Tuna Kiremitçi

Views of the world dif­fer but the Prayers Stay the Same

The National - News - Arts & Life - - Front Page - Saeed Saeed

An ap­pear­ance by Tuna Kiremitçi, one of the best­selling authors in Turkey, was a high­light of day two of the Abu Dhabi In­ter­na­tional Book Fair.

He was at the Al Mul­taqa Lit­er­ary Sa­lon on Thurs­day to dis­cuss his 2007 novel Prayers Stay the Same, which was re­cently trans­lated into Ara­bic.

Kiremtci said the trans­la­tion was as ex­cit­ing to him as the pub­li­ca­tion of the book a decade ago.

“Ara­bic is one of the most beau­ti­ful lan­guages and to see my work trans­lated means a lot to me,” he said. “Also, it gave me an op­por­tu­nity to go back and learn about the lan­guage and One of the points of the book is to show some of the wis­dom that comes from ex­pe­ri­ence Tuna Kiremitçi writer the great Arab civil­i­sa­tion. Two peo­ple have taught me this: my Ara­bic pub­lisher and my Al­ge­rian ex-girl­friend.”

The novel re­volves around an ex­tended con­ver­sa­tion between an older Jewish woman, who was a refugee in Istanbul dur­ing the Sec­ond World War, and a young Turk­ish Mus­lim girl grow­ing up in a tur­bu­lent house­hold.

Kiremitçi ex­plained that the gen­er­a­tion gap is at the heart of the novel.

“It’s about the dif­fer­ent ways we can look at the world,” he said. “One of the points of the book is to show some of the wis­dom that comes from ex­pe­ri­ence. The Jewish lady has a lot ex­pe­ri­ence, while the Turk­ish girl is at war with her­self.

“The story I want to tell is about con­flict, and then place it in con­text of his­tory.”

Thurs­day also marked the sign­ing of an agree­ment to es­tab­lish the first joint UAE- China pub­lish­ing house, a col­lab­o­ra­tion between Emi­rati re­searcher Fa­tima Ha­mad Al Mazrouei and China In­ter­Con­ti­nen­tal Press.

China is the guest of honour na­tion at this year’s book fair.

“This project was al­ways present in our think­ing,” said Mazrouei. “To­day it has been trans­lated into re­al­ity to re­alise the am­bi­tions of both par­ties in spread­ing co­op­er­a­tion and com­mu­ni­ca­tion between our two coun­tries.”

sasaeed@then­ational.ae

An­tonie Robert­son / The Na­tional

Turk­ish writer Tuna Kiremitçi speaks at the Abu Dhabi In­ter­na­tional Book Fair on Thurs­day.

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