Writer in Residence Programme 2009

Perihan Mağden is WIR in Amsterdam

1-30 September 2009

In Amsterdam Mağden hopes to find a place to concentrate on her new literary work far away from all the political turmoil she deals with every day. But we have the feeling that being in residence probably won’t stop her from writing for the newspapers. It might well be that the Dutch headlines will inspire her to respond to the Dutch authorities in a similar way and we are pretty sure Mağden is a very good match for the Dutch columnists.

Mağden is one of the most inventive and outspoken writers of our time. —Orhan Pamuk.

Perihan Mağden was born in Istanbul in 1960 and spent part of her childhood in the Far East. Today she lives in Istanbul and is considered one of the most influential living Turkish writers. As an ardent advocate of human rights and the right for free expression in her home country, Mağden has butted heads with the Turkish authorities more than once, and had to appear in court several times. In 2008, she was given the Grand Award for Freedom of Speech by the Turkish Publishers Association. Mağden has lectured, also as an honorary member of PEN, at a number of different American universities.

Her most recent novel is called Escape and was published in 2007. It was considered one of the best Turkish novels of that year and was a huge commercial succes. Previous novels are Two Girls (which was also turned into an award winning movie), Messenger Boy Murders and The Companion. Her latest collection of non-fiction is called Political Essays. Mağden is an engaged writer, who writes about politics, military affairs, human rights, homosexuality and the overall human condition in her home country. For everyone who reads and writes Turkish, her abundant columns (more than 840) in the famous newspaper Radikal are a must. It appears she even gets inspired by Dutch news as she referred to the death of the son of the Dutch general Peter van Uhm in Afghanistan.

In January of 2009 the Dutch public was introduced to Perihan Mağden at the literary festival Winternachten, where Mağden’s movie Two Girls was screened. Her writings have caught the attention of the Dutch publishing home Atheneum Polak & Van Gennep and led to the translation Moord op de boodschappenjongens, an absurdistic tale about living in Istanbul. In September 2009 the second Dutch translation of her work will be published: the novel Voor wie waren wij op de vlucht? Hamide Dogan is the translator of both novels.

More information:

Fleur van Koppen


Fleur van Koppen

Programme officer

[email protected]