News From The Expat Harem
Seven weeks, 21,000 miles (33,796 km), and a few hemispheres later, the editors of the national bestseller TALES FROM THE EXPAT HAREM: FOREIGN WOMEN IN MODERN TURKEY Anastasia M. Ashman and Jennifer Eaton Gokmen have returned to Istanbul after their extensive USA book tour.
Traveling 9,000 miles across America through 27 states coast to coast, speaking at academic conferences, major chain and independent book stores, cultural festivals, private social receptions and Turkish-American associations, Ashman and Gokmen introduced Turkish culture via their book to more than 800 people who came to their events. Their collection of expatriate adventures in Turkey, which includes the experiences of women from seven nations and four different continents, is a touching and humorous compendium of how Turkish culture has impacted the lives of expatriates in real life stories that span the entire country and the last four decades.
Launched in April at New York's Turkish Consulate in Manhattan before an enthusiastic crowd of more than 80 people, the campaign ended on a high note as well, with more than 65 people attending the Moon & Stars Project's MayFest event and tour finale, also in Manhattan. Joined at various events by Expat Harem contributors across America (Catherine Salter Bayar, Katherine Belliel, Ana Fletes, Wendy Fox, Sally Green, and Dena Sukaya), their audiences included diplomats and businessmen, academics and travelers, journalists and filmmakers, members of policy institutes, think tanks, NGOs, and cultural trainers, all detailed on their official blog (http://expat-harem.blogspot.com).
TURKEY'S TOP EXECS TAKE NOTE
Sponsored on their tour by some of Turkey's most influential businesswomen, Ashman and Gokmen say they owe a debt of gratitude to Demet Sabanci Cetindogan, Umit Boyner, and Arzuhan Yalcindag who have been their earliest and strongest supporters. Cetindogan, the vice chair of BOSSA's board of directors and vice president of TIKAD (Association of Turkish Businesswomen), gifted signed copies of EXPAT HAREM to all the international speakers and special guests of TIKAD's conference held in Istanbul in April.
By all accounts, the book's reception has been quite successful with the North American Seal Press edition going into its second printing one month after publication just as Ashman and Gokmen began their tour. Both Dogan Kitap editions in Turkey (the original English and TURKCE SEVMEK) went into their second printing in November 2005, while Dogan's English edition went into its third printing in April 2006. In Tucson, Arizona the anthology debuted as a #1 bestseller at Antigone Books and in Turkey it has remained on Remzi Kitabevi's best seller list for over 39 weeks, reaching #1 in January.
USED BY TRAVEL EXPERTS AND UNIVERSITIES
In addition to University of Michigan, now the University of British Columbia, Canada will use Expat Harem as a classroom text. UBC will rely on the anthology for a new literature course in Fall 2006, among travel books by Alain de Botton and J. Maarten Troost.
American author and public television personality Rick "Europe Through the Back Door" Steves has recommended EXPAT HAREM to his travel clients, as has Peter Sommer, the British archaeologist and cultural tour operator best known for tracing the 2,000 mile Anatolian march of Alexander the Great for the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). Robin Pascoe, the Expat Expert, also suggests the anthology for families in transition and global nomads in search of resources.
RECOMMENDED BY NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC
In July/August 2006, the world's most popular travel magazine National Geographic Traveler (6.8 million readers) recommended Tales from the Expat Harem for its readers planning trips to Istanbul. (http://www.nationalgeographic.com/traveler/feature s/48hours_istanbul0607/istanbul.html)
Mentions of Expat Harem have also appeared in 68 other American media outlets in the past few months, including television, radio, newspapers and magazines, reaching another 6.9 million Americans by print media alone. Discovery Channel radio will soon broadcast an interview with the EXPAT HAREM editors, so be listening to channel 199 of Sirius satellite radio if you have it!
When Ashman and Gokmen aren't busy organizing special events like their recent expat reception for Turkey's celebrated author Elif Shafak at Kuruçeşme's Chi'um Spa, they are planning EXPAT HAREM's potential television and film projects and somehow managing to write their next books-- individual memoirs.
Check their website often for upcoming events, such as the 4th Annual Chicago
Turkish Festival and the SEITAR Conference in Albuquerque (Interculturalists
in the World: Ahead of the Curve or Behind the Times?).