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Hakan Gunday's Novel, More, will Soon be a Film

Olivia Snaije By Olivia Snaije Published on October 14, 2016
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photo Selen Ozer

The first English-language translation of Turkish author Hakan Gunday's novel More is out. A novel about the refugee crisis, the book won the Novel of the Year prize in Turkey, and France's Médicis étranger award for books translated into French. More will also be a film and is currently in production in Turkey. Bookwitty spoke with Hakan Gunday about it:

Is the film a Turkish production? Did you work on the screenplay?

Yes it is. It was a team effort including the director, Onur Saylak. As cinema is an artistic discipline that is very different from that of the novel, we had to deconstruct the story and re-shape it using filmic instruments.

Have there been other Turkish films on the subject of human trafficking? 

Yes, there have been others, but not enough. It's such a burning subject, and such a complex one, that with each new novel or film a new facet of this tragedy emerges. 

Do you think your film will be censored?

It's so difficult to predict these days what will be censured; censorship in Turkey is like the stock market, it changes direction every six months!

What has it been like to see your story come alive on the screen?

It's been an extraordinary experience seeing how this story could keep its soul while changing its body. 

Do you feel as though it's your responsibility, as an author, to write about the problems Turkey is undergoing today?

For me, writing is the best tool for thinking. With each of my novels I expanded on one fundamental question and tried to arrive at 1000 questions. These fundamental questions have always been about subjects that trouble me. And there are lots of questions that need to be asked in Turkey. So I think it's more than a responsibility, it's above all a need to understand. 

 What is your next project?

I just began writing my next novel. 

Olivia is a Paris-based journalist and editor.