Since its foundation in 2002, Diyarbakır Arts Center (Diyarbakır Sanat Merkezi, or DSM) has aimed to contribute to the revitalization of culture and the arts in Diyarbakır and to create a meeting space where art lovers and local artists can access quality culture and art events and develop and exhibit their own work. With its seminars, theatre performances, and film screenings, DSM has become a stage for cultural repertoires from the west of Turkey as well as from other countries to be shared with Diyarbakır, a stage for residents of Diyarbakır to share their accumulated experiences with people from other cities. And DSM has become a workshop bringing together artists from the far corners of the earth, a space in which international and interdisciplinary cultural and artistic projects have been realized. In 2007, for example, before it had even celebrated five years of existence, DSM was ranked fifth in a ranking of “places that contribute most to the cultural life of Turkey.”
In 2011, after approximately ten years of active work through ongoing, regular monthly programming, Diyarbakır Arts Center began to reevaluate its role in the field of Diyarbakır’s changing and growing cultural life. Since that time, it has deepened its commitment to this role and continues to work on focused and sustainable projects. DSM works in collaboration with local partners active in civil society and in the fields of culture and art to sustain individual and institutional joint projects developed in Turkey and internationally. Through its culture and arts projects and its partnerships, and in keeping with its founding objectives, DSM continues to act as a bridge connecting the local potential of Diyarbakır with other cities in Turkey as well as with a variety of international channels.
Lîs was founded in 2004 in Amed (Diyarbakır). Lîs aspires to develop a dialogue between the world languages and Kurdish, making contacts between the world’s writers and Kurdish writers and contributing to their progress. As of today, it has published works by poets and writers such as William Shakespeare, Franz Kafka, Selma Lagerlöf, Emily Dickinson, William Faulkner, Gabriel García Márquez, Yaşar Kemal, Leylâ Erbil, Orhan Pamuk, and Murathan Mungan in Kurdish. In this regard, Lîs has played a role in being a school for translation. In 2007, it published the basic works of Kurdish literature, written in different countries and scripts, in new editions and using the Latin script. The first nineteen books in the book series titled the Ahmad-i Khani Library have attracted great interest. In the same year, significant women writers from world literature were published within the scope of the book series titled Violet Signets; some of these writers were published in bilingual editions. What the Violet Signets set its sights on was to support the development of Kurdish literary production by women and to provide opportunity for women writers to be introduced to readers. Lîs Editions has also always prioritized publishing the work of young writers in order to clear the way for the development of contemporary Kurdish Literature. Similarly, it began to publish children’s books under the book series Lîs Zarok (Lîs Children) to help children become capable of thinking and dreaming in their mother tongue.
Lîs Editions strives to become partners with cultural associations and local administrations in cultural and literary activities. In this regard, Lîs worked in collaboration with the Diyarbakır Arts Center, to carry out the events “Looking at World Literature and Grand Masters from Amed” in 2012, and “Comparative Literature Days in Diyarbakır” in 2013. In addition to its literary works, Lîs produces academic books as well, in keeping with its mission of facilitating the visibility of Kurdish literature and contributing to the development of the Kurdish language.
Literature Across Frontiers (LAF) is a European Platform for Literary Exchange, Translation and Policy Debate. LAF aims to develop intercultural dialogue through literature and translation and highlight lesser-translated literatures. We are based in Wales, United Kingdom, and work in partnership with organisations and individuals across Europe and beyond on a range of activities creating opportunities for new literary connections, acting as a catalyst for collaborations and projects, as well as monitoring translation activities and debating policy in the field of literature and translation.
In 2015 LAF launched the Literary Europe Live (LEuL) project supported by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union.
Literary Europe Live (LEuL) brings together sixteen literary festivals and venues from around Europe to foster and encourage programming that reflects the richness and diversity of the European literary landscape. It also highlights and supports outstanding emerging literary talent and develops live and digital audiences for writing in translation.
Literary Europe Live, starting in Autumn 2015, is co-funded under the new Platforms strand of the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union.
This website was prepared by Diyarbakır Arts Center as part of the KurdîLit website project, in collaboration with Lîs Publishing House and Literature Across Frontiers (LAF), and with the support of the EU Civil Society Program in Turkey and the Literary Europe Live Literature Platform.