Thursday, November 11, 2010

Literature seminar: “Faultlines, Fictions and Futures”

As part of my role within the British Council Benelux, I will have the chance to attend the Our Shared Europe Literature seminar that will take place in Berlin this weekend, from 12 to 14 November 2010. I will mostly blog on the British Council Culture:Log blog about the sessions throughout the weekend.
I have to say that I am really excited about meeting Ahdaf Soueif, a writer I've been admiring for a long time (and who was also praised by the late Edward Said). She will chair the seminar, and other speakers will include writers Inaam Kachachi, Jamal Mahjoub and Robin Yassin-Kassab. There will be a wide range of participants coming from the UK, Germany, Malta, the Netherlands, Serbia, Slovenia, Portugal, Turkey, France, Greece and Belgium.

If you want to follow the seminar, watch the Culture:Log blog and my twitter account.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

"Cap ou pas Clap?"

Two weeks ago, I participated to a competition organized by Cinepocket and took the Cap ou pas Clap challenge... The title of the competition comes from Cap ou pas cap in French, which literally translates as "Capable or not capable" and means "do you dare?" 

The challenge was to make a 2-minute movie with a mobile phone within 72 hours. The theme and the rules were revealed on the Friday and deadline to compete was Monday. The theme was "anniversary" and one main directive was that a French component needed to appear in the movie. 

I've chosen an anniversary that is dear to me, the 10th anniversary of the 1999 Marmara Earthquake. You may remember that I had written a post on that day. I've also finalized a screenplay for a short movie (in English) and a short story (in French) around this particular theme. This competition gave me the opportunity to explore another way to tell a story. My "pocket film" is entitled Zelzele, which means "earthquake" in Turkish and comes from Arabic, it is also the title of a Surat of the Qur'an

The film was shown with the 10 other selected films at the FIFF (Festival International du Film Francophone, in Namur). The public voted and three films won a prize. Zelzele didn't win any formal prize but it did gather some nice responses from the audience. I'm really happy it could be shown and is now available on different online platforms, and finally on my own blog. 

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Fethiye Çetin presents “Anneannem” in Amsterdam

On Monday evening, the cultural and literary venue SPUI25 was full almost over capacity, with people waiting outside glimpsing through the glass door in the hope of spotting an empty seat. They were all there to listen to Fethiye Çetin, lawyer, writer and human rights activist from Turkey, who was in Amsterdam for the launch of the Dutch translation of her book Anneannem (My Grandmother, a Memoir published in English by Verso in 2008). She was just back from a visit to Australia as an invited guest of the Melbourne Writers' Festival.

Fethiye Çetin was born in the small town of Maden in Turkey. In Anneannem she recounts the 1915 Armenian genocide through the story of her maternal grandmother. Taken from her family, Christian-born Heranus was rescued from death by a Muslim military man who brought her up as the Muslim girl Seher.

The evening was moderated Bernard Bouwman journalist and former correspondent to the NRC and NOS in Turkey, with the support of Hanneke van der Heijden, Dutch translator of the book, who has interpreted Ms Çetin’s words to an audience mixed with Turkish and Dutch speakers. “A small book with big themes” is how Bouwman started his presentation of My Grandmother, a Memoir. Not that the number of pages of a book should ever reflect its content, he was trying to emphasize on the importance of the subject matter. When asked why she has written this book, Fethiye Çetin explained that “whenever the Armenian issue is discussed in Turkey, facts and numbers are always given in a very cold manner. The name we should give to the issue is being discussed constantly; the number of death varies from 1.5 million to 400,000 and even dropped down to 50,000! I remember a columnist who wrote ‘where do they get these number from, it can’t be more than 300,000’ as if it were no big deal, as if we were talking about things and not people.” Ms Çetin’s story is but one step to fight towards this dehumanization. “Everybody can identify with the grandmother” says Çetin, and she describes the grandmother’s daily life, how she cooks or washes the laundry, things we can all relate to. When Anneannem came out in Turkey, heavy discussions were going on in the country about the massacres of 1915, but fortunately, Çetin hasn’t been trialed for her book. “I was very cautious not to use any censurable words in the book I have to admit” says the writer. One also has to remember that Çetin is first of all a lawyer, “but I was ready to go on trial if this would have happened, I prepared myself for it when writing.”

Reactions in Turkey were quite positive, because of the character of the grandmother but also because many people had a similar hidden story within their families “Many readers started to share their own stories with me, telling me about their own grandmothers being Armenians too.” But how does it feel to discover such a secret years after, as an adult (Çetin was told the story in the beginning of the 70’s)? “It used to be more difficult in the past” says Çetin, “but nowadays, more and more people want to research their family history.” The issue was silenced until not so long ago in Turkey, and getting information isn’t always easy. “Data isn’t accessible or ‘lost’ –some are said to have burnt.” This is why, Çetin says over and over again, it is essential to tell the stories, “we need to hear the stories of our grandparents and families.” However, we can do better in learning about Turkey’s historical past, and denial is one road we can’t take anymore. Among the reasons of this national policy of “forgetting” lies the nationalism built upon the creation of the Republic of Turkey in 1923. “The population is silenced and remains silent altogether, and that is something I’ve been trying to understand throughout the story too.”

When asked if she feels a victim of history, Fethiye Çetin responds with plain honesty, “my grandmother was a victim, but I am not. I feel responsible for these events of history. I am responsible for today’s denial of 1915.” And she adds, “when I learned about my family’s past, I felt liberated from the chains of nationalism. I looked around me and saw things differently.” Through this book, Fethiye Çetin wishes we build a better future, together: “If we want to laugh together” she says, “we first need to cry together.”

Anneannem has also been published in French and Dutch
Le Livre de ma grand-mère, Éditions de l’Aube.
Het geheim van mijn grootmoeder, Uitgeverij Van Gennep.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Editing the World: an evening with Granta editor John Freeman

John Freeman and Maarten Asscher at Spui25, Amsterdam
John Freeman, editor of literary magazine Granta, was invited to give a talk at Spui25, the literary-cultural centre of the University of Amsterdam, on 29 September. The event was moderated by Maarten Asscher, the director of the Athenaeum Boekhandel, an excellent pluridisciplinary, multilingual bookshop in the centre of Amsterdam. 

Freeman is a journalist, book critic and writer from the US, and has written a.o. for the Guardian and the Wall Street Journal. Freeman became editor of Granta in 2008, after six years on the board of the National Book Critics Circle. He is also the author of The Tyranny of e-mail published in 2009, a book about the challenges of over information and a plea for slow communication.

Maarten Asscher announced in his introduction that the event was, next to a presentation of the magazine's history and its editor's vision, a celebration of issue 112: Pakistan
"It's weird to be here as a guy born in Ohio, who grew up in California, speaking in the Netherlands about a British literary magazine on an issue about Pakistan!" says Freeman, adding how wonderful he finds that the windows of the Athenaeum Boekhandel are full of Granta magazines

The first issue after its rebirth in 1979 (Granta was founded in 1889 by Cambridge students) was on New American Writing. Since then, explains Freeman, Granta has been a cultural space where writers can explore, "We want to publish a piece that doesn't fit elsewhere." When asked why Pakistan? He simply answers "why not?" Granta has already focused on places in past issues: London, Russia, Australia, Chicago... "We are looking for new writers all the time" says Freeman, "and there are many in Pakistan at the moment." 

The cover of the Pakistan issue was painted by bus and truck artist Islam Gull from Karachi. His work was commissioned with the assistance of the local British Council office in Karachi (well done colleagues). 

Freeman very much believes in the magical experience of reading a book, and this experience, he explains, is even stronger today that we are constantly connected to a machine: cell phone, e-reader, computer, TV... But he also mentions that having a print edition actually isn't commercially profitable, "we lose money." Freeman very much acknowledges the necessity of online communication tools to engage with their readers, but seems a strong advocate for print, "bringing an e-reader to bed is just like bringing any electronic appliance to the bedroom, it just doesn't feel right to me. But if people like it, I'm not going to argue against it of course." 

Freeman has a clear vision of what he wants Granta to be: "We need to expand the idea of what a magazine is," he says, "Granta isn't about culture, it is about creating culture." He emphasizes on the important role of editors as advocates for writers and the existence of Granta "to capture the world and present writers who have something to write, a story that only they can write and that rips blood to get published." 

When asked about writing his own book, Freeman confesses "I do miss the research and writing," telling anecdotes about his researches at the New York Public Library. Would he write for Granta? "No, I want to find the best writers in the world" he says passionately, "I don't even write introductions. I want the magazine to sound like a score, with no prelude." 

Economically, Granta can exist thanks to publisher and philanthropist Sigrid Rausing who bought Granta Publications in 2005. When talking about sustainability, Freeman gives marketing strategies as examples, "if it will help us get readers, we do need to think about ads too." However, Asscher does point out that, when compared to Dutch literary magazines that circulate between 300 and 1100 copies, Granta's 55000 is an astronomical number. 

What about the future? Will the digital beat the print version of Granta? "The most likely scenario is that it will be hybrid; some will read the print version and some will read the digital one." Today is a celebration of the print version with its beautiful cover and printed on a quality grained paper, but above all, it is the celebration of good writing. And it is inspiring to listen to such an enthused editor, who is more concerned about the quality of writing than of the format or tools on which we will read good writing now or in the future. 

In the next issues, Granta will have a focus on several themes including: feminism today, the best Spanish speaking writing, aliens, ten years after (9/11),... 

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

I Value the Arts: a National Campaign in the UK

I may not live in the UK, but I do work for a UK organisation and I do manage projects to enable artists from the UK and the Benelux to present their work, and I do facilitate relationships between arts professionals working in these countries and sometimes beyond. And above all this, I love the arts and I believe in the importance of the arts in our lives. I therefore strongly support the Campaign "I Value the Arts", which is run by The National Campaign for the Arts. As it is explained on their website: "The National Campaign for the Arts decided to run this campaign after being approached by members who were concerned that the public had no way to make their views on support for the arts heard." You can find all the necessary information here
Cuts in the arts is not only a huge issue in the UK at the moment but in many other countries including the Netherlands and Belgium. This campaign may be a good example we should all start copying if we do value the arts. This is one way of making one's voice heard, if you have other examples, please do share them. 

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Early Music Festival in Utrecht

Utrecht just had an intensive ten days festival of French Baroque music during the OudeMuziek Festival. A most wonderful experience if you like early music especially in such an authentic city as Utrecht. Stepping out of a church/concert hall you still feel in the 17th century walking among the canal houses and on the cobbled roads. The music still in your head, you just ignore all the cars and all the modern day things that surround you (yes, okay, you ignore it all and just daydream basically, but the setting helps enormously). 

At the head of this beautiful and the world's largest Early Music Festival is Xavier Vandamme. I know Xavier from BOZAR, when I used to work there a press officer and Xavier was deputy director of BOZAR MUSIC. His programme was already most ambitious and original back then, and I could only but trust his choices for Utrecht. He explains in the introduction to the year programme that the Utrecht Early Music Festival "holds the ambition and the responsibility to be the premier stage for research and creativity in [the] field". He also tells about his focus on French Baroque: "The case of French repertoire - still undervalued or even unknown outside its native country - and its many talented performers is one that Utrecht takes on his pride".

Pandhof, Utrecht
I had the chance to listen to four concerts last Saturday. 

I started the day with La lanterne magique de M. Couperin, a performance by harpsichord player Bertrand Cullier, accompanied by images drawn by stage director and actress Louise Moaty and projected with a magic lantern. Lighted by a few candles, Cullier plays François Couperin under a screen shaped as a moon where Moaty projects her stories: Les Tours de passe-passe, L'Arlequine, Tic-toc-choc, Les Ombres errantes...  and together they created a wonderful dialogue between music and images. 

Jacobiekerk, Utrecht.
This most dreamlike performance was followed by a concert at the Jacobiekerk with Les Agréments, in a programme of opera arias directed by Guy Van Waas and sung by baritone Pierre-Yves Pruvot.

Later in the evening was the highlight of the day, with Jean-Marc Andrieu leading his choir and orchestra, Les Passions & Les Eléments, in Gilles' Requiem, inside the Utrecht Dom.

Outside the Dom, Utrecht
The night ended in the Pieterskerk with Swedish soprano Susanne Rydén performing Lalande's Leçons de ténèbres with Paulina van Laarhoven on viola and Karl Nyhlin on lute. They ended their performance most unusually with a contemporary creation. Unfortunately, the programme didn't mention this new work so I can't write its title or even the composer's name (if you happen to know, please leave a comment). 

More Early Music throughout the year
The Festival has ended today, but the concert season of the yearly programme will start in October and run through May 2011, with Early Music concerts in churches, castles and concert halls across the Netherlands and Belgium. My personal highlights are Les Ombres Errantes in November with Ensemble Ausonia, J.S. Bach: Kunst der Fuge in January with Il suonar parlante, including Lorenzo Ghielmi and Fahmi Alqhai, The harpsichord players of Louis XIV with Aurélien Delage in Februari, the Trio Hantaï in March and Gustav Leonhardt in April. 

More information can be found on 

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Edinburgh Book Festival

A very short post to let you know that I will participate to the British Council Edinburgh Bookcase from 19 to 23 August. For all of you interested in literature from the UK, you can follow the Bookcase through "My Edinburgh Bookcase Blog"
Hope you'll enjoy!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

My week at the Sarajevo Talent Campus

It's been more than a week since I'm back from the Sarajevo Talent Campus. Being part of such a great international film festival like the Sarajevo Film Festival was definitely a wonderful experience both at the personal and professional levels. More than 60 participants were selected as "Talents" in the following fields: directing, producing, screenwriting and acting. I was one of the selected screenwriters. I'm still not very comfortable being called a "talent", but I got used to accept the term within the frame of the programme.

The one week programme was extremely busy and productive, including lectures, workshops, meetings, screenings followed by Q&As, with experts in different fields of the film industry. Memorable moments include lectures of Semih Kaplanoglu, Samuel Maoz and Gaspar Noé, that I reported back on this blog. One most memorable moment was the one hour conversation with Morgan Freeman, who came to see the Talent Campus participants. He spoke about his early career, shared some anecdotes from his years on Broadway, talked about his collaborations with Clint Eastwood, pretty general stuff you would say, but it is quite something to hear it from the man in real, sitting in front of you.

We had the opportunity to meet with young german producers to share ideas and look for potential projects to apply for the Robert Bosch Stiftung Co-production Prize. Frank Albers, director of the Robert Bosh Stiftung (partner of the Talent Campus), was present at most of the Talent Campus events and really encouraged participants to look closely at this opportunity. Also present during the whole programme were organisers of the Berlinale Talent Campus, also partner of the Sarajevo Talent Campus. Both organisations hosted special sessions about their own programmes and the opportunities they offer to young film makers at the national and international level.

Within the general programme, each area of work had its own workshop sessions. Screenwriters had the chance to work with Licia Eminenti, script analyst and director. We had a two day session during which we analysed two movies: Flanders by Bruno Dumont and 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days by Cristian Mungiu. The format wasn't really that of a workshop, as intended, but the focus of our analysis was "From the particular to the universal" and to see how these writers/directors managed or tried to tell a universal story from a very particular situation. Another very fruitful session for screenwriters was a one to one feedback session with an expert. Mine was with Miroslav Mandic, screenwriter and director. It was incredibly refreshing to have someone sit in front of you and tell you straight what was good, less good, to be developed or simply to trash within your script. The script I gave for analysis is the one I have written about the 1999 earthquake that took place in the Marmara region in Turkey. A difficult one I must admit as it poses many production problems. But after this session, I can now re-work on the script and develop the relationship between the characters rather than the chaos that surrounds them.

Among the many other interesting sessions you can read about on the online programme, was a session with Bosnian animator and director Ivan Ramadan. In a session entitled "Animation in a nutshell" Ivan Ramadan talked about his work and how he came to start animation short films - you can also see him explain it himself in this video interview. Ramadan has worked on two short movies, one of which, Tolerantia, was awarded the best short film award at the Sarajevo Film Festival in 2008, and Wondermilk, presented at this year's Children Programme of the Sarajevo Film Festival.

This week has given me the opportunity to develop some ideas by talking to fellow "talents", get inspired by major artists and experts from the industry and receive some very valuable feedback about my work as a screenwriter and the possibilities that are out there to further develop myself.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Gaspar Noé at the Sarajevo Talent Campus

One of the last directors to visit the Talent Campus was Gaspar Noé, in a session following his latest movie "Enter the Void". This was Gaspar Noé's fourth visit to the Sarajevo Film Festival where a tribute was paid to his work in a previous edition.

Gaspar Noé explains that with "Enter the Void" he wanted to get inside the head of someone who is doing mushrooms. He thought of making "Enter the Void" for almost twenty years. When selling the film to potential producers, he explains that he kept giving successful films as examples to illustrate his film, one of them being "Trainspotting". But he also explains that financing was made possible because he had previously made "Irreversible", a commercial success starring Vincent Cassel and Monica Bellucci.

In the beginning of "Enter the Void" you see reality through the eyes of a character, Oscar, until a shift happens when he gets shot. The viewer doesn't really know what is happening, says Noé, is it a dream, an hallucination? But Noé adds that trips and dreams are far more experimental than what we can experience watching "Enter the Void". Music and colours were really important to render the mushroom trip experience. The film takes place in Tokyo and is very visual, therefore the script needed to describe the locations in details explains Noé. Some scenes were very short in the script but really long in the movie. Gaspar Noé adds that for him scripts are made to finance the film and that the real film starts when you start shooting. The film is full of very vivid colours but no blue, because blue isn't a mental colour, explains the director. They avoided using blue in the film because dreams are most of the time in black and white, maybe on acid you can see some colours, but never blue. He adds that the music in the film is also messy, like a mushroom trip.

Within the powerful visual and sound effects are the main characters, a brother and sister who were seperated in their childhood because they lost their parents in a car accident. Both are craving for affection and want to produce the family they lost. There's an incestual energy in their relationship, which wasn't in the initial script, explains Noé. The characters are complex because, says the director, he doesn't like films where you're told who is good or bad. We are all complex, he adds.

Making a feature film takes at least a year, explains Gaspar Noé, and an extra year for promotion. Some directors like to shoot a film a year, like Woody Allen, but Noé explains that he prefers to shoot a short film in between two features. Working on a short film acts like a rehearsal for the next feature, says the director. Gaspar Noé also worked on documentaries, commercials and music videos. He filmed a documentary in Africa about people dying from AIDS and explains that he watches much more documentary films than fiction. Sometimes he also shoots commercials but says he doesn't enjoy that process as it leaves very litlle freedom to the director. He also shot video clips for Placebo. Gaspar Noé is now working on a new project: an erotic love story.

You can see the pictures of this talk on the following webpage:


Monday, August 2, 2010

Samuel Maoz at the Sarajevo Talent Campus

Within the Talent Campus programme, participants had the opportunity to see Golden Lion winning movie "Lebanon" by Israeli director Samuel Maoz, and to attend a session entitled "From Personal Experience of Director to the Golden Lion" in the presence of Samuel Maoz, David Silber (producer) and Katriel Schory (executive director of the Israel Film Fund).

"Lebanon" is the personal story of Samuel Maoz and was a necessity to make, explains the director, a need to find some understanding. It took Maoz twenty five years to deal with the issues he experienced as a soldier during the first Lebanon war. When he first tried to write the script in 1988, Maoz explains that the first memory that came to his mind was the burn of flesh, which made him back off. Maoz felt the need to process the story almost in a mathematical way and told himself that as long as he could smell it, he wasn't ready to write his film. It's in 2006, during the second Lebanon war, that he decided he was ready: he tried to smell again but couldn't.

The only way to deliver war, according to Maoz, is through a very strong experience, and that's how he decided to set his film inside the tank. The aim of Maoz was to make the audience feel the war, to see the victims staring back at us. That's where the text becomes an ennemy, says Maoz: how to write such extreme feelings? He therefore decided to trust the body language, the eye. After twenty five years, Maoz wrote the script in four weeks.

Samuel Maoz went to Rotterdam to sell his story to producers. After having told it twenty, forty times, he would look at himself in the mirror and think: "you're a whore!" but then, laughing, Maoz adds,"at least I'm a whore who likes his job!"

Reactions to the film differed between older and younger generations in Israel. Some older generation people would say not to show this movie or mothers won't send their children to war. But reviews were good in Israel, although the audience feelings were rather mixed. According to Maoz, "Lebanon" appeals to the human and this why it works.


Sunday, August 1, 2010

Semih Kaplanoglu at the Sarajevo Talent Campus

On the first day of the Sarajevo Talent Campus, participants had the chance to attend a lecture entitled "Tradition vs Modern: Ebb and Flow of Cinema between Center and Periphery" by Turkish filmmaker Semih Kaplanoglu, who was awarded the Golden Bear at this year's Berlinale for his film "Bal" (Honey).

Kaplanoglu started his talk by giving literature as an example of the struggle between modern and tradition. He explained that the most powerful liteature in Turkey dealing with such struggle started bursting after the thirties - i.e. right after the creation of the Turkish Republic by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk in 1923 - with authors such as Ahmet Hamdi Tanpinar who has been a model for future works of literature in Turkey. This conflict between modern and tradition still goes on today, says Kaplanoglu, between the culture in which we were born and the one we've been educated in. He adds that Orhan Pamuk, for instance, is an author who is in between these worlds.

Kaplanoglu says that he experiences this conflict every day and presents "Bal" as an example. Yusuf for instance, the main character of "Bal", is a poet who experiences things in a passionate way. Kaplanoglu has chosen a poet to be his main character because he comes himself from a culture full of poetry, as he explains. Because it takes so much effort in today's world to be a poet, Kaplanoglu has chosen to show his own struggle through the eyes of a poet, Yusuf in his film.

The basic questions one aks oneself within this struggle is "Who am I? What am I doing here? Why am I here?", but Kaplanoglu says that we tend to forget these questions in our life journeys. He adds that he believes we come to life with a feeling of loss, and that we come to the world with a certain knowledge that opens up to a spiritual or non material understanding. Our experiences are not only about this world and material things and Kaplanoglu says that art is the struggle to try to explain and feel what's beyond our material world. We were all born into a culture and caught into something different within the environment in which we live. But beyond all this, there is something we give to the world. Kaplanoglu's work represents this searching and exploration of the loss.

When Kaplanoglu first presented his trilogy at the Rotterdam film festival, producers told he was crazy and that it would be impossible to make three movies when even producing one can be extremely difficult. Fortunately, Kaplanoglu's Greek partner believed in the project. Following that, Kaplanoglu was in Cannes with two projects, found new partners and could work further on finalizing his trilogy made of : "Yumurta" (Egg), "Süt" (Milk) and "Bal" (Honey).

Kaplanoglu was 36 when he finalized his first movie, which means that he struggled for fifteen years to find producers and professionals interested in his project. In the end, he became himself a producer and learned to perform many other roles within the film industry. It took a long time for Kaplanoglu to achieve success with his films, but not all filmmakers need to experience the same process, says Kaplanoglu. Every artist, every filmmaker has its own story, its own path. Kaplanoglu ended his lecture in a very positive note reminding talent campus participants that no matter how long it can take, "never give up, believe in your project and work hard. Someone at some point will show interest in what you are doing. There are good people out there".

You can see the photo gallery of this lecture on the following webpage:


Thursday, July 29, 2010

Sarajevo Film Festival

I've been im Sarajevo for 6 days now and couldn't find a minute to write a post. The festival programme is so rich and of course, the Talent Campus I am participating to has a very rich programme on its own. So far I've seen some very good movies, including "Cirkus Columbia" by Danis Tanovic, "Bibliotheque Pascal" by Szabols Hajdu, and "Red White & Blue" by Simon Rumley.

Within the Talent Campus programme, I've had the chance to listen to some great artists and experts like Semih Kaplanoglu, Frederic Boyer (Cannes Film Festival, prorammer shorts), Maike Mia Hoehne (Berlinale, programmer shorts), some I don't especially agree with but were really worth listening to, like Bruno Dumont or Licia Eminenti, and there will be more until Saturday, including Samuel Maoz, Gaspar Noé and Morgan Freeman.

If you want to see the whole programme and see some pictures, visit the festival website at but I will also try to write about certain talks and sessions in seperate posts.


Monday, July 19, 2010

Become a Global Changemaker

If you are aged between 16 and 19 years old, care about this world's issues and want to do something about it, have a look at this wonderful opportunity to become a Global Changemaker and attend the Global Youth Summit in London from 21 to 27 November.
The call for applications is now live on and will run until Friday, 6 August.

Some criterias to apply:

- Applicants should be social entrepreneurs, community activists and/or volunteers aged 16-19 during the event.
- Applicants have to demonstrate their communicative abilities, track record and motivation to join the network and take their work further.
- A full application consists of a written application form detailing the applicants' personal details and previous work as well as a 2-minute YouTube video in English.

For the 60 selected participants, all costs involved in taking part in the summit (travel, visas, accommodation, meals, activities during the summit) will be covered by the British Council.

About Global Changemakers
Global Changemakers is a global and growing network currently consisting of 375 young social entrepreneurs and community activists from 91 countries around the world who have demonstrated a significant track record of achievement in their local communities. The mission of the programme is to empower youth worldwide to work together to catalyse positive social change and is built on 3 pillars - action on the ground (Community Action Projects), personal knowledge & growth (the sharing of best practices + exposure to and interaction with experienced activists), and giving youth a voice (at key global events such as the Global Humanitarian Forum, World Economic Forum & Clinton Global Initiative).

For more information and to apply, visit the global changemakers website on:

And do spread the word!

Photo (c)Christopher Tribble

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Sarajevo Talent Campus 2010

I woke up to very good news this morning, receiving an e-mail from the Sarajevo Talent Campus team. "We would like to announce that we have selected 64 participants for the 4th Sarajevo Talent Campus. Our selection committee has thoroughly viewed all the applications and we are happy to inform you that you have been accepted to take part in this year`s Talent Campus. " Aaa those magical words "You have been accepted", it does feel good indeed.

The Talent Campus is organised in the frame of the Sarajevo Film Festival which will take place from 23 to 31 July. I've been willing to go to this festival for quite some time now but always missed it.

The Talent Campus is a one week event that will give the opportunity to young artists to exchange views and ideas among themselves and with film professionals from across the world, through a programme of workshops, lectures, inter-festival excursions, panels and practical tutorials.

I am especially excited that I will be able to share my project about post 1980 Turkey. I have been working on a script, that I am still developing, to explore the repercussions of the military take-over of 1980 on people who live in and outside of Turkey today. Being a Turkish woman living in Europe I am mostly interested in the effects, if any, on the lives of the "exiles" and the "immigrants", and how do we, Turkish/Belgian or Turkish/German or Turkish/Dutch... feel about it and deal with it. Sharing ideas and receiving feedback from other young artists and professionals will definitely be a great experience for me and it will certainly help me develop my writing. And of course I will see plenty of films, which is afterall the best part of a film festival!

I will definitely post as much as I can from Sarajevo, so keep an eye here!

For more information about the Sarajevo Film Festival check:

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Words in the clouds

I have been thinking since a long time about a way of sharing my writings online. I had posted my short stories on issuu, received some positive comments from readers there, which motivated me to rework on my stories and put them together into a short story collection. I have sent it to about ten publishers in Belgium and in France. I knew from the start that I was going to be rejected by most (so far I have received eight rejection letters and am waiting for the last two), but why did I still want to send out my work the "traditional" way, I am not sure. Of course, even if tiny, I still had hope that a professional from the sector would put an "approval seal" on my work. But rejection after rejection (being called Mister in various letters!), having explored what was published out there, seeing the reality of the publishing world at the moment and the very low chances to get short stories published in French... I believed that I still had stories to tell and that I had access to amazing tools to do so.

What I care about is writing, writing more, failing maybe, failing again to hopefully get better at it (failing and writing), and most of all, I care about sharing. What matters in the end? Being read, it's as simple as that. So I have created a brand new website called Des mots dans les nuages where I host my short stories and make these available for download to all, under a creative commons licence. Most importantly, I left a comments section open because I care about what readers would think and I'd like to read their feedback.

Because I write fiction in French and all my short stories are in French so far, the website, as the title "Des mots dans les nuages" (Words in the Clouds") suggests, is also in French and aimed at readers who speak the language. But I still thought it useful to share my experience of "self publishing" here, and I will certainly evaluate and share the process in the months to come.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

1Blog, 1Tree

I first read the info on Nicolas Quentin's blog OuiLeO.cOm and found this an amazing initiative.

The idea is pretty simple and efficient. You only need to write a short blog post about the programme “My blog is carbon neutral” and include one of their proposed buttons below on your site (see mine on the side bar). Then you send the link to your blog to and they plant a tree for you, neutralising the carbon dioxide emissions of your blog. The trees will be planted in the spring of 2010 by the Arbor Day Foundation.

For more information about how and where the trees are planted, visit

It's easy and really worth it... so spread the word!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Open for all: Het Concertgebouw Open

On 12 June 2010, the prestigious Concertgebouw opens its doors to all for this second edition of Het Concertgebouw Open. From 12 to 17h, the Concertgebouw will welcome all for free and not only to visit their wonderful halls... but to listen to amateur musicians and artists from Amsterdam: soloists, bands, chorals... Visitors will also be able to participate to this festive event by showing their talent on the Open Zang Podium, where a pianist will accompany anyone who wants to sing, by dancing in the Tango Salon and by participating to one of the many workshops. Events will be spread throughout 10 rooms, from the Groote Zaal to the Cafe, with hundreds of artists, and a royal opening at 12h12 (it says so on the programme!) with Princess Maxima.

Some performances that have caught my attention:
  • Yim Kwan Fong: Cantonese opera from the Pijp.
  • Viola Viola orkest & Esther Apituley: a spectacular performance with 100 musicians and dancers.
  • Trio Wahnsinn: three friends improvising jazz.
  • Klezmagic: Klezmermusic from Turkey, Egypt ... by a young band lead by Emirhan Tuga.

You can see the complete programme here (in Dutch)

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Symposium on Graphic Design

The Breda Graphic Design Museum, which organized the excellent symposium about curating in the digital age I wrote about back in December, are presenting their second symposium: What are the concepts of the world's leading designers?

The symposium is organized in the frame of the current exhibition INFODECODATA exploring the place and role of data visualization in graphic design. The list of speakers is not as international as the first symposium's but it does include a great number of Dutch professionals who are experts in the field of graphic design and visual arts.

All the graphic designers out there who live in the Netherlands or in Belgium (Breda is a border town and is actually closer to Brussels than to Amsterdam), have a look at the INFODECODATA symposium page on the museum's website and don't be demotivated by the location or the date (13 June... it's a Sunday ...and my birthday). This museum is worth the trip if you're into graphic design, even more if there's a symposium during your visit.

Date & time: Sunday 13 June 2010 - 14:00 to 17:00
Language: English.
More info

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

INDIE Brussels Conference

I haven't blogged for a while, but for those of you who have followed my tweets, you know about the status of the literature projects and book fairs I've mentioned in the previous post. I will get back to these later, but for now I am in Brussels, working on the INDIE (Inclusion and Diversity in Education) conference. You can follow my posts about the event on the INDIE tree website

For more information about the INDIE project you can also visit the British Council INDIE website:

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Literature Projects and Book Fairs

This blog has been too silent for quite some time... but if you follow me on twitter, you may have seen that I'm still active. Next to my daily job focusing on cultural relations through arts and education, I have been concentrating a lot on my literature projects.

I have finalized my short story collection in French and have managed to send it - the old-fashioned way, by post! - to a dozen Francophone publishers in Belgium and in France last week. Those of you who have been reading my short stories online (and I thank you for that) may have seen that I have deleted all my online publications recently. The reason is that I have made a lot of editing to these stories and have presented them differently in the form of a collection I called Mouvements (Movements). I am still exploring ways to publish the whole collection in a digital format. More soon...

I have also been focusing on some translation work from three very different authors and languages, two of which are now in the hands of their authors' literary agents.

While waiting for some answers from these various publishers, I have started some research on different projects focusing on contemporary Turkish Literature by women writers and on Turkish History. I hope to tell you more about these when it takes a more concrete shape.

On the more concrete side of my literary life, I will visit the Brussels Book Fair on Saturday 6 March, and the London Book Fair next month and will definitely do some posting about the different events I am planning to attend. These will include discussions about online publishing and writing in the digital space.

To be continued...