Miyase Sertbarut (Bağcı)
I was born in Ceyhan in 1962 according to official records, in 1963 according to my mother. I trust my mother more than the state.
I started going to school in the village. I did not want to become a writer when I was a child. Because all the authors of the books I read were dead, so I thought only dead people could write books. I loved the books and all those people who wrote them who were no longer alive.
I graduated from Ankara Gazi University with a degree in Turkish Language and Literature (1985). I am grateful that I was able to protect my desire to write despite the university.
No one told me my writing was any good until I was 28. The reason was that I used to hide what I wrote due to being naturally shy, which I still am.
My first works were radio plays. Then I started to write for children and young adults. My inner child proved inexhaustible through writing. A real frog that I encountered when I was a child became my muse. I wanted to rescue that frog from falling into a well but ultimately failed, now I adopt the optimism that other children can succeed in rescuing it.
Things that give me joy
I spent a lot of time with both my imaginary characters and my readers. I have talked face to face with thousands of children and young people in hundreds of schools. I pass on the greetings of real people to my characters when I get home and the greetings of my characters to the children when I go to schools.
It brought me joy that children elected to name their library after me in the Şehit Cem Özgül Middle School in Adıyaman. (http://www.miyasesertbarut.com/?Syf=4&Fa=2&Id=239547)
It brought me joy that students across numerous schools staged my play Exam-Free Airspace that criticises the examination system in Turkey. (http://www.miyasesertbarut.com/?Syf=4&Fa=2&Id=240678)
I was invited to the children’s prison in Sincan, Ankara. I met with the incarcerated children and young people inthe library of the facility. I told them they could dig up tunnels to escape from prison through reading books.
I never hesitated to write about difficult subjects: Child abuse, native language education, poverty, the examination system, issues in foster homes, rising up against value systems, the commercialisation of science… It gives me joy that I was able to present these topics to my readers without being overly dramatic or didactic, by using accessible language and presenting them with exciting adventures.
My stories have appeared in Turkish textbooks. (Theless subversive ones, of course! It would have made me happier if the subversive ones made it as well…)
I fearlessly took part in the jury of the Horror Stories competition bravely organised by Tudem Publishing!
I have always loved Turkish literature and want others to love it too.