Thursday, 15 July 2010

"Banditry enhanced my life."

At least for now.
Yesterday I sent the final version of the manuscript to my editor, accompanied by a style sheet (got the idea for a style sheet from Kate Mosse's blog - it's a handy way of keeping track of names, places and foreign words, especially in a novel full of Kurds, Turks, Germans and French people).

I'm a bit worded out now, so let me just share this wonderful passage by Yashar Kemal, author of "Memed, my Hawk".
The book, which traces Memed's journey from a harsh childhood in the thistle-covered mountains of eastern Anatolia to life as a feared and loved outlaw, became a global bestseller when it was first published in 1953. It doesn't seem to be that widely read these days - at least not in Western Europe. The introduction, in which Kemal explains why he became a writer, may offer some comfort to those of us who feel that writing is a bit like banditry. My friend Wendy has written a non-fiction book on Georgia called "Stories I Stole", and even as a fiction writer, I sometimes feel like a thief, stealing mannerisms, anecdotes, phrases I overheard on the bus.

However, after reading about Kemal's rather unusual family history, I wondered if being a bandit writer might not be such a bad thing:

"Back in eastern Anatolia, my mother's father, uncles, and brother were local bandits. I heard of their adventures from my mother and I listened to the songs the town bards composed about them. One is enhanced by what life brings," Kemal writes. "Banditry enhanced my life."


  1. Congratulations on finishing!

  2. Thank you, Karin! Off to the mountains now for a break...