The Official Version
Defne is a writer and editor specialising in literary fiction and magical realism. Her historical novel about the first female alchemist of the Ottoman Empire is forthcoming with İthaki in the autumn of 2023. Her slow book, “Þórdís, Bana Bir Fal Bakar mısın?” was published in 2022, and “Galata’nın Kıvırcık Cadısı,” in 2021 (The Poet House). Her bilingual art book collaboration “Misafir*Hane / Guest*House,” came out in 2019 (Mas Matbaa.)
She is of mixed heritage, writing in Turkish and English, with whimsical side notes in Dutch and Spanish.
& the Meandering One…
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 divide my time between Istanbul and Barcelona.
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, fairy tale book, “Þórdís, Bana Bir Fal Bakar mısın?” was published in 2022, and “Galata’nın Kıvırcık Cadısı,” in 2021, both in Turkish and both by The Poet House. They form the first two books in an illustrated Trilogy of Witches where I focus on sorceresses who live at the peripheries, outside the European center. The third in the series will be out in winter 2023. My bilingual art book collaboration, “Misafir*Hane / Guest*house,” was published in 2019 by Mas Matbaa and tells the story of a real life Istanbulite shelter for trans individuals, LGBTQI+ asylum seekers and refugees. It won the Cultural Renovations Fund of the Netherlands Consulate General in Istanbul.
I have also co-edited three books in English: Miscellaneous: Writing Inspired by the Hunterian (The Hunterian, 2014), New Fairy Tales: Essays and Stories (Unlocking Press, 2013) Tip Tap Flat: A View of Glasgow (Freight, 2012) and was first the fiction editor, then the editor-in-chief of Unsettling Wonder: a Journal of Folk and Fairy Tales (Papaveria Press, 2012-2017).
My short stories have appeared in New Writing Scotland, Gutter, Glasgow Review of Books, Awham, Lunate, Fractured West, Milk Candy Review, and Visual Verse among others. 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 also worked as lecturer in Comparative Literature at Koç University, as well as a Creative Writing tutor at Gebze Women’s Prison, the Walrus Bookshop in Buenos Aires 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 and became a certified Jungian coach through Dr. Avi Goran Bar’s Jungian Coaching School.
I am currently working for UN Women on their fairy tale project, “Awake, Not Sleeping,” as well as writing personal fairy tales on commission. You can find more information about my published work, art, and projects on this website.