Thursday 12 January in Milan it is Tempo di ASLI ERDOGAN

10 January 2017

Where there are books, there are ideas: free and in movement. Or at least that’s how it should be. The series of previews of Tempo di Libri opens with a reflection about the contexts and regimes that deny freedom of thought and of the press, which will enrich the path towards the new Fiera dell’Editoria Italiana (Italian Publishing Fair) (to be held at the Milan Rho Fair from 19 to 23 April 2017). On Thursday 12 January in the Sala Piccola of the Teatro Dal Verme, Milan (at 18.30), the Turkish sociologist Pinar Selek, an antimilitary activist for human rights, will meet the journalist Lirio Abbate and the researcher and expert on modern-day Turkey, Lea Nocera, in a discussion moderated by the director of Rai Radio3 Marino Sinibaldi concerning Asli Erdogan. The authoress of the book Miraculous Mandarin, Asli Erdogan was imprisoned for four months as a result of her period of collaboration with the pro-Kurdish newspaper Özgür Gündem. Released on 29 December, with the risk of a sentence of life-imprisonment following her trial, the journalist and writer will take part in the debate from Turkey via Skype.

In the alphabet of Tempo di Libri – twenty-six letters for twenty-six key works, compasses for finding the way between the themes and meetings of the Fair – this event is based on D for dissident. This is the word describing both Asli Erdogan and Pinar Selek, who has been living in France for years with a request pending in Turkey for a sentence to life imprisonment. The sociologist will talk about her own experience in her fight against violence and injustice and in defence of freedom of opinion and publication which, in a world moulded by words, represent the very horizon over which thoughts and actions take shape. During the meeting – in support of the campaign I read Asli Erdogan launched by the Turkish publisher of the authoress – male and female Italian writers including Silvia Ballestra, Alessandro Bertante, Helena Janeczek, Federica Manzon, Alessandro Mari and Bianca Pitzorno will read extracts from Miraculous Mandarin and will sign copies of the book, following the example of their Turkish colleagues at the last publishing fair of Istanbul.

Asli Erdogan is one of the most important representatives of modern-day Turkish literature: her books have been translated into 17 languages; she has won important literary awards in Turkey and Europe (the most recent, the Tucholsky Prize, awarded by the Swedish PEN while the authoress was in prison) and was indicated by the French magazine Lire as one of the “50 writers of the future”, those who will leave a mark in the XXI century. On 17 August 2016, a month after the failed military coup in Turkey, Asli Erdogan was arrested together with other journalists of the pro-Kurdish newspaper Özgür Gündem with the accusation of “incitement to disorder”, “terrorist propaganda” and “belonging to a terrorist organisation” (the reference is to the Kurdish Workers’ Party, PKK). In letters written from prison, she gave a warning to Europe: “Not only freedom of thought, but also the conscience has been subjected to trail.

Entrance to the meeting is free of charge until seats run out

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