When I started learning English at the age of twelve in English High School for Girls in my hometown Istanbul, I hardly knew I was to fall in love with English Language and English Literature for Life.
I started writing poems four years later, won school competitions, etc. And upon graduation from Robert College High School in 1986, I received an ‘Excellence in English Award’, sharing it with a school mate who became a novelist later on.
Afterwards, in my university years, I studied liberal arts, music, literature and drama, receiving a BA(Honours) degree in Sociology. During my studies, I went to the United States and England where I did my MA degree in ‘British Cultural Studies’ in Warwick University, Coventry.
On and off I was writing my little poems throughout my higher education, in English. I started working as a private English teacher later on, something that I don’t do now.
My mother was working in Robert College Library then, a place that I often visited to take out books. The librarians, a group of Turkish and British women, alongside my mother, were suggesting to me ‘to write more’. They were saying I needed to get out my inner thoughts and feelings in writing, which they found me capable of doing.
And I was having a hard time to find a 9 to 5 job which I would like to do. Up till now, I never worked in a full-time job. When my writing speed increased, I started thinking about publishing my poems in a book. Since I was living in Istanbul, I started to search for a British Publisher who would publish my poems in England, to a native English speaking audience.
Olympia Publishers is now publishing my second poetry book. My first poetry book was published in February 2018.
I felt great during the entire publishing process, dealing with editing, etc. Finally my poems were going to reach an audience which I never anticipated in earlier years.
My advice to new writers/poets is to never give up 1) writing, 2) hoping that they can be noticed by a larger audience one day, if only they persisted. From uncertainty and a blurred vision of future, I came all this way and am proud now that my second poetry book is getting published.
There is another element in my writing which I would like to share. From my high school years, when my poems started to get published in school literary magazines, I always thought I would give up writing one day. Other professions appealed to me like becoming a doctor or a pianist (I have piano training since the age of six). But all those ideas didn’t carry through and the writing process didn’t allow for any other serious professions to permeate my life.
I was always an artistic person and love all forms of art- from painting to singing to wood painting. Yet my love and affinity for English language surpass all else. Shakespeare’s work is always my favourite and Emily Dickenson is also one of my lifelong idols.