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Leading Turkish writers billed for The London Book Fair 2013

The British Council, the UK’s international cultural relations organisation, is delighted to announce the London Book Fair (LBF) 2013 Market Focus Cultural Programme – 'Turkey in all its Colours'. The LBF 2013 Market Focus Cultural Programme will bring the best in contemporary Turkish writing and publishing to the UK, giving UK audiences a rare opportunity to meet and interact with Turkish writers. A series of high profile public and trade events will take place in and around The London Book Fair, where the writers from Turkey will engage in debate and discussion with their UK counterparts in front of an international literary audience. The participating writers will represent the diversity of contemporary Turkish writing across a range of genres and from different generations.

The British Council’s cultural programme involves twenty writers from Turkey, more than 35 panellists, including UK writers, translators and editors, at more than 30 events at fifteen venues across four UK cities. The writers will explore writing in a changing Turkey, the future of literature and writing Turkey from a distance

The LBF Market Focus Programme has been organised in partnership with the Turkish National Organising Committee for International Book Fairs, which is also running four seminars with 11 writers at The London Book Fair.

Participants in the cultural programme include 

Perihan Mağden, author of 2 Girls, which was subsequently made into an award-winning film, and columnist for controversial newspaper Taraf; 

bestselling author and journalist Ayşe Kulin; 

Ahmet Ümit, the leading figure in Turkish crime writing; 

Murathan Mungan, an author of Kurdish descent who has written two of most staged plays in modern Turkish theatre; and

Ece Temelkuran, an author published by Verso in English, who also writes on social issues for Milliyet newspaper, The Guardian, Le Monde Diplomatique and New Left Review.

The London Book Fair’s Market Focus ‘Author of the Day’ on Tuesday, 16 April, will be award-winning author and journalist Elif Shafak, author of Honour and The Forty Rules of Love, amongst others. As part of the programme, she will take part in seminars, discussions, book signings and photo opportunities across the fair.

Together, these and other writers will tackle a range of topics at The London Book Fair, including:

Writing in a Changing Turkey

Children’s Writing from Turkey: What Makes Children Read?

What is Contemporary Writing from Turkey? Celebrating Diversity

At the Crossroads of Culture: Writing Turkey from a Distance

Page and Screen in Turkey: Competitors or Collaborators?

New Fiction: Fantasy and Crime

The Future of Literature in Turkey

Additional seminars and events will also be taking place at prestigious venues throughout London and at selected venues and festivals across the UK throughout the year. These will include events at Foyles, the British Library and a Round Table Discussion on Freedom of Expression in Turkey in association with English PEN and PEN International.

The cultural programme is the culmination of a series of events over the past year working with the literature sectors in Turkey and the UK. Activity included writer residencies in Istanbul and Norwich, literature festivals in both countries, professional development for emerging Turkish to English translators, bringing together UK publishing professionals with their counterparts in Turkey to pursue business opportunities and the Turkish edition of the Edinburgh World Writers’ Conference.

Susie Nicklin, Director Literature, British Council, said: 'Our global partnership with The London Book Fair Market Focus Cultural Programme is the most comprehensive ever continuous project to bring writers from overseas to the UK and we are excited that this year Turkey will be the focus. The cultural programme reflects the richness of diversity in Turkey and is the largest single representation of contemporary writers and writing from Turkey ever to be presented in the UK.'

Jacks Thomas, Director of The London Book Fair, said: 'It is always good to see the outcome of years of preparation with Market Focus programmes. We have been working with our partners at the British Council  and representatives of Turkish publishing for several years building up to The London Book Fair 2013 and I have no doubt that the Market Focus Turkey Cultural Programme will be a highlight of the fair.'

The British Council, now in its sixth year as strategic partner of The London Book Fair, has worked in wide consultation with its official partners, industry professionals, experts in the field and on research based over a number of years in the formation of the 2013 Market Focus Cultural Programme.

The British Council Literature Department works with writers, publishers, producers, translators and other sector professionals worldwide to develop innovative, high-quality programmes and collaborations that provide opportunities for cultural exchange with the UK, through festivals, book fairs and conferences or in the classroom. Other recent projects include the Erbil Literature Festival, the first international literature festival ever to be held in Iraq, the Karachi Literature Festival and a global partnership with Hay Festivals that has seen UK writers travel to festivals in Beirut, Cartagena, Dhaka, Kerala, Nairobi, Segovia and Zacatecas amongst others. Our partnership with Edinburgh International Book Festival, the Edinburgh World Writers’ Conference, launched in August 2012 and will continue around the globe until August 2013 when it reconvenes in Edinburgh. Edinburgh World Writers’ Conference will see the biggest worldwide conversation ever recorded about the state of literature today. The Turkish instalment of the conference took place in February 2013.

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