Book Launch for "I Am My Country: And Other Stories" ft. Kenan Orhan in conversation with John Elizabeth Stintzi
About the Event
Acclaimed by authors such as Andrew Sean Greer and Kelly Link, I Am My Country: And Other Stories by KC-based writer Kenan Orhan conjures dreamlike worlds within the context of 20th and 21st-century Turkey. Join us to celebrate the launch of a book full of talking animals, flying houses, revolution, and the impulse to survive. On April 25th at 7 p.m., Orhan will be at the Raven reading from and discussing his debut title in conversation with John Elizabeth Stintzi, with time for an audience Q&A and signing at the end.
About the Author
Kenan Orhan is a Turkish American writer and a recipient of the O. Henry Prize. His stories have appeared in The Paris Review, Massachusetts Review, Prairie Schooner, The Common, and elsewhere, and have been anthologized in The Best American Short Stories. Orhan received his MFA from Emerson College and lives in Kansas City. I Am My Country is his first book.
Photo © Ashton Triplett
About the Book
A fiercely imaginative debut story collection by “a startling talent who can seemingly do anything” (Anthony Marra) explores the lives of ordinary people in Turkey to reveal how even individual acts of resistance have extraordinary repercussions.
“No recent collection has captivated me as much as I Am My Country. You must read it!" –Andrew Sean Greer
Spanning decades and landscapes, from the forests along the Black Sea to the streets of Istanbul, Orhan's playful stories conjure dreamlike worlds—of talking animals, flying houses, and omniscient prayer-callers—to examine humanity's unfaltering pursuit of hope in even the darkest circumstances.
A determined florist trains a neighborhood stray dog to blow up a corrupt president. A garbage collector finds banned instruments—and later, musicians—in the trash and takes them home to form a clandestine orchestra in her attic. A smuggler risks his life to bring a young woman claiming to be pregnant via immaculate conception across the border with Syria. A poor cage-maker tries to use his ability to talk to birds to woo his childhood love just before the 1955 Istanbul pogrom. These characters are united by a desperate yearning to break free from the volatile realities they face: rising authoritarianism, cultural and political turmoil, and staggering violence.
Ranging from the absurd to the tenderhearted, the stories in I Am My Country illuminate the constant force amid one country’s history of rampant oppression and revolutionary progress: the impulse to survive.
About the Conversation Partner
John Elizabeth Stintzi is the author of the novels My Volcano and Vanishing Monuments, as well as the poetry collection Junebat. Their work has appeared in Ploughshares, The Malahat Review, Kenyon Review, Best Canadian Poetry, and has been awarded the 2019 RBC Bronwen Wallace Award and the inaugural Sator New Works Award.
“A powerful and provocative debut collection” (The New York Times Book Review) by “a startling talent who can seemingly do anything” (Anthony Marra) that explores the lives of ordinary people in Turkey to reveal how even individual acts of resistance have extraordinary repercussions.
* Winner of the Sator New Works Award.
* New York Public Library's "Best Books of 2022"
* Kirkus Reviews' "Best Fiction Books of 2022"
* 2022 Brooklyn Public Library Book Prize, Longlist.
Alani Baum, a non-binary photographer and teacher, hasn't seen their mother since they ran away with their girlfriend when they were seventeen -- almost thirty years ago.