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: http://www.meghannuttallsayres.com/Meghan_Nuttall_Sayres/Betts_Meadow_About_this_book.html