Image credit Valerie Hammond.


The Official, Short Version

Defne Çizakça is a writer and editor of mixed heritage (Dutch & Turkish) who experiments with magical realism, fairy tales and historical fiction. Her slow book, “Galata’nın Kıvırcık Cadısı,” was published in 2021 (The Poet House) and her bilingual art book collaboration “Misafir*Hane / Guest*house,” in 2019 (Mas Matbaa.) She writes in both Turkish and English.

The Less Official, Elongated Version

I was born in the midst of the Mediterranean, on beautiful and divided Cyprus, lived in Malaysia, the Netherlands, Germany, Morocco, Belgium, Scotland, Argentina, Hungary, the United States and currently reside in Istanbul. I write and edit in both English and Turkish, and paint in a clumsy language of my own making.

I have a BA and MA in Continental Philosophy from the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, and a Ph.D. in Creative Writing from the University of Glasgow, where I won the Gillian Purvis Award for New Writing. My work is represented by Howard Morhaim of Howard Morhaim Literary Agency Inc., New York.

My slow book, “Galata’nın Kıvırcık Cadısı,” was published in Turkish by The Poet House, 2021, and a bilingual art book collaboration, “Misafir*Hane / Guest*house,” was published in 2019 by Mas Matbaa. The first is about Istanbulite witches, the second about a local shelter that welcomed trans individuals, LGBTQI+ asylum seekers and refugees. Misafir*hane sadly closed in 2020.

My short stories have appeared in New Writing Scotland, Gutter, Glasgow Review of Books, DECOMP, Fractured West, Milk Candy Review, and Visual Verse among others. I was the editor-in-chief of Unsettling Wonder: a Journal of Folk and Fairy Tales for 6 years, and co-edited three books, Tip Tap Flat: A View of Glasgow (Freight, 2012), New Fairy Tales: Essays and Stories (Unlocking Press, 2013) and Miscellaneous: Writing Inspired by the Hunterian (The Hunterian, 2014). I was Writer in Residence at the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation in New Mexico, and at the Hunterian Museums in Glasgow where I researched, wrote and conducted creative writing workshops on the un-exhibited parts of the collection. In 2018 I was a Research Excellence Fellow at Central European University. I worked as lecturer in Comparative Literature at Koç University, as well as a Creative Writing tutor at Gebze Women’s Prison and the Scottish Universities International Summer School. Most recently, I was a Helen Gartner Hammer Scholar in Residence at the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute at Brandeis University, and then a Research Fellow at the same institution. (2019-2021)

During the pandemic I fell in love with the intricate work of Carl Gustav Jung, wanted to explore the collective unconscious further and became a certified Jungian coach through Dr. Avi Goran Bar’s Jungian Coaching School.

I am currently working on a novel in Turkish. You can find more information about my published work, art, projects and daydreams on this website.