I was happy to hear that one of my short stories has been translated into Turkish and published in a literary magazine. I was even more tickled to see the list of names on the cover - amid the Turkish names, a couple of foreigners. Andrew Blackman and Marcel Proust.
Don’t worry, I’m not getting delusions of grandeur. I know I’ve got a lot of work to do before I catch up with Proust in terms of literary standing. But it was nice to share a cover with him.
The story of how one of my stories came to be translated into Turkish is an interesting one. I got an email out of the blue one day last summer from a Turkish writer called Ömer Ayhan, saying that he loved my novel On the Holloway Road and wanted to meet up to get his copy signed while he was in London.
I met him for coffee at Caravan in central London one afternoon. We chatted about writing and books, and it turned out that he’d spent time in London before and knew the Holloway Road well. His writing sounds fascinating – one of his books is influenced by psychogeography, and the buildings of Istanbul have a strong effect on the characters’ emotions and actions.
Anyway I gave him a copy of one of my stories, and he said he’d see if he could get it translated and published in Turkey when he got back. A year later, voila! I am published in the pages of Sarniç Öykü. They’re sending me a copy, apparently, and I’m looking forward to seeing my words in a language of which I have absolutely no comprehension.
There’s a similarity here with my previous post How interesting projects come about – in both cases, a cup of coffee with a stranger led to an unexpected and fruitful collaboration. So the conclusion is clear: forget all the writing advice you’ve heard. The key to getting published is to drink more coffee.
By the way, there’s even talk of translating On the Holloway Road into Turkish – stay tuned…