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An Odyssey Across the Middle East

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“We are on the run. Barrelling south in a white car at a hundred and forty kilometres an hour. I’m in the back. On my left a woman with a yellow wig aslant on her head, as still as stone. On my right a bald woman wearing a white headscarf, her leg bouncing up and down. And old one-eyed man is at the wheel. An old-grey-haired woman dressed in lilac silk is riding shotgun with her face to the wind, without a care in the world.

The bald woman says, ‘Where are we going?’

The old woman, ‘South.’

Angry, the bald woman digs in:

‘Just how far south?’

The old woman replies:

‘Way down south.’

Not long ago I was about to make my way back to Istanbul. Now I am on the brink of the most terrifying and wonderful trip I have ever taken. I remember how it all began but to this day I still have a hard time believing it ever really happened.”

An excerpt from Women Who Blow on Knots written by Ece Temelkuran and translated by Alexander Dawe, due to be published June 1 by Parthian.

Join us for the launch of the first English edition of Düğümlere Üfleyen Kadınlar by Ece Temelkuran, one of Turkey’s best known novelists and political commentators. A literary phenomenon in Turkey with more than 120,000 copies sold and translated from Turkish by Alexander Dawe, Women Who Blow on Knots is the winner of a PEN Translates award. It has already been published in translation in Germany, Croatia, Poland, Bosnia and France with editions also forthcoming in China, Italy and the USA.

Temelkuran’s engaging, funny and past-faced new novel conveys the voyage of crafty Madam Lilla and her three confidants as they travel from Tunisia to Lebanon as the events of the Arab Spring break around them. The women all embark on the road trip for different reasons but each holds a dark secret that drives them forward. It is only as they travel further across the Syrian Desert that Lilla’s own dark intentions become clear and their quest begins hurtling towards an unimaginable end.

Ece Temelkuran will be in conversation Diana Darke, Middle East cultural expert and author of My House in Damascus: An Inside View of the Syrian Crisis. Together, they will be challenging assumptions about politics, religion and Middle Eastern women.

The talk will be followed by a book signing and drinks reception.

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General: £10, Concessions: £8, Asia House Arts Members: £5

Asia House Arts Members need to enter their unique membership number when booking online. This can be found on the back of your membership card. Please call 0207 307 5454 if you experience any issues booking tickets.


May 17, 2017
18:45 - 20:00
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