The Stone Building and Other Places

The Stone Building and Other Places
Translated by Sevinç Türkkan

Asli Erdogan acquitted in trial
Feb 14, 2020

PEN America Rallies Support for Turkish Writer Facing Jail
Feb 13, 2020

"Calling the charges 'judicial harassment,' free expression watchdog PEN America is rallying international support for writer Asli Erdogan who is facing jail time in Turkey for allegedly promoting terrorist propaganda. A verdict in Erdoğan's trial is slated for February 14 and she faces a possible sentence of up to nine years in prison."

PEN International's statement on Asli Erdogan
Feb 6, 2020

"The Turkish authorities must drop all charges against award-winning writer Asli Erdogan, who faces up to nine years and four months in prison for her writings, PEN International said today, ahead of an expected verdict on 14 February 2020.


Please publish articles and opinion in your national or local press highlighting the case of Asli Erdogan and freedom of expression in Turkey.

Share information about the case and your activities on social media; please use the hashtag #FreeTurkeyMedia."

"Translation and Human Rights" by Lynn Miller-Lachmann
Aug 28, 2019

" . . . City Lights, a venerable independent press that has long devoted itself to books that address topics of social justice and human rights. Last year, City Lights brought out The Stone Building and Other Places, a collection of three stories and a novella written ten years ago that have proven prescient. All of the stories occur in the sight, or memory, of a stone building—a prison that the readers finally enter in the novella."

Aslı Erdoğan Wins Award from the Vaclav Havel Library Foundation
Aug 23, 2019
The Vaclav Havel Library Foundation Announces Aslı Erdoğan as the 2019 Winner, Disturbing the Peace Award to a Courageous Writer at Risk. Erdoğan has been invited to accept the award from Haval's widow, Dagmar Havlova, at a Gala evening held at the Bohemian National Hall, New York City, in September 2019
The foundation, which was set up in honour of the late Czech dissident turned statesman, describes the award as for "writers who share President Vaclav Havel's passionate commitment to human rights and have suffered unjust persecution for their beliefs."

In 2016, Aslı Erdoğan was arrested in Turkey for her work with pro-Kurdish newspaper Özgür Gündem. She was one of many people jailed during a state of emergency,  triggered by a coup attempt. She was released four months later, and now lives in Germany.

The jury for the prize said Erdoğan’s stories [in The Stone Building and Other Places ] "captures both the resilience and the fragility of the human condition as they become visible through the ghostly memories of a political prisoner, the utter loneliness of a refugee, and the sense of loss experienced by those who find themselves under conditions of involuntary diaspora, a humiliating combination of statelessness and rightlessness."

"Looking from the outside, one realizes that the power of the writing (and YES, of the author herself) is the power of entirely new critical actors represented by women today—women who organize, speak, mobilize and act for the rights of ALL. Asli’s is an extraordinary voice, one which is carefully listened to and discussed by the younger generation of women and men of Turkey, whether at home or in exile."

Interview with Asli Erdogan in "Deutche Welle"
Apr 24, 2019

Review in Metamorphoses
Apr 1, 2019

"It is difficult to discuss The Stone Building and Other Places outside of the context of the failed July 15, 2016 coup and the June 14, 2018 Turkish election that has strengthened and extended the powers of the current regime in Ankara.  Within the collection itself one sees a transition from the pre-Millennium story "Wooden Birds," with its lively young women who possess names, personal histories, boyfriends, a sense of humor, to the shadowy anonymous figures moving through the nightmare world of The Stone Building, which appeared little more than a decade later. Much has happened in Turkey since that time, and one anticipates hearing more of Asli Erdogan's continuing response to it."—C. John Burk

Review on "Arab News"
Feb 27, 2019

"There is a deep soul to her words, emotions that can only stem from the depths of loneliness and unadulterated thoughts. Not only are her characters tainted, so are the worlds they find themselves described with. Erdogan's imagery helps transform her stories into chilling visual vignettes where life creeps along dark walls and shadowy rooms and echoes of agony are forever in the background."—Manal Shakir, The Arab News

Feature in the Arab News
Apr 14, 2019

Longlisted for the 2019 PEN Translation Prize!
Dec 11, 2018

Interview with translator Sevinc Turkkan on WXXI's "Need to Know", Rochester NY
Nov 8, 2018

Translating works of fiction and truth is about much more than bringing the written word to an international audience. For Sevinc Turkkan, it's about being a vehicle for activism.

Rochester celebrates women in translation month by acknowledging Rochester-based translators
Sep 12, 2018

Interview on WESA, Pittsburgh's NPR station
Sep 7, 2018

"Words Without Borders" Celebrates "Women in Translation Month"
Aug 13, 2018

"Words Without Borders" recommends “The Stone Building and Other Stories” !

- Jessie Chaffee

A Diiscussion of "The Stone Building" in "The Witty Partition"
Aug 1, 2018
- Bronwyn Mills

"December 15th New York Times' 'Saturday Profile'"
Dec 15, 2017

"A warlord, a novelist, a diplomat, a centenarian and other exceptional women our overseas correspondents wrote about in 2017. . . . Since its inception in 2002, the Saturday Profile has aimed to bring to readers of The New York Times people around the world they probably have never heard of, but who have led interesting lives and done extraordinary things, or perhaps recently gone through a remarkable experience. The people we look for usually do not run countries, or headline blockbuster movies, or write best sellers. We leave those to the appropriate sections of the newspaper. Our subjects are more likely to have just emerged from prison, or written their 1,574th novel."  The article links to the March 2nd profile featured in The New York Times earlier in the year.

On the Seawall

"The hazily defined but unrelentingly oppressive and sinister environments of her narratives conjure those of Kafka, suggesting that her work's locations extend beyond the specific conditions of Turkey to something more pervasive in the world, a crushing, global disenfranchisement of the individual."—Ron Slate, On the Seawall 

"Asli Erdogan interviewed by FRANCE 24 about the jailing of Turkish students"
Jan 12, 2018

Hurriyet Daily News

"The book strings together a sequence of seven short stories, thematically and atmospherically linked, full of shadows, chill winds, suffering and isolation. . . . The tales in The Stone Building are cerebral, austere and intensely personal . . ."—William Armstrong, Hurriyet Daily News

Words Without Borders

"She was imprisoned for months by the Turkish government following the 2016 coup and was the subject of both PEN International and PEN America advocacy campaigns. Assuming, like me, you tend to think muse follows experience, let us all in turn follow Erdogan. This book should be high up in your holiday to-read pile."—M. Bartley Seigel, Words Without Borders


"Erdogan, a journalist and human-rights activist, was arrested and detained in Turkey for four months after the failed coup attempt of July 2016. The stories in this collection, which won Turkey's Sait Faik Short Story Award, revolve around women facing isolation, exile and imprisonment. In The Morning Visitor, a man visits a woman in a boardinghouse for migrants in a northern city; his presence reminds her, 'That dark cell, it follows me wherever I go.' Wooden Birds centres on Filiz, an asthmatic political refugee who is 'extremely gloomy, withdrawn, and wounded.' She is one of six patients in a hospital lung ward—three foreigners, three Germans—allowed a surreal outside visit. The title novella engages multiple voices in a haunting lament for freedoms lost in 'stone buildings'—jails, mental hospitals, interrogation sites."—Jane Ciabattari,

World Literature Today

"Erdogan's real strength as a writer in The Stone Building and Other Places is her reconciliatory relationship with psychological struggle. . . . [she] shows particular sensitivity to women in her stories and weaves their stories with what she reveals to be her most identifiable literary subject, the wounded human being."—Iclal Vanwesenbeeck, World Literature Today

"An interview with Aslı Erdoğan in World Literature Today"
Nov 1, 2017

Erkut Tokman interviews Aslı Erdoğan for World Literature Today.

USA Today writes about Asli Erdogan
Oct 10, 2017

After her arrest in Istanbul in 2016, Asli Erdogan is free to travel again.

"Asli Erdogan is awarded the Prize for the Freedom and Future of the Media in Leipzig"
Oct 6, 2017

Deniz Yucel and Asli Erdogan are among hundreds of writers and journalists who have been jailed in Turkey since last year's attempted coup. Both were awarded the Prize for the Freedom and Future of the Media in Leipzig.

"Publishers Weekly: The Big Indie Books of Fall 2017"
Aug 24, 2017

Profiled in the New Yorker, the subject of PEN International and PEN America advocacy campaigns

In her second work to be translated into English, author and journalist Erdogan offers three interconnected stories, which feature women whose lives have been interrupted by forces beyond their control—exile, serious illness, or the imprisonment of a loved one. Erdogan, who was imprisoned for four months last year following a failed coup attempt in Turkey, awaits trial on charges that could result in life imprisonment. *[A note on this description:  The book culminates in an experimental, multi-voiced novella which follows similar themes to the three stories that precede it.]

"Review in 'K24'"
Aug 24, 2017

"Seven years after Erdoğan wrote about a stone building, she found herself confined in one. Her confinement was not based on the book she had written: There was no causality between the two incidents—or at least it hasn't been put that way by our country's law enforcement officials. But there could be a different kind of causality at work here—one like in the much exploited phrase by Nietzsche: 'If thou gaze long into an abyss, the abyss will also gaze into thee.’"—Orhan Kocak

Interview in Deutsche Welle
Jul 20, 2017

Celebrated Turkish novelist Asli Erdogan was imprisoned for four months in Turkey last year- and she refuses to be cowed by the pressure. Writing, she told DW, is a responsibility. 

Profile in the New Yorker
Jun 26, 2017

"Turkey's Writers Face Yet More Trials"

Profile in Prospect Magazine
Jun 22, 2017

Turkey lifts travel ban on Asli Erdogan
Jun 22, 2017

The Bruno Kreisky Prize for Human Rights goes to the Turkish author Asli Erdogan
Jun 9, 2017

Asli Erdogan has been awarded the Human Rights Prize by the Bruno Kreisky Foundation, the oldest, most prestigious human rights award in Austria

"Europe Day," Tuesday, May 9th: Asli Erdogan receives the European Cultural Foundation's Princess Margriet Award for Culture
May 9, 2017

Although she will not be present to accept an award due to severe travel limits imposed upon her by the Turkish government, writer Asli Erdogan was honored as one of the recipients of the European Cultural Foundation's Princess Margriet Award for Culture.  The ceremony took place in Amsterdam. The Award is given to artists and thinkers whose work breaks new ground in overcoming cultural, geographical, and social borders. Through the lens of the laureate's work, the Award serves as a platform to inspire a transnational European public to recognize the role of culture in realizing a more inclusive Europe.

- European Cultural Foundation

Interview with Asli Erdogan
May 2, 2017
- European Cultural Foundation

Asli Erdogan Featured in the New York Times
Mar 2, 2017

"Now, as her fame in Turkey grows, her books have been selling more, and her [Turkish] publisher has issued new printings. One volume of short stories, The Stone Building and Other Places, has become a best seller in Turkey." City Lights publishes the English translation in September 2017.

- The New York Times

BBC Interview
Feb 8, 2017

"Aslı Erdoğan's detention 'breaches convention on human rights'"
Dec 22, 2016

The novelist's pre-trial imprisonment on terror charges has been condemned by lawyers and academics, who say there are no grounds for this extreme measure.

- The Guardian UK

A letter from Elif Shafak to Asli Erdogan
Dec 21, 2016
- Pen International

The NEW YORKER: "The Silencing of Writers in Turkey" by Elif Shafak
Dec 10, 2016

A letter from Margaret Atwood to Asli Erdogan
Nov 14, 2016
- Pen International