Ten years ago the editors of Tales from the Expat Harem, Anastasia Ashman and Jennifer Gokmen, took us into the sanctum of the harem. Follow in the footsteps of Tales from the Expat Harem by going deep into personal, introspective experiences that have a love and respect for the local culture and traditions. Sofra invites you to a second course by taking a seat at the Turkish table. Just as the sofra is the heart of the Turkish hearth, we want stories that are steeped in the experience of being an expat in Turkey. The editors have a combined twenty-five years in Turkey and are editing this compilation of essays to give back to the culture that has nourished their lives abroad.

Lived in Turkey for at least a year? Have a story you want to tell?

I am editing this anthology along with Katherine Belliel and we are seeking original, personal essays for a new non-fiction expat anthology from women writers called Sofra: A Gathering of Foreign Voices Around the Turkish Table.

This anthology seeks stories that are savory – they have a tang, include aspects of expat life, and depict a real intermingling with Turkish culture. Calling for stories that are sweet – happy endings, new traditions, satisfying moments. Stories that are bitter – overcoming difficult experiences, relationships that make expat life palatable, things that may at first been off putting, but when steeped in time become a staple. Encounters that are tangy – surprising, unexpected impressions, deep knowledge gleaned in a short time, getaways and exploring new places. Moments that are spicy – daring adventures, whirlwind romances, extremes, the seasonings brought from home to help your palate adjust.

At the heart of every story is a flavor. Expats pack their bags with spices from home to find that incorporating it into meals, and subsequently their life abroad, can require trial and error, a sense of humor, and even failure. Relationships flop. Meals get burnt. Life abroad does not taste the same. But it evolves. Becomes enriched. And can even become decadent. The editors of this anthology want to know how your experiences in Turkey tie into the flavors that grace the Turkish sofra.

Submission window January 1, 2015 to April 1, 2015. Unpublished work only. Contributors must have lived in Turkey for at least one year. Women only. Personal essays of 2,500 words or less. Please send your story as an attached Microsoft Word Document (.doc), double-spaced 12pt Times New Roman font to submissions@expatsofra.com. The email subject line should read: Last name, First Name: TITLE of your piece (in uppercase). No names on attached document please, title only. In body of email, please indicate which flavor your story represents (savory, sweet, bitter, tangy, or spicy). Simultaneous submissions accepted, but please notify the editors immediately if the work gets accepted for publication elsewhere. Longlisted writers will be announced Summer 2015. Payment $75 upon publication.

About the editors:

  • Farm-girl turned expat Rose Margaret Deniz writes young adult fiction and explores the intersection of food and wellness on her blog Paleo Abroad. A serial contributor to expat+Harem, the Global Niche, she facilitated a series of roundtable discussions with cultural innovators from all over the world. Her YA sci-fi novel Tracked received an Honorable Mention from Undiscovered Voices in 2014. She holds a BA in Art from University of Wisconsin – Madison and an MFA in Painting from Cranbrook Academy of Art. Rose left the Midwest for Turkey in 2005 and when not plotting her escape to a Turkish village to raise chickens, she can be found in her kitchen concocting substitutions for rural Wisconsin comfort food. She is a member of Slow Food International. Follow her on Twitter: @rosedeniz
  • Katherine Belliel is an American writer based in Izmit, Turkey. With roots in Grand Rapids, Michigan and Columbus, Ohio, this midwest native turned global citizen has a B.S in History and Religion from Eastern Michigan University. Her work has appeared in the expat anthologies Tales from the Expat Harem (Ashman and Gokmen, 2005) and Encounters with the Middle East (Bowman and Khashan, 2006). In addition to writing a weekly column for the English language, Istanbul-based daily Today’s Zaman under the pen name “Elle Loftis,” Katherine spends her time making mud pies with her preschool aged son, globe-trotting with her pilot husband, or caring for the neighborhood cats. She is currently finishing her first historical fiction novel. Follow her on Twitter: @KatieBelliel

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