Sunday, May 29, 2011

Kilims and Kitapler! A Celebration of Books and Carpets in Istanbul's Grand Bazaar

On a recent afternoon in May I was the guest of Hasan Semerci, a former English language teacher and proprietor of Adnan & Hasan's Carpets in Istanbul's Grand Bazaar for a reading and book signing. We gathered to celebrate literacy in Turkey. My host and guests donated copies of my newly released Turkish edition of Anahita's Woven Riddle (Sicak Bir Ask Masali) to public schools.

For more details about the Turkish edition please visit the publisher at Yakamoz Books. Yakamoz, for those of you who might be curious, translates as "moon light on the water."

For more details about Adnan & Hasan's Carpets, visit:

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Creativity Abounds in a Turkish Public High School

Today I had the pleasure of visiting with a first year high school English class at Sultanahmet Suphi Pasa School in the historic district of Istanbul, Turkey, to discuss creative writing. The students' view from the outdoor basket ball court is of the Blue Mosque--one of the most glorious mosques in the world!

I found the students in this school to be polite, engaging and creative. Nine or ten students raised their hands when asked if they would like to be writers or illustrators. We discussed the picture book The Shape of Betts Meadow and examined the initial sketches for this picture book. When talking about perspectives and point of view in writing and illustrating, one student offered that it would have been interesting if the book had been illustrated from the main character Gunnar's point of view. This is an idea that I had not heard before and find very intriguing. To view some of the illustrations of this book visit the link below.

Two students wrote poetry and another liked photography. The students enjoyed hearing my novel Anahita's Woven Riddle/ Sicak Bir Ask Masali read in English and then in Turkish. They said they practice writing descriptive stories also.
My visit ended on a lively note when two young men treated me and the class to a traditional Turkish dance. Someone switched on their ipod and the room filled with music, clapping and fancy footwork. Please see the video of these students' dance among the other films on the bar at the bottom of this blog. I am sorry I filmed it vertically, one of these days I will learn not to do this!

Visit again in the coming weeks for more details about my experiences in Turkey this spring.

Illustrations link:

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Greetings from Turkey!

I couldn't have dreamed of a more lovely and inspirational view from my Istanbul writing desk. I am here for two months of soaking up the local culture while I study theTurkish language. I awoke this am to the sound of amuezin, calling the city to prayer from this mosque, which is called the BLue Mosque. It stands opposite theAgha Sophia, once a Byzantine cathedral. Ships are floating alongside clusters of fishing boats in the Bosphorous behind. A sea breeze is sweeping across my keyboard. More to come when I am less jet lagged...

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Literary Events in Istanbul

Merhaba from Istanbul! This colorful street is near the Galata Tower in Istanbul's Beyoglu District where Molly's Cafe is located. Molly, a Canadian, moved to Istanbul about 13 years ago and opened a cafe that serves homemade everything. It is a cozy gathering place for locals and expats. She invited me to talk about my work and the Turkish edition of my novel Anahita's Woven Riddle, just published by Yakamoz Kitap as Sicak Bir Ask Masali. If you are visiting Istanbul I recommend that you seek Molly's cafe. The neighborhood has many treasures, such as the fresh fruit and vegetable shop pictured in the corner of this blog photo.

I have also had the pleasure of visiting two public schools in the Emirgan and Sultanahmet neighborhoods. I will be posting more about those events in the coming weeks with photos of some of the students. Check back also to hear about a booksigning I have planned with a local carpet dealer in the Grand Bazaar. Adnan and Hasan's Rugs is hosting me, the event will serve to promote literacy programs in Turkey.

Iy gunlar!