life abroad, can require trial and error, a sense of humor, and even failure. Relationships flop. Meals get burnt. Life abroad does not taste the same. But it evolves. Becomes enriched. And can even become decadent."

Eggshells-of-everything: fiction author Wendy J. Fox's domain

IMG_6311So pleased for Wendy J Fox, winner of the 2014 Press 53 Award for short fiction -- which resulted in today's publication of "The Seven Stages of Anger"! IMG_6312

Thanks Wendy, for the opportunity to read your collection in advance, and for your lovely note. I am likewise inspired by you!

(I had the pleasure of working with Wendy for the Expat Harem anthology.)

IMG_6313My review: "Wendy Fox's prose is strong and fragile at the same time. As she explores in these stories the hairline fractures in our relationships with life, ourselves and each other, you can't help but hold your breath for the big break you know is coming. The eggshells of everything? Fox owns the category."

Featured By Global Living Magazine As One Of Best Expat Books

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Thanks to Shelley Antscherl for naming Expat Harem among best expat anthologies in the January/February 2014 issue of Global Living Magazine!

I'm proud the book is listed alongside the work of editors like Suzanne Kamata of "Call Me Okasaan: Adventures In Multicultural Mothering", Monica Neboli of "Drinking Camel's Milk In The Yurt: Expat Stories from Kazahkstan", Diane Dicks of "Ticking Along Too: Stories About Switzerland", and Kate Cobb of "Turning Points25 Inspiring Stories From Women Entrepreneurs Who Turned Their Careers and Their Lives Around".

And thanks to Summertime Publishing publisher, Expat Book Shop proprietress and fellow expat writer Jo Parfitt for the review. "A fine bit of not just good writing, but literary writing, and that is due to the fabulous work of the editors."

See what else is in the issue here. Screen Shot 2014-01-18 at 8.38.03 AM Global Living is a luxury lifestyle magazine for global citizens and sophisticated internationals who live, have lived, or may someday will live outside their country of origin.

Turkey's Top Selling Novelist Elif Shafak Recommends Expat Harem in The Telegraph

Screen Shot 2013-09-20 at 9.13.43 AM Thanks, Elif!

Turkey's highest selling novelist Elif Shafak recommends Tales from the Expat Harem, the anthology I coedited with Jennifer Gokmen, in the United Kingdom's Daily Telegraph.

In "Flights of the imagination: Elif Shafak on books about Turkey", she writes about Expat Harem:

"It brings out the voices of Western and Eastern women in Turkey. Travellers, students, teachers, housewives – the cultural shock that some of them went through, their personal encounters and how they made Turkey, or perhaps limbo, their home."

Elif also wrote the foreword to our book back in 2005 for the Turkish Dogan Kitap editions in both English and Turkish!

The Accidental Anthologist: Creating A Literary Harem

All the editions of Expat Harem bookTurkey often makes the news for suppressing its authors. Ironically, as an American expatriate in Istanbul I found my voice -- by creating a literary harem of my expat peers. My third month in Istanbul I found my way to an American women's social club. Milling among the crowd at the consul general's residence, I introduced myself by describing my writing project.

"At 40? You're too young to write a memoir," snorted a white haired librarian as she arranged second-hand books on a card table.

"Istanbul's such chaos, I'd be surprised if you can concentrate," thought a freckled socialite in tasseled loafers.

My memoir was going to happen. It had to. It was the cornerstone of my survival plan.

 

MY BRILLIANT CAREER WAS PORTABLE. I moved to Istanbul in 2003 so my Turkish husband could take a job in mobile telecommunications. Even though I lacked a formal proposal for my high-concept travel memoir charting the peaks and valleys of what I was calling “an adventurous life,” I already had a literary agent waiting to champion it. I was thrilled my spouse would be developing the kind of advanced cell phone software that excites him and that emerging economies demand. Yet my international move required a defense strategy.

"I'm not going to waste a minute sitting in language classes, diminishing my facility with English," I informed him.

"Whatever makes you happy," he replied.

In my mind I'd be on an extended writer's retreat, free from the daily distractions of our “real life” in New York City, where we had met.

I'd be an asocial expatriate writer who would one day emerge at the border clutching my passport and a masterpiece.

This exotic vision had been percolating since I'd last been an expat—in Malaysia. I’d spent five years rotting away in the tropics like a less-prolific—and more sober—Somerset Maugham.

Foremost to decay in the equatorial heat was my personality—the core of my writing voice.

In steamy Southeast Asia, my first long-term stint overseas, language and cultural barriers prevented me from expressing even the simplest aspects of my identity. When I told people I was a writer they'd reply, "Horses?"

 

I WAS DECOMPOSING at time-lapse speed. Vintage handbags and L.A. sandals sprouted green fungus overnight, while silvery bugs infested my college texts and a decade of diaries. I was also mistaken for a very different kind of Western woman in Asia, like when a crew of Indonesian laborers working at my house wondered when I was going to drink a beer and take off my shirt.

Three years later, in cosmopolitan Istanbul, I was a resurrected ambitious American prepared for my future. I imagined a successful literary life abroad—supported by a defensive version of expatriatism. "This move won't turn my world upside down," I cockily assured worried friends and relatives, who recalled my anguished Kuala Lumpur days.

Now I was all about the work. My plan to avoid alienation in Turkey was foolproof.

Istanbul, a hilly metropolis of 12 million, made Kuala Lumpur look like the sleepy river town it is. I couldn't envision navigating a car on its traffic-logged streets or squeezing into public minibuses or straying too far alone without a translator. I couldn't wait to hole up at home with my computer, DSL connection and a view of the Bosphorus.

Upon my arrival I joined an expat social club for some English speaking company. There I met the scolding librarian and the socialite. I also ran into an upbeat Michigan writer named Jennifer Gökmen, a 10-year émigré also married to a Turk. She had no doubt I would write my memoir. We both needed some writing support so we created a workshop with a handful of other American women.

Within weeks, the memoir stalled as I struggled to map my entire existence... dear god, what's the arc of my life? Maybe that caustic librarian was right! My resistance to Turkey started to wear down.

Jennifer and I began playing with a proposal of our own: an anthology incorporating essays about our Turkish lives.

I was bursting with that kind of material. The cultural gauntlet I faced on my first trip to meet the family. My glitzy Istanbul wedding. Inspired by the original harem of the 15th century Ottoman sultans, where foreign-born women shared their cultural wisdoms, new arrivals comparing notes with old hands, we figured we formed a modern version: the Expat Harem.

And that’s when the harem walls closed in.

 

SILENCED BY WHOOPING COUGH: I contracted a mysterious and ancient ailment of the pharynx. Local doctors unfamiliar with the diagnosis prescribed medications for asthma and antibiotics to treat a lung infection, neither of which I had. I passed the cough to Jennifer. For the next six months we were both homebound, hacking to the point of incontinence, succumbing to every little flu. I avoided anything that might incite a new round of spasms, like conversation and laughter, the coal smoke emanating from rural shanties, chills from the ancient city's stone walls, gusts of autumn blowing down from the Black Sea. The only thing Jennifer and I were suited for was speechlessly working, and we only wanted to think about the anthology.

"Embedded here, we're destined to be alien."

I brainstormed in an email to Jennifer, pointing out the dilemma of life abroad—even for those who want to blend in to local culture, it’s near impossible. Our cultural instincts will forever lead us to different choices— from simple aesthetics like lipstick color to complicated interpersonal communications.

Topkapi Palace harem door by A.Ashman

"The Expat Harem is a place of female power," she shot back, linking us to an Eastern feminist continuum little known in the Western world.

Harem communities offered women the possibility of power—in the imperial harem, they offered the greatest power available to women in this region. These women had the sultan's ear, they were the mothers of sultans. Several harem women shadow-ran the Ottoman empire, while others co-ruled.

Giddy with our anachronistic metaphor, I replied.

"Ethnocentric prison or refuge of peers—sometimes it's hard to tell which way the door is swinging!"

Like a secret password, news spread as we called for submissions from writers, travelers and Turkophiles. Fascinating women from fourteen nations poured their stories into our in-boxes. They shared how their lives had been transformed by this Mediterranean country in the past 50 years, moments that challenged their values and their destinies as nurses and scientists, Peace Corps volunteers and artists.

These women's tales were not universally known.

Many had never before been published and all were minority voices in a Muslim country with a reputation for censorship.

 

ALTERNATE REALITIES flooded over me: eerie Sufi pilgrimages to Konya, the intimacies of anthropological fieldwork on the Black Sea, glimpses of '70s civic unrest in Ankara, a wistful gardener's search for the perfect Ottoman rose in Afyon. Many represented a depth of involvement with the country I couldn't imagine: harvesting dusty hazelnuts on a brambly hillside, trying to follow the 9/8 rhythms of a clapping Gypsy, sharing space on a city bus with a dancing bear in the Technicolor 1950s.

I whispered to Jennifer, "Compared to these women, I'm a cultural wimp!"

Their struggles to assimilate nudged me to forgive my own resistance, and inspired me to discover the country, the culture and the Turkish people.

Now I could use the editing skills I had been suppressing since I was an infuriating child who returned people's letters corrected with red pen. From the comfort of my home office-with-a-foreign-zipcode, I was able to shape other writers’ stories. The anthology rewarded me for postponing the memoir, by laying the foundations for a more insightful next book. The joys of collaborating with writers from my home office clarified confusing aspects of my character—like how I am a prickly introvert who nevertheless craves connection with people.

One late winter day Jennifer and I stopped coughing and sold Tales from the Expat Harem to Doğan Kitap, a prominent Turkish publisher.

"That's more like it," snapped the librarian when I next saw her at a club meeting, my reputation somewhat rehabilitated in her eyes.

Four decades’ worth of expatriate self-discoveries earned its shelf space, more than my own 40-year life story would have.

"It's a love-letter to the country. I put it on my house guests' pillows!" shared the smiling socialite.

The anthology became a #1 English-language bestseller in Turkey and was recommended as a social and cultural guide by National Geographic Traveler and Lonely Planet.

My literary career and conflicted mindset about life abroad now had a promising new cultural context in the expat harem.

 

I FOUND MY THEORETICAL HOME. I arrived an insular writer afraid of losing my voice. In a temporary silence, Turkey suggested an empowering metaphor. It seems the country not only connected me to a worldwide band of my global nomad and expat writing peers, it provided a place to flourish out of restriction -- and raised my voice in the cultural conversation.

[This essay first appeared in JANERA: The Voice of Global Nomads, January 2008]

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What surprise context has your location provided you?

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[18 months, 2 expat writers, one feminist travel anthology with three editions. Our first book! A bestseller. How'd we do it? Read the story of making Tales from the Expat Harem]

Decomposing Self: Misplacing Your Most Valuable Expatriate Possession

Happily at home in Istanbul in 2007, I flipped through Unsuitable for Ladies. Edited by Jane Robinson, this anthology of female travel writing crisscrosses the globe and stretches back into ancient history. Complete candy for me. Around the same time I was ruminating in an essay for a global nomad magazine why I've come to employ a defensive strategy for my expatriatism.

Sense of self is my most valuable expatriate possession.

During my first long-term stint overseas in the '90s my boundaries were over-run by circumstance and culture. Language and cultural barriers prevented me from expressing my identity. I'd tell Malaysians I was a writer. They'd reply, "Horses?"

I was mistaken for a different Western woman in Asia. A crew of Indonesian laborers working at my house wondered when I was going to drink a beer and take off my shirt.

Like leather shoes and handbags molding overnight, expat life on the equator made me feel my sense of self was decomposing at time-lapse speed.

A thunderbolt from Robinson: "Southeast Asia has more than its share of reluctant women travelers."

She compiled Wayward Women, a survey of 350 female travel writers through 16 centuries so her conclusion about Southeast Asian travelers is drawn from a massive canon. In that moment, my hardest-won lessons of expatriatism felt vindicated.

What happens to your unique travel or expat experience if you consider yourself part of a continuum?

Check out some of expat+HAREM's favorite hybrid life reads here.

Spot-On. Literary. Insightful. My Book Expat Harem In Telegraph UK

Jo Parfitt reviews Tales From The Expat Harem in UK Telegraph"This is not just another anthology by expat wives who long to get in print," writes the veteran book author and publisher Jo Parfitt in the Telegraph UK.

"This is a wonderful book; beautifully written, thought-provoking and inspiring.

 

"Every essay is spot on, literary and insightful. Grouped into sections, they cover everything from relationships with Turks and non-Turks to the food, the music, the humour and the passion. Be ready to book a flight to Istanbul afterwards."

Thanks, Jo!

Expat Harem Are Women On The Brink

This is the introduction Jennifer Gokmen and I wrote to the book Tales From The Expat Harem:

If there were ever a place tailor-made to play host to wanderers, travelers and those pursuing lives outside their original territory, surely Turkey is that place.

 

The perpetual evolution that travel and cultural assimilation visits upon the foreign born women in this collection echoes the continuous transformation that envelops the entire country. Threshold to worlds East or West depending on which way one faces, Turkey is itself a unique metaphor for transition.

Forming a geographic bridge between the continents of Europe and Asia and a philosophical link between the spheres of Occident and Orient, Turkey is neither one of the places it connects.  Similarly, foreign women on Turkish soil are neither what nor who they used to be, yet not fully transformed by their brush with Turkey.

Our Expat Harem women are on the brink of reclassifying themselves, challenged to redefine their lives, to rethink their definitions of spirituality, femininity, sensuality and self.

Aligned in their ever-shifting contexts, both Turkey and the expatriate share a bond of constant metamorphosis.

 

  • Delirious with influenza, a friendless Australian realizes the value of misafır perverlik, traditional Turkish hospitality, when she’s rescued from her freezing rental by unknown Anatolian neighbors bearing food and medicinal tea;
  • a pregnant and introverted Irishwoman faces the challenge of finding her place in a large Black Sea family;
  • a Peace Corps volunteer in remote Eastern Turkey realizes how the taboos of her own culture color her perceptions;
  • and a liberated New York single questions the gallant rules of engagement on the İstanbul dating scene, wondering whether being treated like a lady makes her less a feminist.

 

These are among the Tales from the Expat Harem.

The titillating, anachronistic title acknowledges erroneous yet prevalent Western stereotypes about Asia Minor and the entire Muslim world, while also declaring that our storytellers share a common bond with the denizens of a traditional Turkish harem.

 

Much like the imported brides of the Seraglio, İstanbul’s 15th century palatial seat of the Ottoman sultanate, our writers are inextricably wedded to Turkish culture, embedded in it even, yet alien nonetheless.

If a harem in the time of the sultans was once a confined community of women, a setting steeped in the feminine culture of its era, then today’s Expat Harem surely follows in its tradition.

Virtual and mainly of mindset, this newly coined community of expatriate women in modern Turkey is conjured by the shared circumstance of being foreign-born and female in a land laced with the history of the harem.

 

Like the insular life in the Seraglio of the past, foreign women in today’s Turkey can often be a self-restricting and isolated coterie, newcomers initially limited in independence and social interaction due to language barriers, cultural naiveté and a resilient ethnocentricity.

Tales from the Expat Harem reveal both the personal cultural prison of the initiate and the peer-filled refuge of those assimilated. Our harem is a source of foreign female wisdom, a metaphoric primer for novices and a refresher for old hands.

Our Scheherazades, modern day counterparts of that historic Arabian Nights harem storyteller, are drawn from a worldwide diaspora of women whose lives have been touched by Turkey.

When our call for stories reached them, through networks of people and computers, we heard from a multitude of expatriates in West Africa to Southeast Asia to America’s Pacific Northwest, all desiring to be counted and to recount their sagas.

By telephone from her home in California, an artist who studied illuminated manuscripts at Topkapı Sarayı was the first to admit the precious affliction she shares with many of her harem sisters: “Turkey gets into your blood. I’m an addict now.”

As editors we faced the delicate task of administrating the Expat Harem’s stories, preparing womanly wisdom for safekeeping. Managing the epic enterprise with its ticklish spectrum of cultural appreciation and feminine self-portraiture, our nights were nearly as sleepless as Scheherazade’s!

 

For months we coaxed diplomats, nurses, chefs and others to explore and express their truths about Turkey in a culturally balanced tone.

Some were not professional writers and some were unable to commit their tale to paper. Of those who did, only a fraction survived the editing process.

But affinities emerged as each woman divulged her internal journey and lasting emotional connection to the place and its people. Systems engineers and hoteliers, missionaries and clothing producers, artists, journalists, and others each share a fierce affection for Turkey.

Revealing what Turkish culture has yielded in their lives, they unspool humorous and poignant adventures at weddings in cobbled Byzantine streets, Ottoman bathhouses, and boisterous bazaars along the Silk Road.

In atmospheric travelogue through a countryside still echoing the old ways, through Giresun and Göreme, they transport us on emotional journeys of assimilation into friendship, neighborhood, wifehood, and motherhood.

Modern women in the real world, they take us along on their quests for national identity, business ownership and property possession.

What follows is a literary version of the virtual, modern harem’s never-ending gathering of women, day melting into night, a relaxed feast while delighting in each other’s diverse company, acting out scenes of cultural contrast and discovery.

 

The country rewards seekers, a veiled place insisting on being uncovered. In the process of discovering Turkey, contemporary women of the Expat Harem unmask themselves as well.

In narratives illuminating imperfect human nature and the fullest possible cultural embrace, our Scheherazades wrestle urges to overly-exoticize the unfamiliar and strive to balance self preservation with the fresh expectations placed on them by Turkish culture.

Some delve deep into interiors of country and psyche, like the shy teacher transformed by the full frontal impact of a 13th century Central Anatolian hamam.

Others teeter on the comic edge of a cultural divide, like the archaeologist who sparks hilarity in the trenches at Troy before language skills supplant vaudevillian pantomime.

In attempting to reconcile countless episodes of unconditional native generosity, expatriate women of the harem learn to accept a new emotional calculus.

 

A mid-life dancer mincing her way through the alleys of İstanbul’s bohemian Beyoğlu district to the beat of a darbuka drum invokes Mary Oliver’s poetic revelation, one that echoes in every tale from the Expat Harem:

 

“I was a bride married to amazement."

Call For Submissions For The Expat Harem Collection

Calling all women writers who have lived, worked, studied or traveled in Turkey for at least a year: Contribute your voice to a new anthology of foreign women’s reflections on modern Turkey. Deadline: August 1, 2004 TALES FROM THE EXPAT HAREM: Foreign Women in Modern Turkey, edited by Anastasia M. Ashman and Jennifer Eaton Gokmen

The book aims to be a personal, entertaining read for both students and scholars of Turkey as well as armchair cultural travelers, fans of women’s literature, and expatriates of all stripes.

During Ottoman rule, the word 'harem' (from the word ‘haram’, meaning sacred and forbidden) referred to both the population as well as the living quarters of the foreign-born brides and servants of the Turkish sultan. An intimate and confined community of women, it was a place for sharing womanly wisdom and cultivating cultural tradition.

In this non-fiction anthology we invoke a modern day Turkish harem with its chorus of voices and shared female experience -- in the sense that the expatriate population is naturally cohesive and isolated due to the process of assimilation. Newcomers learning to maneuver within a new set of variables and cultural boundaries necessarily experience a limitation of freedom: language barriers act as an obstacle to travel and independence, cultural naivete hinders social interaction, and ethnocentric rigidity impedes dynamic experience.

Taking the reader on humorous and poignant journeys of cultural contrast and discovery, our contributors break free of the confines of the harem, breaching the confined world of the unassimilated to touch the true heart of Turkey. Whether newly arrived or well-established expatriates, or Turks repatriating to their homeland after a long absence, all our contributors are foreign brides of modern Turkey: wedded to its culture, embedded in it even, and yet forever outsiders.

We are looking for high-quality personal essays, insightful flash non-fiction and colorful travelogue--in English, 2,500 words or less.  Unpublished work is preferred, although well-crafted previously published work will be considered.

Further information and to submit work please visit the rudimentary site: www.expatharem.com

Inquiries info@expatharem.com

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CHAPTERS:

  • LAST STOP ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS: The last city in Europe and the first city in Asia, arriving in continent-straddling Istanbul, Turkey naturally commits a person to a state of permanent limbo, an ever-shifting flux between West and East. An expatriate can tie herself into existential knots while transitioning into a culture that is itself a metaphor for transition.
  • PEDDLER IN THE BAZAAR: From the routine of the weekly open-air vegetable market to the entrancing delights of the Grand Bazaar, Turkey’s brisk street life includes haggling with street peddlers and shop keepers, narrow escapes from aggressive vendors, and sometimes deep friendships established over cups of tea. What makes the difference in still being quoted ‘tourist prices’ or becoming a vendor’s prized foreign customer? Other shopping issues.
  • DIVANS, HOOKAHS & COFFEE HOUSES:  Turks are a communal people, opting for interaction and conversation whenever possible, each demographic migrating towards their particular haunts: young people play backgammon in cafes, puffing on fruit-flavored tobacco from huge hookahs, while older men gather on street corners, under shady trees, or in smoky kahvehaneler to play cards and sip from tulip glasses.  In the Ottoman court the divan was the public audience room, traditionally a gathering place of men, but here refers to the social pursuits and behaviors of Turkish men – from football fanaticism and drinking with the lads to their particular blend of machismo tempered by acute sentimentality. How do Turks accommodate social expectations of foreign women, and how do expats adjust to the sometimes exhausting, invasive communal spirit?
  • KETTLES & CAULDRONS: Culinary effort equals family devotion and a freshly made dessert signals hospitality for the constant flow of “unexpected” guests. Any self-respecting cook lovingly creates time-consuming meals from scratch, efforts balanced by the lingering pleasure of dinners that last half the night.  Adventures in the kitchen, memorable meals, being a force-fed guest.
  • SALVES & SOOTHSAYERS: Since the early days of the Selcuk settlers, Turks have clung to their shamanistic roots, while the folk art of natural healing has been passed down through the generations. Clove for a toothache, licorice root for bronchial complaints, fennel tea as an herbal birth control method. Doorways hung with blue glass talismans for protection, fortunes divined from coffee grounds, supplications made to Telli Baba. Do old wives’ tales—like infertility from walking barefoot on a cold marble floor or jaundice caused by failure to urinate immediately after a scare—apply only to those born into the Turkish culture, or should everyone on Turkish soil heed their witchy wisdom?
  • SHIMMY AT THE DRUMBEAT: When a dish hits a restaurant floor, Turkish women will take it as an opening drum beat and get up and dance, so the joke goes. Traditional folkloric music and dance is in the blood, widely learned and performed by young and old, male and female, in formal costumed performances or just around the living room. An innate part of the Turkish psyche, song and dance can erupt at any moment and overwhelm even the most intrepid expatriate
  • HENNA'D HANDS:  Courting rituals both customary and modified to accommodate foreign brides and clashing cultures. From traditional village weddings to big city civil services to high society receptions covered by voracious paparazzi, weddings are colorful events in Turkey.  The traditions both high and low, ancient and modern, whether simply witnessed, or lived.
  • HAMAM:  The valide sultana, the ruler’s mother, once inspected prospective brides for her noble son in the hamam, the display venue for female comeliness.  It was also a place where women whiled away the hours in each others’ company. The traditional Turkish sauna and scrub remains a complex tradition of beauty practice, female retreat and even matriarchal power base, but our hamam doubles as a metaphor for acceptance into the Turkish female culture, and the value of female friendship.
  • PRECIOUS DARLINGS: Worth their weight in gold, children are revered in Turkish society. All segments of the population expect a young couple to procreate and then join together in raising the children, often redefining boundaries for expat women.  Elaborate circumcision customs.  Typical overindulgence of offspring balanced by honoring the homemaker and priority placed on family.
  • KEREVANSERAY: Traveling across the country, one witnesses places that still echo a way of life centuries old. Hospitality on the homesteads, natural wonders, historical ruins. Expat adventures across the expanse of the Turkish coasts and heartland.

 

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TIPS FOR WRITERS

We prefer personal essays with evocative language and dialogue, detailed description that sets the scene and sketches the people. You may have heard this type of writing referred to as creative or literary nonfiction – facts conveyed with the devices of a novelist.

TELL US A TALE, A MOMENT WHEN YOUR SENSE OF SELF WAS CHALLENGED, WHEN YOU LEARNED A TRUTH ABOUT TURKISH CULTURE.

SET THE STAGE – TELL US WHO YOU ARE, WHERE YOU ARE,  HOW YOU CAME TO BE THERE AND THEN TELL US WHAT HAPPENED.

BE SPECIFIC. FOCUS ON YOUR THEME WITH EVERY PARAGRAPH MOVING FORWARD TO YOUR DESTINATION, YOUR POINT. DESCRIBE DETAILS THAT YOU WANT US TO EXPERIENCE.   GIVE US A SENSE OF PLACE,  A SKETCH OF A PERSON. SIGHTS, SOUNDS, SMELLS.

BE LIKEABLE. REGARDLESS OF TOPIC, WIN US OVER WITH YOUR HUMANITY, YOUR HUMOR, YOUR GOOD INTENTIONS. REVEAL YOUR MOTIVATIONS, AND BE POSITIVE.

BE RELEVANT.  HOW DOES YOUR STORY FIT INTO THE BOOK? WHICH ASPECT OF TURKISH CULTURE, OR BEING A FOREIGN WOMAN IN TURKEY, DOES IT ILLUMINATE?

POSSIBLE BREAKING POINTS/BOUNDARIES/AREAS OF ILLUMINATION

  •  Code of Ethics
  • Morals
  • Independence
  • Common sense/folk wisdom
  • Expectations
  • Culture/Social conditioning
  • Fashion/trend-setting
  • Privacy
  • Modesty
  • Language skills
  • Femininity
  • Wifely duties/skills
  • Motherly duties/skills
  • Domestic skills (cooking, cleaning, shopping)
  • Mother-in-law

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TIPS FOR NONWRITERS

TELL US A TALE, A MOMENT WHEN YOUR SENSE OF SELF WAS CHALLENGED, WHEN YOU LEARNED A TRUTH ABOUT TURKISH CULTURE.

SET THE STAGE – TELL US WHO YOU ARE, WHERE YOU ARE, HOW YOU CAME TO BE THERE AND THEN TELL US WHAT HAPPENED.

BE SPECIFIC. FOCUS ON YOUR THEME WITH EVERY PARAGRAPH MOVING FORWARD TO YOUR DESTINATION, YOUR POINT. DESCRIBE DETAILS THAT YOU WANT US TO EXPERIENCE. GIVE US A SENSE OF PLACE, A SKETCH OF A PERSON. SIGHTS, SOUNDS, SMELLS.

BE LIKEABLE. REGARDLESS OF TOPIC, WIN US OVER WITH YOUR HUMANITY, YOUR HUMOR, YOUR GOOD INTENTIONS. REVEAL YOUR MOTIVATIONS, AND BE POSITIVE.

BE RELEVANT. HOW DOES YOUR STORY FIT INTO THE BOOK? WHICH ASPECT OF TURKISH CULTURE, OR BEING A FOREIGN WOMAN IN TURKEY, DOES IT ILLUMINATE?