The Bastard of Istanbul

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The Bastard of Istanbul.jpg
AuthorElif Shafak
PublisherViking Adult
Publication date

The Bastard of Istanbul is a 2006 novel by Turkish bestselling author Elif Shafak, written originally in English and published by Viking Adult. It was translated by Aslı Biçen into her native language Turkish under the title Baba ve Piç in March 2006, and became a bestseller.[1]


The story centers around the characters of Asya Kazancı and Armanoush Tchakhmakhchian. It is set in Arizona; San Francisco, California; and Istanbul, Turkey. The novel deals with their families and how they are connected through the events of the 1915 Armenian Genocide. At age nineteen, Armanoush travels secretly to Istanbul to search for her Armenian roots.

Theatre adaptation[edit]

The novel was adapted into a theatre play in Italian language by Angelo Savelli titled La Bastarda Di Istanbul, and was staged by Teatro di Rifredi in Florence, Italy. Its premiere took place on March 3, 2015 starring Turkish actress Serra Yılmaz.[2][3][4]

Trial against the author[edit]

In June 2006, Kemal Kerinçsiz, a nationalist lawyer, sued Elif Shafak for allegedly "insulting Turkishness" in her novel by dealing with the Armenian Genocide in the last years of the Ottoman Empire.[1] The lawsuit was opened at Istanbul's Beyoglu district court in accordance with Article 301 of the Turkish Criminal Code. After the prosecutor dropped the charges due to lack of insult, the lawyer refiled his complaint at a higher court, the Beyoglu 2nd Court of First Instance, in July 2006.[1][5][6][7]

Shafak faced a sentence of up to three years in prison for the remarks made in her novel. In September 2006, the court, attended also by Joost Lagendijk, co-chair of the delegation to the EUTurkey Joint Parliamentary Committee, acquitted her of criminal charges due to lack of legal grounds for the crime in question and insufficient evidence in the controversial trial.[6][8][9][10][11]



  1. ^ a b c Lea, Richard (2006-07-24). "In Istanbul, a writer awaits her day in court". The Guardian. Retrieved 2015-03-07.
  2. ^ Manetti, Roberta (2015-03-01). "Firenze: "La bastarda di Istanbul" con Serra Yilmaz in prima nazionale al Teatro di Rifredi". Firenze Post (in Italian). Retrieved 2015-03-07.
  3. ^ "'Baba ve Piç' İtalya'da tiyatroya uyarlandı". Taraf (in Turkish). 2015-03-05. Retrieved 2015-03-07.
  4. ^ "'La bastarda di Istanbul' di Elif Shafak a teatro con la regia di Angelo Savelli. Prima nazionale al Teatro di Rifredi" (in Italian). Tempo Libero Toscano. 2015-03-03. Retrieved 2015-03-07.
  5. ^ Bedell, Geraldine (2007-07-28). "Review: The Bastard of Istanbul by Elif Shafak". The Guardian. Retrieved 2015-03-07.
  6. ^ a b "Novelist Shafak Acquitted of Insulting Turkishness". Today's Zaman. 2006-09-21. Retrieved 2015-03-07.
  7. ^ Fowler, Susanne (2006-09-15). "Turkey, a Touchy Critic, Plans to Put a Novel on Trial". The New York Times. Retrieved 2015-03-07.
  8. ^ "Elif Şafak beraat etti". Yeni Şafak (in Turkish). 2006-09-21. Retrieved 2015-03-07.
  9. ^ Lea, Richard (2006-09-21). "Acquittal for Turkish novelist". The Guardian. Retrieved 2015-03-07.
  10. ^ "Court acquits novelist of insulting Turkishness". NBC News. 2006-09-21. Retrieved 2015-03-07.
  11. ^ Harvey, Benjamin (2006-09-22). "Writer Is Acquitted of 'Insulting Turkishness' With Her Novel". Washington Post. Retrieved 2015-03-07.