The writer, poet, and theater author of Turkish-Arab origin Murathan Mungan was born in Istanbul in 1955 and grew up in Mardin near the Syrian border. His childhood was marked by linguistic-cultural contradictions, many of his Kurdish and Arab relatives were not skilled in Turkish; his father encouraged him not to speak Kurdish to protect himself from hostility. Mungan studied theater studies at the University of Ankara and was later a dramaturge at the national theaters in Ankara and Istanbul. Since 1975, he has published his texts in newspapers and magazines, in 1980 he wrote his first play »Mahmud ile Yezida« (tr: Mahmud and Yezida), which together with »Taziye« (1982; tr: Condolences) and »Geyikler Lanetler« (1992; tr: Deer Curses) forms Mungan’s Mesopotamia trilogy – a milestone of modern Turkish theater. »Geyikler Lanetler« as produced by Mustafa Avkiran with the Turkish State Theater in Ankara, could be seen at the 1999 »Theater der Welt« festival in Berlin.
Murathan Mungan is the author of over thirty novels and poetry and prose volumes. »Doğu Sarayı« (2006, tr: Eastern Palace) is a volume of five stories about romantic relationships between opposite characters in an interplay between the search for identity, sexuality, and societal resistance, into which the author brings a rich treasure trove of Turkish, Arab, Kurdish and Persian fairy tales and legends and completes the arc to issues of today. Mungan’s theater influence can be seen in the plasticity of his character descriptions and the rich, vivid language he uses. In his novella »Çador« (2004) Mungan tells the story of a young man who returns home after years of exile. While searching for his mother, sister, brother, and lover, he barely recognizes his country that is disfigured by war and violence and remains in agony. The rule that women must cover themselves parallels the new regime’s ban on images as denials of physical existence: »Half of his life was gone…In his fantasy that faded day by day, the faces he yearned for were left behind like empty caves.« In his novel »Kadindan kentler« (2008, tr: Cities of Women) Mungan examines the world of Turkish women between tradition and modernity in stories of everyday life. In his works, he also tackles current and difficult topics in Turkish society such as the Kurdish conflict or the Armenian genocide.
Mungan has received, among others, the Erdal Öz Literary Prize. He lives in Istanbul and is a 2018 guest of the DAAD Artists-in-Berlin Program.