Women Who Blow on Knots

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  • Author: Ece Temelkuran

  • Translator: Alexander Dawe

  • UK publisher: Parthian Books

  • Original language: Turkish

Lucy Hannah, EBRD Literature Prize judge:This is the story of four women travelling from Tunisia to Lebanon during the Arab Spring.  Ece Temelkuran takes us on a fantastical journey through landscapes of the eastern Mediterranean, its revolutions, myths, hamams and Tuaregs. Alexander Dawe’s pacey translation broadens the readership for this glorious, picaresque adventure which celebrates sisterhood.” 

The writer

Ece Temelkuran is one of the Turkey's best known novelists and political commentators. She has lived in several countries such as Lebanon and Tunisia to write her novels. Her investigative journalism books broach subjects that are highly controversial in Turkey, such as the Kurdish and Armenian issues and freedom of expression. She was a visiting fellow at the University of Oxford Saint Anthony's College. In 2017 she has been a regular guest on Radio 4 and also appeared on the Channel 4 news, while her journalism has recently featured in Der Spiegel, the Guardian and the New York Times. In 2016 Zed Books released a translation of her collection of essays 'Turkey: The Insane and the Melancholy' which was reviewed widely and internationally. She currently lives in Zagreb, Croatia.

The translator

Alexander Dawe studied French and Classical Guitar Performance at Oberlin College and Conservatory. He has previously translated several contemporary Turkish novels, including 'Endgame' by Ahmet Altan. In collaboration with Maureen Freely, he has translated 'A Useless Man' by Sait Faik Abasiyanik, 'The Time Regulation Institute' by Ahmet Hamdi Tanipar and 'The Madonna in a Fur Coat' by Sabahattin Ali. In 2010, he received a PEN/Heim Translation Fund grant to translate the short stories of Ahmet Hamdi Tanpinar. He lives and works in Turkey, on the Prince Islands Archipelago, in the sea of Marmara near Istanbul.

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