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BIOGRAPHY

Mehmet Yashin (Yaşın) (1958, Nicosia) is one of the unique poets of contemporary Turkish poetry. He is also one of the internationally best-known contemporary poets and authors from Cyprus. The different voice and sensibility that he brings to Turkish poetry is based on his hybrid literary sources, combining the Turkish, Greek and Levantine cultures of the Mediterranean, creating a dramatic and narrative lyricism, using Turkish in his writing by reference to historically and geographically variant forms of the language, as well as his poetic themes which give importance to personal experiences.

He was born as a member of a cosmopolitan Cypriot family and experienced inter-communal conflicts during his childhood. His parents, who were both parts of the literary and cultural world, separated before he was born. In 1976, he went to Turkey and studied International Relations at the Faculty of Political Sciences in Ankara University. He then completed a master's degree in political history at the Institute of Social Sciences of Istanbul University. His first poetry collection was banned by the Turkish military junta which made a coup d’etat in 1980, and he was deported from Turkey in 1986 for what was characterized as his 'subversive' poetry. He went to Britain where he began post-graduate studies at the Centre for Byzantine-Ottoman and Modern Greek Studies at Birmingham University. He worked on Cypriot and Turkish literatures and cultures, and he received a postgraduate degree from Middlesex University, London. He also studied Greek Language and Literature at the University of Athens. In 1993, following the lifting of his deportation order, he returned to Istanbul, but went back to London in 1996. He has taught comparative literature, translation studies, creative writing, Cypriot studies and contemporary Turkish literature at various universities in Britain, Turkey and Cyprus. Since 2002, he has been living between Cambridge, Nicosia and Istanbul.

He has published 9 poetry collections, 3 novels, 3 essay collections, 3 anthologies and studies of Cypriot poetry in Istanbul. His books have played an important role in re-defining the literary traditions of Cyprus and Turkey. He is also known as one of the leading figures in post-1974 Cypriot poetry and literature as well as post-1980s Turkish poetry. In post-1980s Turkish poetry, he also became influential through his poems which reflected a different understanding and his critical literary essays. He developed such concepts and approaches to literature like ‘step-mothertongue,’ the center-periphery,’ and ‘Turkish minority literature.’ He is the first 'outsider' poet and author to have been widely recognized as a contemporary author in Turkish literature, despite not having been born in Turkey and not being a Turkish citizen. His work has been translated into more than 20 languages and his books have been published in various countries. His poems were arranged to music and adapted for the stage as well as to visual arts.

Books in Translation:
English:
Don't Go Back to Kyrenia (poetry, trans. Taner Baybars, ed. Peter Bush, 2001, Middlesex University Press World Literature Series, UK)
Wartime (poetry, trans. Taner Baybars, 2007, Happy Dragons' Press, UK)
Step-Mothertongue: From Nationalism to Multiculturalism Literatures of Cyprus, Greece and Turkey (ed. Essays, 2000, Middlesex University Press, World Literature Series, UK)

French:
Constantinople n'attend plus personne (poetry, trans. Alain Mascarou, 2008, Bleu Autour, France)
La recontre de Sapho et Rumi (poetry, trans. Alain Mascarou-Asli Altug, La Refugee)

German:
Istanbul wartet auf niemanden mehr (poetry, trans. Recai Hallaç, Christina Tremmel-Turan, Tevfik Turan, Auf dem Ruffel, 2014)

Italian:
Il drago ha anche le ali (poetry, trans. Rosita D'Amora, 2008, Argo, Italy)
Le ore del confino (parts of a novel and biography, trans. and intro. Rosita D'Amora and Anna Lia Proietti Ergun, 2008, Mediterraneo è Cultura, Italy)
Il vostro fratello del segno dei pesci (novel, trans. Rosita D'Amora and Anna Lia Proietti, 2010, Gremese, Italy)

Latvian:
Vecas dziesmas no Jaunas pilsetas (2008, Adrina, trans. Uldis Berzins)

Dutch:
De nachtbus (poetry, trans. Dick Koopman, edit. Kees Klock, Liverse, 2010, Holland)

(Please click the Turkish section of this website for the Turkish language books by Mehmet Yashin.)

Awards:
1985 Turkish Academy Poetry Prize & A. Kadir Poetry Prize.
1995 Cevdet Kudret Novel Prize.
2005 Memet Fuat Literary Criticism and Study Prize.

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