2nd, 2006, 7:00pm, Efes Turkish Cuisine
(at SW corner of Guadalupe & McClintock)
(Anastasia Ashman and Jennifer Gokmen) and contributor Catherine
Salter Bayar will be reading from "Tales
From Expat Harem"
Authors will be signing the book during the reception.
Reception will be catered by Efes
Traveling across the country, one witnesses places
that still echo a way of life centuries old. Adventure on
Anatolian homesteads, intrigue amid Turkey’s natural
spectacles, and wonders of the world
Stop On The Orient Express:
Called Asia Minor by the Romans, continent-straddling Turkey
-- the last country in Europe and the first in Asia -- naturally
commits a storyteller to a state of limbo, caught in the
ever-shifting flux between Occident and Orient.
Dynasties of mothers once inspected prospective brides for
their sons in the hamam. The Turkish sauna and scrub remains
a complex tradition of beauty practice, and female retreat.
But far from being cloistered, the impact of women’s
culture in Turkey is often full and frontal
Courting etiquette and marriage rituals, from henna tatooing
and traditional village bride bargaining to modern civil
services of high society, receptions covered by voracious
paparazzi. Dating and mating labyrinths.
An innate part of the Turkish psyche, folkloric song and
dance can erupt at any moment and overwhelm even the most
Cauldron, and Kismet:
The importance of family and the often fatalistic rules
of clan devotion require rituals of repast and a team-like
sense of humor.
in the Bazaar:
With the historic Silk Road from China to the Mediterranean
coursing through Turkey and ending in Istanbul’s Grand
Bazaar, vending is in the Turkish blood. Brisk market scene
is a way of life.
Believers in talismans, for over a millenium Turks have
clung to their shamanistic roots. Does the witchy wisdom
of old wives’ tales and the insight of fortune-tellers
apply to everyone on Turkish soil?
Konukseverlik, traditional Turkish hospitality, is both
legendary and inescapable, especially for expatriates who
seek to challenge it.
"Funny, sad, exciting, ribald, and always enlightening,
these stories paint a fascinating picture of modern Turkey.
There is no better account of why this country has captured
the imagination of so many modern women."
--Stephen Kinzer, journalist and author
of Crescent and Star: Turkey Between Two Worlds
“This charmingly thought-provoking collection brings
us the true experiences and stories of ordinary women whose
voices have been continuously and systematically silenced
by the tides of mainstream historiography and collective
amnesia. While the book successfully transcends the binary
oppositions and cultural stereotypes that are so deeply-embedded
in the perceptions of the Eastern harem, it also probes
the wonderfully intricate relation between the limitlessness
of female venture and the limitlessness of portable homelands."
--Elif Shafak, professor of Middle Eastern
studies, University of Arizona, and author of The Saint
of Incipient Insanities: A Novel
“Faced with the often bewildering task of adjusting
to regional gender norms, the women of the Expat Harem reveal
in these fascinating, well-written tales the ways in which
femininity, the way of understanding oneself as a woman,
is relational and context specific."
--Reina Lewis, Professor of Cultural Studies,
University of East London, author of Rethinking Orientalism:
Women, Travel and the Ottoman Harem
“An extraordinary collection of women trying to make
sense of their own lives through another culture. From the
disillusioned missionary to the lady roustabout, what unites
them is not their backgrounds or personalities but affection
for an adopted Turkish homeland. The entrance to the harem
is ajar. An addictive set of insights.”
--Andrew Finkel, author of Turkish State,
Turkish Society and longtime correspondent in Turkey who
has worked for Time magazine, CNN and the Times of London
“Well conceived and well written, TALES FROM THE EXPAT
HAREM is an amazing source of foreign female wisdom reminiscent
of Lady Mary Wortley Montague's TURKISH EMBASSY LETTERS.
Among famous travelers to the 18th century Orient, the ambassador’s
wife had the unique privilege of witnessing and recording
the daily lives of women in Turkey. The ladies of today’s
expat harem resume the story and share their own emotional
journeys, themselves ambassadors of Turkey, wedded to the
--Sirin Tekeli, feminism and women's history
scholar and editor of Women in Modern Turkish Society: A
"Personal narrative meets social commentary in EXPAT
HAREM’S diverse, funny and insightful tales of modern
cross-cultural existence. Illustrating affectionate engagement
with an adopted country while maintaining critical distance,
in trying to make themselves 'at home' in Turkey, the authors
succeed in questioning the very notion of 'home' …A
--Sibel Bozdogan, co-editor of Modernity
and National Identity in Turkey, author of Modernism and
Nation Building: Turkish Architectural Culture in the Early
Republic and director of Liberal Studies at The Boston Architectural
M. ASHMAN is a career essayist specializing in
personal tales of cultural adventure. Tales From The Expat
Harem is her first anthology, adding a new facet to ten
years' experience evaluating and editing creative material
in New York and Los Angeles media and entertainment, working
for literary agents and producers of film, television, and
Broadway theatre. She is at work on Berkeley to Byzantium:
The Reorientation of a West Coast Adventuress, a cultural
memoir charting the peaks and valleys of her adventurous
life, from mean elevators and subways of Manhattan to the
gilded palaces of Asia Minor -- and Southeast Asia, where
she lived for five years. For Cornucopia, a glossy magazine
for connoisseurs of Turkey worldwide, Ms. Ashman has written
about joining a Turkish family; she has encapsulated the
vanishing cuisine of a Chinese-Malayan subculture, as well
as covered Malaysia's architectural heritage movement for
Asia's oldest newsweekly magazine, Dow Jones' Far Eastern
Economic Review; and for art and literary sections of newspapers
like The Asian Wall Street Journal and The Village Voice
in New York City, she has reviewed historical nonfiction
scribes, avant garde multimedia poets, and multicultural
travel commentators like Pico Iyer. Her essays appear in
the women’s humor collection The Thong Also Rises
(Travelers’ Tales, September 2005) and The Subway
Chronicles (Plume-Penguin, September 2006). Born and raised
in the progressive California town of Berkeley, she studied
classical clarinet and Kodokan judo for more than a decade
each. She holds a degree in Classical Greek, Roman and Near
Eastern Archaeology from Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania,
and lives in Istanbul with her husband Burc Sahinoglu.
JENNIFER EATON GÖKMEN is a writer
captivated by the people and customs of Turkey, her home
for the past twelve years. A proponent of the integrated,
adventurous expatriate life, Ms. Gökmen began hers
as an exchange student in England, later returning to the
UK as a chef’s assistant working her way through the
silver service dining rooms of London’s financial
district before extensively backpacking Europe. At university
her love life and wanderlust converged when a whirlwind
romance with a young Turk resulted in a move to the eastern
hemisphere. An active supporter of and participant in Turkish
cultural activities, for the past six years Ms.Gökmen
has served as International Coordinator for HAFEM's Kadiköy
Municipality Annual Folkdance Festival showcasing two hundred
ethnic dancers and musicians each summer. A native of Michigan,
she holds a degree in Creative Writing and American and
British Literature from Western Michigan University. Ms.
Gökmen’s literary career began with the expatriate
humor magazine Istanbull.... where she served as staff writer
for two years. She is a regular contributor to TimeOut Istanbul
magazine and her writing has appeared in the Strange Intimacies
anthology exhibited at the 9th International Istanbul Biennial.
Ms. Gökmen is currently penning her myriad Turkish
adventures in a comical transcontinental confessional Midwest
Goes Middle East: Adventures of an Expat Drama Queen. Ms.
Gökmen lives her idea of a charmed life with her husband
Bilgehan in Istanbul...nazar degmesin!