Luke Frositck (Editor in chief)
Summer is here and I hope you are all well. It’s been a busy two months for me, keeping up with all the work that the review requires. Lots of lovely people send us their work and it all needs to be read, edited and proofread, all of which are skills that I’m very much still learning. Except for the reading thing… I continue to learn to try to provide a better magazine every time as usual I owe so much to Thomas and Erica who without I wouldn't be able do to any of this.
Also thanks to our cover artist who this month is Saina Baekhtiyar you can find more of her work on her website here.
I’m happy with the way that this edition has come out. As always we have some fantastic submissions from some very talented people. I’ve been particularly impressed with the range of non-fiction that we have received. I’m a fiction guy, I mostly read and write fiction so the non-fiction section of the magazine is an area that I’ve had to learn and I’m still learning. I’m glad that I have and hope that it continues to improve. The different passions that people have and want to write about has created a wonderfully eclectic feel to the magazine where articles about Rumi, Greek refugees and comic books can sit side by side.
The big event of the literary calendar here was the Istanbul Tanpinar Literature Festival, which I was kindly invited to attend as a fellow. I have to thank the organisers, the magnificent people from Kalem Agency, who worked outrageously hard organising meetings, food and all the other events of the festival. The main business of the fellowship was to invite publishers from around the world to Istanbul so that they could meet Turkish publishing companies with the hope that they would learn about Turkish literature and the state of the publishing industry here. My job was to hover up any left over snacks and make inappropriate jokes. We even met the mayor of Beyoglu, which was something that I didn't expect to happen, ever. The Turkish coffee we had in his office was probably the best I’ve ever had.
So we marched round the city visiting publishing houses, talking to publishers about the books that they were working on, how their companies were doing and literature in general and snacks, lots of snacks. It was quite a punishing schedule.
I learned a couple of things:
1) People who work in publishing are lovely, or at least the ones I met were.
2) That Turkey has bucket loads of talented writers with interesting ideas that I hope will be translated into English and read around the world. In fact since the festival I know that some of the books discussed during our meetings are being translated and published in English. So hurray!
3) That the publishing industry has been hurt by the state of emergency. It was something that hung over the festival; that publishing houses have been closed down, that publishers are worried that it could happen to them, that writers are in prison. All of them worry to one degree or another about their futures.
4) That despite the problems that Turkey is going through there are good people working both in public and behind the scenes, on both sides of the political spectrum, to ensure that literature and the importance of the written word persist in Turkey.
5) That sometimes gigantic dildos are left outside Romanian cultural centres. (The last two were far too serious.)
Enjoy the summer.
Erica Eller, Editorial and Outreach Assistant
Apart from incorporating of a mailing list to announce our latest editions, researching some publicity outlets, writing a book review of Memed, My Hawk by Yaşar Kemal, and contributing a few solid hours of editing and proofreading, I’ve had my mind set on vacation. My personal travels sent me to Ayder and Çamlıhamşin in the Kaçkar Mountains near Rize, Tbilisi, Georgia, and to Karaburun, İzmir on the Aegean coast. Having travelled the region thoroughly, my mind and senses are alight with new inspiration and I look forward to getting back to the thick of promoting this important literary journal with increased fervor for the next edition. İyi Bayramlar herkese!! (Happy Holidays everyone)