The writer on her memories of childhood, the fight against populism—and why she writes to metalby Prospect Team / June 13, 2019 / Leave a comment
What is the first news event you can recall?
I was born in Strasbourg and then I moved to Ankara as a child. This was a time of extreme political violence in Turkey and I remember listening to the radio in my grandma’s house, hearing news of bombs exploding on the streets, police arresting students. Meanwhile, grandma’s house was full of folk tales and fortune-telling—a surreal, spiritual, irrational world. That contrast between the political world outside the window and the spiritual world inside the house stayed with me.
What is the biggest problem of all?
Our inability to learn from history and our collective amnesia, that’s one major worry. Another is our persistent fear of people who are different to us.
If you could spend a day in one city or place at one moment in history, when and where would that be?
I’d have loved to visit Mainz, when Johannes Gutenberg finally returned to the city, following his long political exile, ready to start using his printing machine. The smell of wood, the smell of paper, the smell of ink… Imagine the light changing in that room as hours pass by, and words, sentences, pages are printed in front of our eyes.
What is your favourite quotation?
It’d probably be from Rumi. “I am neither Christian, nor Jew…nor Muslim. I am not of the East, nor of the West, nor of the land, nor of the sea… I have put duality away… O Shamsi Tabriz, I am so drunken in this world, that except of drunkenness and revelry I have no tale to tell.” I treasure that poem.
If you were given £1m to spend on other people, what would you spend it on and why?
I’d spend it on gender equality, women’s health, girls’ education. Any society that discriminates against half of its population is bound to go backwards.
What do you most regret?
I have learned a lot from my mistakes, so I really cannot regret my many flaws and faults, because they all taught me something important, which took me a while to understand.
What would people be surprised to know about you?
I am huge fan of Gothic metal, industrial metal, Viking-Pagan-folk metal and metal core. Especially dark, loud, aggressive Scandinavian metal bands.…