Event Highlights- An Odyssey Across the Middle East Q&A with Author Temelkuran


Asia House recently featured  a Q&A with author Ece Temelkuran whose new novel Women  Who Blow On Knots has just been released.

Ece Temelkuran is a  Turkish author who just happens to be a prize-winning investigating journalist as well. Her strong  prowess to uncover a good story is also used to  good effect in using the  literary art form  to address women’s issues and becoming   an oracle for  highlighting attacks on humanity. Something of a one woman firebrand, she has established a well deserved reputation for vocalising controversial issues.

          Ece Temelkuran

Temelkuran`s new novel Women who Blow On Knots chronicles a voyage reaching from Tunisia to Lebanon, taken by three young women and septuagenarian Madam Lilla. Although the three young women embark on the road for different reasons – for each holds a dark secret – it is only at the journey’s point of no return that Lilla’s own murderous motivations for the trip become clear.


Ece Temelkuran at the recent Asia House Literature Festival

It`​s a curious title, but clearly a significant one with hidden cultural meaning. Temelkuran illuminates the embedded meaning of the title. “Whilst researching I read the Quran  and came across a particular verse about being aware of women who blow knots  or beware of those women who do witchcraft. Women were doing witchcraft and praying and then blowing their breath  on the knots. I thought the Quran recognised the strength of womens` breath. Women blow life into things. ”

Was she always a  political animal by nature? Temelkuran gives us a glimpse into her early years where she was encouraged to interrogate politics on her own terms.

“Once you are born into such a family your very being is about politics. There is no life outside politics. Politics in our house was  not like marches or Lenin or Starlin, it was more like literature. it wasn’t like indoctrination it was more like be good read and think”

And what about identity ? Some writers are defined by, almost anchored by their cultural and geographic identity. Yet for Temelkuran, the definition of home is a fluid concept and interestingly  reveals how her own pulls to home and the road has manifested in her own novels being a happy marriage of reality and fiction.

“I always imagine myself at home. Home is a liquid thing now  for millions of people. For writers there is no home. You cannot write at home because every story starts about someone going from home or coming home. My life has always been a clash between  home and road and I think I’m someone in between and in some way between reality and fiction. This book has too many real things to be considered as fiction.

Women Who Blow On Knots Ece Temelkuran. Published by Parthian Books.

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Event Highlights- An Odyssey Across the Middle East Q&A with Author Temelkuran