Ece Temelkuran

Portrait Ece Temelkuran
Ece Temelkuran [© Joanna Paciorek]

Ece Temelkuran was born in Izmir, Turkey, in 1973. Before graduating in law from Ankara University in 1995, she worked as a journalist for Turkey’s oldest newspaper »Cumhuriyet« and in 1996 published her first book »Bütün Kadınların Kafası Karışıktır« [tr: All Women Are Confused], in which she denounces the high and contradictory demands of society on women.

She was a political columnist for »Milliyet« from 2000–2009 and regularly contributed to international media outlets. In 2010, she moved to »Habertürk«, where she wrote columns and hosted her own television program until 2012. She was dismissed for an article critical of the government but found a new home at the online magazine »Guernica« and the »Guardian«, among others. Her investigative work on controversial topics such as the Kurdish conflict, the women’s movement, and political prisoners has been awarded many prizes, including the German state prize for the best journalist of the year [1996] and the Pen for Peace [2001]. In addition to nonfiction books such as »Ağrı’nın Derinliği« [2008; Eng. »Deep Mountain«, 2010], a nuanced account of the bloody rift between Turkey and Armenia, Temelkuran has also published poetry. In »İç Kitabı« [2002; tr: The Book of the Inside], she embarks on a journey to an undiscovered continent within herself, and in »Book of the Edge« [2010], she invites readers to become researchers and to question the ignorance and cruelty of their existence.

In 2010, she published her first novel »Muz Sesleri« [tr: Banana Sounds], which tells the story of two young women, one sent to Lebanon from the Philippines, the other a Turkish student – two lives that at first seem to have no connection at all, but whose stories intersect in Beirut. Her novel »Düğümlere Üfleyen Kadınlar« [2013; Eng. »Women Who Blow on Knots«, 2017] refers to the Quranic verse al-Falaq about protection from »evil women« who, in the narrative, flee from the male-dominated Arab world in search of themselves. It won the PEN Award [2016] and the Edinburgh Literature Festival Award [2017]. Temelkuran was named Ambassador of a New Europe for »Turkey: The Insane and the Melancholy« [2016], which takes an unsparing look at her country. In her bestseller »The Time of Mute Swans« [2017], which resonates with current conditions in Turkey, she recounts a military coup from the perspective of two children. Her acclaimed »How to Lose a Country: The Seven Steps from Democracy to Dictatorship« [2019] scrutinizes the international rise of populism and the decline of democracy and has been translated into more than ten languages. »Together: 10 Choices for a Better Now« [2021] is a contemporary manifesto calling for a vote of no confidence in the powerful and their destructive systems and for shaping the present ourselves.

Temelkuran was named an honorary citizen of Palermo in 2019 and is a council member of Progressive International. She is currently a fellow at The New Institute, Hamburg.

Date: 2022