Australian author aims to ‘get beyond stereotypes’ about Türkiye
An Australian author living in Türkiye for decades is aiming to “get beyond the stereotypes” about her beloved adopted country with several books on Türkiye and its largest metropolis Istanbul.
“My initial aim was to get beyond the stereotypes,” Lisa Morrow, the writer of several books including, “Istanbul Dreams” and “Inside Out In Istanbul: Making Sense of the City,” and “Exploring Turkish Landscapes: Crossing Inner Boundaries,” told Anadolu Agency (AA).
“I get asked, ‘Do I have to wear a headscarf?’ Some people asked, ‘Do you have to convert?’ They told me ‘my Arabic must be good,’ …I want them to see the nuanced difference that you can have a girl who covers with a girl with long flowing hair that people wear miniskirts, people have tattoos,” Morrow said.
“I want people to see, I call it the everyday extraordinary, not just the tourist images and not just the negative press images,” she said.
Setting foot in Türkiye for the first time in 1999, Morrow has lived in several cities in the country from the central Anatolian province of Nevşehir to the Mediterranean coastal city of Antalya.
She began writing about Türkiye in 2008. Due to elections around that time, she said “in Australia, there was interest in what ordinary life was like, not political life, not religious just day-to-day life.”
Later she began writing short stories. “Then, it probably wasn’t for about four more years. Then I started writing a blog. Because I wanted people to know what my life was like, which wasn’t a tourist-centered life.”
“It’s strange, it’s easy to forget, sometimes you’re in Türkiye,” she added. “If you don’t look up, if you don’t see a mosque, if you don’t hear the conversation, sometimes you could be almost anywhere. And other times you’re just definitely here.”
Moving to Türkiye for good
Her works are published in international magazines and websites. “I thought, well, I’d like to write a book because in a book, you can have a theme, and you can start from one thing to another.”
“The one (book which) probably has the most impact on people is the Istanbul Dreams,” she said referring to her memoir about moving to Türkiye for good in 2010 when she bought an apartment, had to deal with Turkish bureaucracy, etc.
“My father got ill at that same time. And so instead of a romantic dreamy, ‘I moved to Türkiye and everything went perfectly’, a lot of things were challenging, difficult,” she said.
“Even though I’ve lived in Türkiye before, and I knew some Turkish, I had really good friends. It is very hard to just say, I’m moving to another country. And so a lot of people read Istanbul Dreams and some of the things I experienced quite shocked them,” she noted.
According to Morrow, many expat Turks who live in other countries feel a lot of “huzun” – using the Turkish word to express a feeling of sadness or blues – when they read her books “because it reminds them of a country they’ve left behind or they haven’t seen.”
“Now by having one of my books translated into Turkish, I want Turkish people to see the foreign perspective, rather than tell me what I know and tell me what I see, understand what interests me and what I look at because I always look for similarities. We’re human. We do things differently. We experience and express things differently, but we’ll feel the same emotions and that’s what I tried to capture in my work,” she said.
Morrow said that she has just finished researching “an actual guidebook to Istanbul, but not a typical one.”
Noting that a lot of the guidebooks cover mainly the historic Sultanahmet or iconic Taksim areas, she said, “But I go to the less explored places and so that’s what I’ve written in a book, it is going to be called ’50 Places Istanbul’ and it’s going to be launched in March or April.”
Source: Daily Sabah
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