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Sema Kaygusuz and Maureen Freely: The Well of Trapped Words

May 21, 2015
Thursday at 6pm
Free admission

SOAS Main Building, Room 116, Russell Square, London WC1H 0XG


Leading Turkish author Sema Kaygusuz will be discussing her new book The Well of Trapped Words: Selected Stories with her translator Maureen Freely (President of English PEN). In celebration of Sema’s work appearing in English for the first time, SOAS have organised this discussion between author and translator in which we will hear reflections upon Turkish literature, translation, and, of course, The Well of Trapped Words (forthcoming).

Sema Kaygusuz is one of Turkey’s leading female writers. Her debut novel, Yere Düsen Dualar (Wine and Gold) won international recognition upon publication in 2006. In 2007, she wrote the screenplay for Yesim Ustaoglu’s film Pandora’nin Kutusu (Pandora’s Box), which won the Golden Shell at the 2008 International Film Festival in San Sebastian. Her first short story collection, Ortadan Yarisindan (In the Middle of the Half, 2007) explored the struggles of characters grappling with disagreeable or concealed aspects of their personalities. The two following collections, Sandik Lekesi (Box Stain) and Doyma Noktasi (Saturation Point), established Sema Kaygusuz as a distinctive voice in the canon of young Turkish literature in the new millennium, which concerns itself increasingly with questions of identity and individuality. Her most recent novel, Yüzünde Bir Yer (A Spot on Your Face), was inspired by her own grandmother, and deals with the feelings of shame and guilt experienced by someone who survives a massacre. Kaygusuz is a recipient of both the Cevdet-Kudret-Literature Award and the France-Turquie Literary Award.

Maureen Freely is an author, journalist, translator and academic, who has written seven novels, as well as non-fiction. She is professor in the Department of English and Comparative Literary Studies at the University of Warwick and the director of its writing programme. Her novel Sailing through Byzantium was named as one of the best novels of 2014 in both the TLS and the Sunday Times, and she has translated five books by the Turkish Nobel Laureate Orhan Pamuk. She is also a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and chair of the Translators Association. She is currently the president of English PEN.

The event is co-organised by SOAS, Yunus Emre Institute London and Comma Press.


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