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Çiler Ilhan

Çiler Ilhan - foto Dincer Dinc
Çiler Ilhan - foto Dincer Dinc

(Turkey, 1972) writes novels, essays, reviews and translations for various newspapers and magazines. She studied international relations and political science in Istanbul and hotel management in Switzerland. In 2006 she debuted with the short-story collection Rüya Tacirleri Odası (Chamber of Dream Merchants). Sürgün (Exile, 2010) won the EU Literature Prize and was published in 24 countries. Its short stories - some of which are only a page or two in length - form a novel in which ordinary Turkish citizens speak about feeling alienated from their homeland, their families, and the community to which they belonged. Injustice plays a big role, and Ilhan often gives a voice to both the victim and the perpetrator. In 2021 she published Nişan Evi (Engagement House), a novella about lives lost under the weight of power factors in eastern Turkey. Ilhan is a member of the Turkish and Dutch chapters of PEN, the international writers' association that champions oppressed writers, journalists and freedom of expression.

(WN 2022)

Archive available for: Çiler Ilhan

  • Winternachten 2022 – Friday Night Unlimited

    What Will They Say, Meltem?

    About literature, poetry, feminism and violence - with Müesser Yeniay, Çiler İlhan, Sanem Kalfa, Meltem Halaceli & Canan Marasligil (moderator)

    In What Will They Say, Meltem?, Meltem Halaceli, Müesser Yeniay and Çiler İlhan discussed what role literature and poetry can play in bringing to light violence against women. This event was the live finale of a series of podcasts with the same title by Winternachten programmer Meltem Halaceli. Domestic violence against women and LGBT-groups has increased worldwide and femicide has become a growing problem. Struck by this reality, Meltem Halaceli went in search of her family's feminist values and made a podcast about them. Her mother's eyes were opened by novels and poetry by Turkish, Russian and American authors who wrote about the unequal status of women. In her podcast, Meltem spoke to writers, poets and experts and asked them how they use their knowledge and literature to bring violence against women into the open.

    In this live event we first of all met Turkish poet Müesser Yeniay, who recited a number of new poems. In the introduction to her latest collection Sevgiliyle Daimi Konuşma (Endless Conversation with the Loved One) she wrote: "For many Eastern women, poetry is the only place she exists." What does that mean for her poetry? The second guest was Çiler İlhan, who moved to the Netherlands from Turkey in 2017. She spoke about her latest novel Nişan Evi (Engagement House), in which women are seen as commercial objects - a body and nothing more. Her earlier book Sürgün (Exiled) won the EU Literature Prize and was translated into 20 languages. Jazz singer Sanem Kalfa framed the conversation with live music. Canan Marasligil, a translator and writer, moderated the event.

    We concluded this program with a screening of the Writers' Monument. Like every year, The Theatre of Wrong Decisions has made made an updated version of their 'digital monument' for the journalists and writers who were murdered. The monument could be seen during the opening of Winternachten, to stand still together, reflect and realize how many people worldwide sacrifice their lives simply by holding the pen and wanting to tell the truth.

    English spoken.

  • Winternachten 2019

    Dakota's Winternachten Story Festival: Stories from Afar

    With: Anima Jhagroe-Ruissen, Arshia Sattar, Çiler Ilhan, Duygu Alkan, Francis Broekhuijsen, Jhilani Wijsman, Mark Kalsbeek, Shagun, Turks koor Escamp, Wieteke van Dort

    The Winternachten Story Festival at Theater Dakota came to its festive conclusion on Sunday afternoon. 'Stories from Afar' was a large and varied programme with stories, music and dance from and about India, Turkey and the Dutch Indies. The programme had two parts: before the intermission you chose one of three country programmes, each in a separate room. You heard music and stories of writers and local residents about their country of origin.

    The India programme included an appearance by writer Arshia Sattar. She's an expert on the Ramayana and a great storyteller. Dancer Anima Jhagroe-Ruissen, pupil of Sangeet Natak Academy Awardee Guru Geetanjali Lal, performed with a music ensemble consisting of Viresh Kisoendajal (tabla), Lehra (sitar), Martijn Barendregt and Shivant Jhagroe (harmonium) en Ilyas Nadjafi (vocals).

    The Turkey programme included appearances by writer Ciler Ilhan, currently famous for her story collection In Exile, and vocalist-ud player Duygu Alkan. Wieteke van Dort told the most beautiful stories about the Dutch Indies. After the break came a stunning finale for all visitors. Francis Broekhuijsen introduced performances by all the above-mentioned and more artists in the great hall of Theatre Dakota: music by Hindi pop band Shagun, the choir Turkuaz from Escamp and The Hague-based singer-songwriter Jhilani Wijsman. When you reserved tickets, you also chose the country programme that takes place before the intermission. Your ticket was of course also valid after the break.