Why organize a focus on women’s literature? Is there not a danger of just reinforcing many of the very stereotypes one is trying to challenge? By focusing on women alone, do we not run the risk of contributing to essentialised categories, being exclusionary or adding to existing forms of marginalization?
Margaret Atwood has suggested, “No woman writer wants to be overlooked and undervalued for being a woman; but few, it seems, wish to be defined solely by gender, or constrained by loyalties to it alone”. At the same time a continuing lack of public exposure and the typecasting of roles often afforded to women writers remains a problem both in Sweden and Turkey. For as much as literature is a field where men and women have often achieved equal status, women’s writing is still often devalued, pigeonholed or trivialized. In a world of increasing polarisation, the need for a focus on women’s literature that reflects the boundless diversity of women writers (in whatever way we would like to conceive of this category) perhaps remains as acute as ever.
This first attempt is an initiative by the Consulate General of Sweden in Istanbul in collaboration with Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University, Women Studies Research and Application Center with a long term aim to create something that will be an ongoing annual event and develop into a multilateral collaboration and establish networks and collaborations with women writers across borders.
Our main aim is to celebrate the boundless diversity and creativity of ‘women’ writers in Turkey and Sweden both today and throughout history. Simultaneously, we want to promote exceptional established and emerging writers from both countries and provide a rare platform for showcasing extraordinary talent and to give a Turkish audience a wider understanding, knowledge and insight of contemporary Swedish literature. Within this context we will seek to create a forum for the discussion of concerns that notably discriminate against women with a backdrop for the advancement of freedom of expression.
The literature days will be held in four different locations during ten days; discussing gender and literature in a series of panels, roundtable meetings, forums, conversations, readings, workshops, performances and exhibitions.
Consulate General of Sweden in Istanbul
MSGSÜ Women Studies Research and Application Center
Board of Organisation
Suzi Erşahin, Counsellor for Cultural Affairs, Consulate General of Sweden in Istanbul
Victoria Arzu Lejontåtel, Cultural Affairs, Consulate General of Sweden in Istanbul
Füsun Ertuğ, Founding Member, Istanbul Women’s Library and Information Center
Seran Demiral, MSGSÜ Women Studies Research and Application Center
Seval Şahin, MSGSÜ Women Studies Research and Application Center
Sevcan Tiftik, MSGSÜ Women Studies Research and Application Center
Sevdagül Kasap, MSGSÜ Women Studies Research and Application Center
Simlâ Sunay, MSGSÜ Women Studies Research and Application Center
Sibel Yardımcı, MSGSÜ Women Studies Research and Application Center
Sevgi Çiçek Hilton, Psychologist
Ayşe Düzkan, Writer
With the support of:
Behzat Taş (program booklet)
Ülfet Taylı (program booklet)
Bink (graphic design); Başak Horasan Özocak & Simlâ Sunay
Women’s Refugee Cuisine
Pikselist (web design)
Stüdyo Spot (video recording)