The young writers project İlkyaz, supported by the global writers network PEN International, is calling for creatives to collaborate!

Dear Creaive Friends,

This is Ege Dündar, founder and coordinator of the young writers platform based in Turkey, İlkyaz, supported by the leading global NGO for literature and free expression, PEN International. I’m writing on behalf of the rest of our team, Irmak Ertaş, Halil Gediz and Özge Sargın.

For Newcomers: What is İlkyaz?

When we launched our project, which means early spring and first writing in Turkish, I explained: ‘İlkyaz is a platform built to showcase and nurture the imagination of writers under 35. Our focus is young literature. But our job is exchange. In these times where divisions thrive, and interaction between people gets increasingly narrow due to political, economic or ideological boundaries, literature is a communizing expression of consciousness and a shelter for us all. It’s an avenue where we can meet beyond our differences, and explore our communal home, that is the Earth, through various windows’

For newcomers, İlkyaz is a monthly, literary platform that features works from writers under 35 years of age, a photo blogwith brief insights into daily lives, a bookshelf with suggestions by renown authors to young writers, a section providing excerpts from the early works of authors renown in both Turkish and world literature and lastly a section highlighting the works of writers of 15 and under, whose voices are rarely heard.

Each month, the works are translated into English and another language through partnership with PEN Centre’s located in over a 100 countries around the world to reach a wider readership. We have so far collaborated to this effect with Norwegian PEN, German PEN, PEN Belgium/Flanders and will be joining efforts with PEN French Centre for our next issue.

What are we looking for?

In line with the overall aim of our project, supporting young literature in Turkey, we primarily work with young writers from Turkey. However we are bringing a new section to our website titled “Literature +” which will creatively breach this national boundary. The idea behind this section is rather simple; to induce inspiration between two creative individuals, wherever they are from, through introducing them and facilitating a collaboration between their expressive forms of choice. In a time when different branches of communication are increasing their collaboration, we want İlkyaz to also be innovative, to carry fresh blood to literature whilst building a shelter for it’s long-standing tradition; to make space for partnering literature with other forms of expression, like the recent Nobel Laureate Bob Dylan.

All in all, İlkyaz will feature 36 writers from Turkey in a year. Many more writers under the category “15-“ as mentioned above, will also be featured monthly. “Literature +” will feature creative/artistic pieces inspired by the stories and poems written by these young writers.

If you are a director, as an example and were interested in/inspired by one of the writings we have published, we will then put you in contact with our young author and if you agree on producing a short film, video poem etc. we will publish your work with your biography in this section (which will be widely distributed through PEN’s 100 year old global network in over 100 countries) and will only be able to pay you an honorarium of 40 pounds from our limited budget.

The collaborations in this sense can be by any artist or creative who feels inspired by our writers works anywhere in the world and can interpret the piece in any format they work in. Illustration, photography, music, painting, carpentry, choreography, a performance in an art gallery, a mosaic all welcome,
on the condition that it’s inspired by one of İlkyaz’s pieces. One thing we will try to avoid is the cluttering of one form of expression, such as illustration, over others. Through this exchange we hope to foster works and networks between creatives using a different form of expression. This will provide both literature and it’s partnering creative form with a new voice and audience, hopefully also leading to sincere, productive friendships for years to come.

Another benefit of this initiative is that it allows for a bond between the imaginations of younger writers such as those under the age of 15 and their fellow older creatives. I would hope a magical story about a fishing rod falling to sea written by an 11 year-old could provide rich material for an expressive peace in another form of expression. We will showcase the resulting works, with your approval, on İlkyaz events to inspire others. They will also be published in a book we will put together as a collection of all works featured within İlkyaz.

We’re always open to ideas! If you’re interested, please have a look at the example coupling between Laris Polat (Illustration) and Anıl Can Uğuz (Poem)below and the other writings on our website and get in touch to work with us via our e-mail address with reference to your previous work if you get any ideas:

Thanks in advance and looking forward to our collaborative, creative effort!

Best as ever,

Ege Dündar

Example of Collaboratıon: Anıl Can Uğuz (Poem) – Larıs Polat (Illustratıon)

Lıterature (Poem): Anıl Can Uğuz – İncire Ağıt / Lament To A Fig /Klagesang Til Fiken

I won’t fit this coffin Leyla

The sun below the earth is warm still but

When the ways you don’t love me

crows have aligned on cornfields

To amass sands in my mouth

Would be good news to the life I maledict.

I won’t fit this coffin Leyla,

The botany will go to pot

If I pluck you as a flower from the stem

But I’ve died,

that, a fish strangled itself to death

This life I’ve plaited with scrap hands

This eye twitching, this forlorn bed

-the mercy I’ve made up to muddle through myself-

I’ve died now I can say:

Everything has it’s own name, how strange!

I won’t fit this coffin Leyla

Through these houses where everything smells not musty but of naphthalene

I’ve passed many times

And their rooms where flour is kneaded

Often I’ve fallen from the fig tree in eventides grayish-blue

To elude my babyhood

I’ve soldered figs milk to my mouth

Though I’ve winded up my hands on nettle as I wept

-there are bottles of cologne or oil soap-

I was gifted for kindling a stove.

I won’t fit this coffin Leyla

I grew up cross with my mother

I didn’t say, she was importunate to delusion

How simple it is to grow suspicions –mom
my head is itching!-

Shampoo for lice had just then freshly minted

Unraveled, like a whistle through the mouth of getting even

I’ve conceded that cowardice was congenital

From mother’s stirps.

I won’t fit this coffin Leyla

My father spared his semen for this trunk

For the sake of sparse joy

-The demon lamenting for us to skirt-

They’ve cut a rooster in the yard

My grandpa sticking a biting cry on his forehead

Wiped down that heart and home where ivy was roasted for years

With his festive handkerchief

Hefty precautions settled on my chubby cheeks.

I won’t fit this coffin Leyla

I’ve known scarfed peddlers

-who’s gum I’m frightened to take-

I hid in the mosque courtyard

Olly olly, the oxen was free, I thought there’d be a sound

I thought my grandma spoke German

When she called my bicycle a velocipede

I snitched silverberries at nightfall

And climbed on cob walls as I ran

I toiled incessantly; couldn’t shatter a single stone in Yedikule*

I won’t fit this coffin Leyla

In this tomb filled with figs

The smuggled tea spilled on my back

The soot of Hıdrellez** that seeped into me

The moon I supposed was god

The scent of smut

My mother’s two-millimeter knitting needle

That weaved

My purple vest victim of brazen moths

Would want to be buried along with me!

I was yet to make nestlings from your voice

-That were ashamed of their craw at the sight of the starved-

Prophets dwell there, I know

The faiths I tell of you

Are too pagan for them to comprehend

Vampires too were almost out of business the day I kissed your neck:

Perhaps I’ll be somewhat revived Leyla

If you weep enough to wash over me.



Translated with the author’s approval by: Ege Dündar

Lıterature + (Illustratıon): Larıs Polat ınspıred by Anıl Can Uğuz

Laris Polat inspired by Anıl Can Uğuz

Laris Polat inspired by Anıl Can UğuzFor more of Laris’s work, go to her website.

Bunları da Sevebilirsiniz

      Bütün bir çölüne ne diye düşürdüğüm renkli cin kederlerim, Sende hep bir tam gökkuşağı gibi duruyor. Bu mağaradan çıkıp şuna sonra diğerine belki berikine, Yolumu buradan uzağa getiren keşiş, Nerede durmak isterim diye sormadı hiç.   İnce ve umursamaz sabırlı bileklerime,  Keder püsür içinde kanımı kaynatan miras, İstemiyorum. … Yetecek canıma elini …


As İlkyaz, in our three year publishing life, we’ve been able to bring to light and unite over 300 young writers, reaching nearly 7thousand readers on average a month, translating our main pieces to English so the world has a window into young literature of Turkey. If you haven’t yet had a chance to read, …


Zafer Aracagök’ün Kavramsız Negativite’si kapısı olmayan bir kitap, ki kavramsız olmak biraz da bu demek. Kavram, kapı düşüncesiyle bağlıdır. Sınır çizer, tuğla çeker, duvar örer. Kavramı kullanan (kendi özneliğinin de ispatıdır bu) kapının efendisidir. Zafer Aracagök’ün Kavramsız Negativite’si kapısı olmayan bir kitap, ki kavramsız olmak biraz da bu demek. Kavram, kapı düşüncesiyle bağlıdır. Sınır çizer, tuğla …

Önceki / Previous İlkyaz Yeni Girişimi "Edebiyat +" İçin Sanatçıları Çağırıyor!
Sonraki / Next March's Wrıtıngs Are Onlıne!