„Ein von Schatten begrenzter Raum“
(A Space Bounded by Shadows)
Reading by the author, Emine Sevgi Özdamar
After the military coup in 1971, the military holds the lives and dreams of the people of Turkey captive. Artists, leftists and intellectuals fear for their lives, including the narrator, who flees from Istanbul across the sea to Europe. She takes with her dream of becoming an actress and the unconditional desire to make the cultural wealth of her country known elsewhere and to keep it alive, from which she has been so abruptly cut off, without allowing herself to be limited to her own origins in the “zoo of languages”. And it is there, in the heart of the divided Berlin, on the boulevards of Paris, and in conversation with admired poets and thinkers, she finally finds herself in the “break from hell”, where art, politics and life seem to be at one without limitation.
Emine Sevgi Özdamar’s new novel is a multi-voiced paean to a post-war Europe in which, for a short time, it seemed possible that borders could be torn down with the means of poetry alone. It is a wistful ode to the friends, artists and acquaintances who accompanied her on her journey. Above all else, however, it is the eloquent opening of a space between threat and security, a space bounded by shadows.
“I was very unhappy at that time in my Turkish language. My words were ill. In 1971, there was a military coup. People were tortured, killed and imprisoned because of their words. Only a dream was able to help me at that difficult time. Back then in Istanbul, the words of Brecht helped me and promised me a utopia: big things don’t stay big, and small things don’t stay small. Brecht had personally experienced fascism before we did.” Emine Sevgi Özdamar
Biography: Emine Sevgi Özdamar
Emine Sevgi Özdamar grew up in Istanbul, where she also attended drama school. In the late 1970s, due to the worsening political situation in her home country, she decided to move to Berlin. She worked as an assistant to directors such as Matthias Langhoff, Einar Schleef and Claus Peymann. In addition to her work as an actress, Özdamar began directing and writing plays herself, followed by short stories and novels. She has been a member of the Berlin Akademie der Künste (Academy of Arts) since 2017. #künsteimexil