Writing as Judgment or Scream: A Conversation with Aslı Erdoğan

After finishing a master’s degree in physics and writing her thesis on the Higgs-Boson particle, Turkish writer Aslı Erdoğan (b. 1967, Istanbul) worked for two years at CERN as a particle physicist then moved to Rio de Janeiro. After the publication of her first novel, The Shell Man (1994), she quit her scientific career and devoted herself to writing. Her third book, The City in Crimson Cloak (2001), brought her international recognition. With this novel, often described as a modern classic, Erdoğan was chosen as one of “Fifty Writers of the Future” by the French magazine Lire. Back in Turkey, Erdoğan began working as a columnist for oppositional newspapers, and after the failed coup attempt of July 2016 she was arrested on the pretext that she had been a literary adviser to a pro-Kurdish newspaper. Erdoğan was released after a worldwide human rights campaign, but her trial still continues. In July 2017 the French government awarded her the Légion d’Honneur, but her travel request to receive it was only recently approved. After an initial phone conversation, we met on Heybeliada (Princes’ Islands), near Istanbul, to continue our exchange.


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