From real story to a twisted suburban gay romance: Ali and Ramazan

“Ali and Ramazan are two boys from very different backgrounds who land in the same Istanbul orphanage. They quickly see eye to eye and fall into a loving relationship as children, bringing light to one another and to the other orphans in their dreary adopted home. Ramazan is a charmer, the school master’s favorite (which we later learn is not such a positive thing), the clown among the boys, and the only one with a real handle on things outside the orphanage’s walls. He takes Ali under his wing, and by the time they turn eighteen and are loosed onto Istanbul’s mean streets, Ali and Ramazan are a pair. What happens next is both tragic and beautiful, a testament to love finding its way even among the least visible citizens on Turkey’s mean streets”

English book cover of Ali and Ramazan

English book cover of Ali and Ramazan

German book cover of Ali and Ramazan

German book cover of Ali and Ramazan

Ali and Ramazan, which was inspired by the real events that the author has read in the newspaper, is one of the greatest LGBT-themed novel in Turkish. This book is written by one of the most famous writers in young Turkish literature: Perihan Mağden.

Mağden was born in 1960 in İstanbul. After graduating from Robert College of Istanbul, she studied psychology at Boğaziçi University. By her own account, she was an unruly student—and her mother was proud of it. She is now a single mother who lives in Istanbul.

Author Perihan Mağden

Author Perihan Mağden

In addition to writing editorial columns for Turkish newspapers, Mağden has also published fictional novels and a collection of poetry Mağden’s earlier work İki Genç Kızın Romanı (Two Girls) novel published in 2005 by Serpent’s Tail, was praised for pushing “Turkish beyond its conventional literary patterns” and compared to J.D Salinger’s  Catcher in the Rye for the way she had captured adolescent anguish. This novel has been a big success in homeland Turkey and became an award winning movie premiered in Europe in London Film Festival right after Sydney.
She is the author of Messenger Boy Murders (Haberci Çocuk Cinayetleri), The Companion (Refakatçi) and Escape (Biz kimden kaciyorduk, Anne?). Her latest novel Ali and Ramazan published in 2010 in Turkish and now out by Suhrkamp (German) and AmazonCrossing (USA).

Her novels have been translated into 19 languages including English, French, German, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish, Greek and Russian.

Nobel prize winner Turkish author Orhan Pamuk describes Perihan Mağden like this:

“Perihan Mağden is one of the most inventive and outspoken writers of our time. The way she twists and turns the Turkish language, the delight she takes in the thrust and pull of popular culture, and her brilliant forays into subjects that everyone thinks about and then decides not to put into words, ‘just in case’—these have earned her the love of her readers and the respect of her fellow writers.*

You can find and read Ali and Ramazan from

or from for Ali und Ramazan (German)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s