“Granma” Sevim Ak reads with a delightful voice

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Sevim Ak’s visit to Netherlands, in honor of the celebration of the 400th anniversary of Turkish-Dutch relations, was reflected in the Dutch media. Here is the article from the “Destentor” newspaper, dated October 6, 2012, about the event Sevim Ak participated in at the Deventer Library…

“Sevim Ak has a delightful voice. Her talk soothes you.”

Hetty Odenthal, the library administrator that invited the Turkish children’s book writer, describes her as such.

The students of the Rıvierenwijk and Mikado elementary school are invited to the library… They sit down and listen very carefully. Sevim Ak reads in Turkish from her book called “From Stamps, From Stone, From Cabbage”, translated into Dutch as Mol en de Levene Dingen, and the Turkish students understand. From time to time other students laugh as well. That must be because she reads beautifully and has a pleasant voice.  

The municipal council Margriet de Jager starts reading the story in Dutch. Now everybody can follow. “The mole hesitates at first, but then waves both hands.” That is how it ends. De Jager finds the book, written for children of ages 9 to 12, very appealingly illustrated with a “beautiful, pleasant and adventurous” content.

The author is in Netherlands mainly in honor of the Children’s Book Week, the other reason being the 400th anniversary celebration of the Turkish – Dutch relations…

Ak arrived with her translator Hamide Doğan. This makes reading and asking questions easier for her, while the children enjoy and take advantage of it as well.

One of the questions was about the Children’s Book Week… It is also celebrated in Istanbul the same week. Sevim Ak says that, it sometimes lasts two to three weeks because of the great interest children show in the authors. “It allows for a dialogue between children and writers,” says Ak.

She is doing a sightseeing tour of Netherlands right now and stays at the authors’ house in Amsterdam.

The book is about an untidy Mole, who collects trash and cares deeply about them, and Simri, who is obsessed with symmetry… One of the great questions asked by the educational team including Odenthal, Nienke Rozendaal and Marike Rienstra was, “Do you feel more like the Mole or Simri?”

“I am more like the mole. I, too, sometimes have a hard time throwing things away, and can be kind of messy,” says Ak.

She adds that Simri’s obsession with tidiness and neatness isn’t a solution either.  “Neither one can figure it out. They are both stuck.” The book points at the current state of the world as well; one must not always throw things away, some things can be re-used. But how can it be done? “The book is about art – aesthetics.  I wanted to consider this when I started the book.”

“What’s your definition of beauty?” was the only question she was asked in Turkish. Some of the children want to know her age.

“I am old enough to be your grandmother,”

“How old were you when you wrote your first book?”

“I was 28 years old.”

“How many books did you write?”

“29”

“Which one of your books do you like the best?”

“I love them all very much.”

“Why did you want to become a writer?”

“I loved writing even as a child. I used to write little stories of our neighborhood. I had a fun childhood full of livelihood, dreams and hopes. I wanted to carry my childhood with me for the rest of my life.”