The Name

The word KIRAATHANE has Arabic/Persian origins and is the old name given to a coffeehouse that was used as a place for reading and recitation in the times of the Ottoman Empire.

The House

Today, KIRAATHANE is the name given to the first literature house in Istanbul, which opened its doors to public on October 1, 2018. A place designed for the city’s writers and readers of all ages to come together to discuss literature, arts, and current affairs, KIRAATHANE functions as a “free word center” at a time when challenges against freedom of expression and those who exercise it continue. KIRAATHANE also hosts writers, poets, editors, translators, and publishers from around the world as guest speakers and/or participants of its “writer/artist-in residence” programme.

While reports of the House activities found on this site are mostly in Turkish, we provide some English content as can be seen in the links below: 

A Conversation with Peter Stamm: 

A Conversation with Susan Stewart:

The Channel

In March 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic forced KIRAATHANE to switch to an all-online existence. While a majority of our team returned to office as early as June 2021 and in-house activities --albeit masked and distanced-- restarted soon after, we have embraced expansive digital presence as a silverlining of compelling circumstances and continue to post as many events as possible on our YouTube channel.

While most content is in Turkish, online events enable us to engage authors, academics and artists from around the world and the resulting English and other language content is shared with viewers with Turkish subtitles.

Some recent examples of events in English include:

The Annotated Mrs. Dalloway / A Conversation with Merve Emre:

The New Poor / A Conversation with Joseph Stiglitz and Ayşe Buğra:

Talaat Pasha / A Conversation with Hans-Lukas Kieser:

When Does Fiction Breathe? / A Conversation with Valeria Luiselli

Post-Poetic Literature / A Conversation with Agustín Fernández Mallo

The Press

KIRAATHANE began operations as a small independent nonprofit press in January 2018.

KIRAATHANE seeks to produce high-quality literature that is often missed by money-driven mainstream presses. Our objective is on matching international authors whose books – fiction and non-fiction – have so far been neglected by Turkish publishers with the best possible translators of their work.

KIRAATHANE published its first book in January 2019.

Recent acquisitions include:

  • Francine Prose, Reading Like a Writer: A Guide for People Who Love Books and for Those Who Want to Write Them – Harper Collins
  • Pierre Michon, Corps du roi – Verdier
  • Pierre Michon, Vies minuscules – Gallimard
  • Pierre Michon, Les Onze – Verdier
  • Pierre Michon, Maîtres et serviteurs – Verdier
  • Vangelis Hatziyannidis, Oi Tesseris Toichoi – To Rodakio
  • Vangelis Hatziyannidis, O Philoxenoumenos – To Rodakio
  • Olivier Remaud, Solitude volontaire – Albin Michel
  • Linda Boström Knausgaard, Helioskatastrofen – Modernista
  • Linda Boström Knausgaard, Välkommen Till Amerika – Modernista
  • Ray Loriga, Rendición - Alfaguara
  • Roberto Calasso, La Rovina di Kasch - Biblioteca Adelphi 
  • Roberto Calasso, Le Nozze di Cadmo e Armonia - Biblioteca Adelphi 
  • Roberto Calasso, Ka - Biblioteca Adelphi 

In addition to translations, KIRAATHANE launched "Book Studio" - a book series based on topical dialogues between writers, dialogues that begin in the Istanbul Literature House and are curated and edited by our press. The first book in this series is Haysiyet (Dignity) by Gaye Boralıoğlu and Ümit Kıvanç, published in April 2019. 


We thank the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Ankara, the Reva & David Logan Foundation and the Chrest Foundation for supporting the Istanbul Literature House.