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  • Published: 25 April 2019
  • ISBN: 9781473559905
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 160


The extraordinary short story collection from Selahattin Demirtas, "the dynamic Kurdish politician whose coolness and rhetorical skill have evoked comparisons to President Obama" (New York Times)

A vital and eloquent portrait of modern Turkey drawn from the lives of its ordinary citizens

Written in prison, the stories in Dawn offer an unfamiliar glimpse of Turkey and the Middle East. They capture the experiences of the people behind the headlines, the voices that so often go unheard.

The young cleaning woman whose bus to work gets caught in a violent protest; the little girl fleeing across the Mediterranean from Syria with her mother; the illegal underage workers building jails; the victim of an 'honour killing'. Tragedy collides vividly with sharp humour and political satire as inmates have their letters vetted by committee and a bus driver tricks a young idealist.

The first fiction from the imprisoned progressive politician, former leader of the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party and presidential candidate Selahattin Demirtas, this collection is essential reading. With warmth, wit and brutal insight, he illuminates everyday existence in Turkey and brings his characters to startling life.

  • Published: 25 April 2019
  • ISBN: 9781473559905
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 160

About the author

Selahattin Demirtas

Imprisoned in a maximum-security jail since November 2016, Selahattin Demirtas continues to advocate for the Turkish people as both an author and a politician. He wrote and published Seher (Dawn) in 2017 and ran for president in 2018, both from behind bars.

Born in 1973, Demirtas has been a member of the parliament of Turkey since 2007. From 2014 to 2018 he was the co-leader of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), a left-wing pro-Kurdish party with an emphasis on progressive values, feminism and LGBTQ rights. He passionately believes in the liberal, democratic and egalitarian future of Turkey.

Demirtas faces a 183-year prison sentence. Dawn is his first book.

Praise for Dawn

[A] critical voice… Demirtas writes poignantly about the lives of ordinary people and his stories are memorable for the unvarnished simplicity of his prose… The fact that…[Demirtas] continue[s] to write, despite their confinement, is some measure of their courage and the indomitability of the human spirit

Lucy Popescu, Times Literary Supplement

Full of sharp humour, warmth and wit

Sarah Shaffi, Phoenix

Selahattin Demirtas is Turkey's most famous political prisoner. He is also that rarest of beasts, a liberal, a democrat and a feminist in a part of the world that is more frequently associated with coercion and intimidation. By turns playful, didactic and full of love for his native Kurdistan, Dawn is a ray of light in the penumbra of today's Middle East

Christopher de Bellaigue, author of The Islamic Enlightenment

Marvelous and deeply affecting, the imprisoned Kurdish politician Selahattin Demirtas brings to life the great heart and spirit of ordinary Kurdish people. His stories are horrific yet hopeful, heart-wrenching yet humorous, and offer much-needed insight into what everyday life is like in 21st-century Turkey

Christiane Bird, author of A Thousand Sighs, A Thousand Revolts: Journeys in Kurdistan

Selahattin Demirtas’ short stories are beautiful and full of surprises, especially in their bold portrayal of women. A new addition to Turkey’s tragic canon of literature written in prison

Jennifer Clement, author of Gun Love and President of PEN International

Imprisoned Kurdish lawyer and progressive politician Demirtas delivers a closely observed series of portraits of lives oppressed… A welcome debut collection. One hopes for more—and that Demirtas will not be silenced by his captors


[Demirtas’] visceral tales expose unfathomable darkness with an unshowy, fable-like straightforwardness as the book nonetheless subtly arcs toward hope… Already a publishing sensation with 200,000 copies sold in Turkey alone, Demirtas' empathic collection shines the light that its title promises


Funny and heart-rending, shocking and amusing

Sarah Jessica Parker, Sunday Telegraph

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