03 El Mundo Award

Winner of the EL MUNDO International
Journalism Awards in the Freedom
of the Press category

03 “Temelkuran is a
marvellously punk
writer, filling the page
with wit, energy, and
accessible information.”
03 Temelkuran describes How to
Lose a Country as a warning
that shows how, under populism,
countries can slide into dictatorship.
flawed, is highly readable and vibrates
with outrage.


The first book her mother read to her was “The Little Black Fish” by Samed Behrengi, in which a little black fish leaves her friends and family for the ‘big sea’. Her mother changed the ending of the story, so she would not find out that the fish never returned home. She always thought that after learning enough stories she would go back home. This must be the reason why she is still wandering the World and collecting stories.

I was eight years old when my mother gave me a Poetry Notebook. “Apparently I have to write poetry”, I thought then; it never occurred to me that the notebook was to recite poems. Then on I kept on writing, never knowing that it was not ordinary or usual.

When I look at that little poetry notebook, I am surprised to see that I am still following the same pattern when writing: it is either anger or beauty that makes me write as it had been decades ago.

Ece Temelkuran is one of the Turkey’s best known novelist and political commentators. She has contributed to the Guardian, Newstatesman, New Left Review, Le Monde Diplomatique, Frankfurter Rundschau, Der Spiegel, The New York Times and Berliner Zeitung.

Her books of investigative journalism broach subjects that are highly controversial in Turkey, such as the Kurdish and Armenian issues and freedom of expression.

Her novel Düğümlere Üfleyen Kadınlar (Women Who Blow on Knots) won a PEN Translates award, sold over 120.000 copies in Turkey, and has been published in translation in Germany, Croatia, Poland, Bosnia and France with editions also forthcoming in China, Italy and the USA.

Temelkuran was born into a political family in İzmir, known to be the most liberal city in the country. Educated as a lawyer in the capital city Ankara, she never practiced the profession except once to defend Kurdish children in a political class action as a symbolic act. Bored by Law School, she started to work for the newspaper Cumhuriyet during her second year at the university in 1993.

Ece Temelkuran is an award-winning Turkish novelist, a political thinker, and a public speaker whose work has appeared in the Guardian, New York Times, Le Monde, La Stampa, New Statesman, and Der Spiegel, among several international media outlets. She won the Edinburgh International Book Festival First Book award for her novel Women Who Blow On Knots and the Ambassador Of New Europe Award for her book Turkey: The Insane and the Melancholy. She is the author of the internationally acclaimed book How to Lose a Country. Together: A Manifesto Against the Heartless World, her latest book has been published in several languages. Ece Temelkuran lived in Beirut, Tunis, and Paris, to write her novels. She was a visiting fellow at Saint Anthony’s College Oxford to write Deep Mountain: Across The Armenian Turkish Divide. For the last six years, she has lived in Zagreb. She was a fellow at The New Institute, Hamburg, working on a project “A New Vocabulary for 21st Century Progressives from March 2021 to September 2023. She is on the advisory board of Progressive International and Democracy Next. She received the El Mundo Journalism Award for her body of work



"Ece Temelkuran is a passionate authentic voice whose fearless stand against authoritarian incursion is inspiring. She writes with an urgent conviction that has never been more important than now"

Tina Brown


"But why does 1915 matter in 2010? It was the question that Temelkuran's murdered friend, the Armenian editor, Hrant Dink, asked, and the question Temelkuran set out to answer."

Peter Preston

The Guardian

"Ece Temelkuran dissects the process by which false and true national memories are created and why they are sustained. This is a book that transforms this ancient Armenian-Turkish dispute into a human drama.

Theodore Zeldin

“Ece Temelkuran has ten thousands eyes to look at the world.”

Sabit Fikir

Literary Magazine

‘What a brave woman! And what a fine, stylish and intelligent writer! Mixing sarcasm, anger, wit, and irony as well as hard facts, Ece Temelkuran has provided us with an informative and moving account of Turkey’s seemingly inexorable drift into authoritarianism.’

Donald Sassoon

author of The Culture of the Europeans

‘Ece Temelkuran is a patriot – no other word will do.'

Seymour Hersh

Author of The Killing of Osama Bin Laden



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