I discovered books at an early age and I have been writing since the day my mother gave me my first diary. Literature has been my best friend and more than the actual world, I have spent time in the fictive one. Still, becoming an author was not my childhood dream at all. I was born in Istanbul, where the Orient express arrives. Growing up at the crossroads between East and West, I wanted to experience both worlds and travel all my life.
With all these dreams in mind I entered Turkey’s best university, Bosphorus University—former American Robert College—and received an excellent education in sociology. When I finished my BA, I still did not know how to realize my childhood dreams, so I stayed a bit longer in school and completed my Master’s. By that time, I was very well versed in feminist theory, orientalism, post colonialism, postmodernism, social movements and conducting research but still no adventure was on the horizon for me.
What was waiting ahead on the other hand, was a full scholarship for graduate work from the department of social anthropology at UCLA. Despite my dreams featured a life in some remote parts of the world, up until then, I had been simply confined within the Byzantine city walls of Istanbul.
Finally, after many painful months of pondering over whether I should go to UCLA and become an academician or do something else (but what?) at the age of 28 I left Istanbul with a backpack and headed for Thailand. If someone was going to make my dreams come true, that someone was going to be none other than me.
I spent the next ten years traveling the world. In Thailand I started learning and practicing yoga which helped me to understand where I should direct my energy for a meaningful life with fulfillment. Yoga also gave me courage to present my writings to a publisher and soon after I returned to Turkey, I was holding my first book, Blue Forest.
Since then, my writings have become a source for inspiration for many people in Turkey, especially for young women who would like to live their lives beyond the traditional expectations.
I write stories, novels and articles that explore some darker corners of the human psyche, connected to family secrets and “the silenced parts” of Turkish/Ottoman history. In all my narratives you can find themes of exile, memory, displacement, and speaking from the perspectives of the minorities. I have been honored to be picked by many publishing houses all around the world. My books are being translated into numerous languages from Greek to Malayalam, from Norwegian to Arabic.
My English debut is The Silence of Scheherazade, a historical fiction where I tell the story of the destruction of one of the world’s most beautiful cosmopolitan towns: Smyrna.
The Silence of Scheherazade was published in the UK in August 2021 and in the USA and Canada in September 2021.
When I am not at my desk, you can find me traveling between Istanbul and Athens or swimming in the blue waters of the Aegean Sea. I love getting to know my readers, so please write to me or follow me on any of my social media sites.
Defne Suman was born in Istanbul and grew up on Prinkipo Island. She gained a Masters in sociology from the Bosphorus University and then worked as a teacher in Thailand and Laos, where she studied Far Eastern philosophy and mystic disciplines. She later continued her studies in Oregon, USA and now lives in Athens with her husband. The Silence of Scheherazade, translated from Turkish by Betsy Göksel, was first published in Turkey and Greece in 2016 and is her English language debut.