Ask the Editors - FAQ's

Ask the Editors

Check back here and on our Facebook page as we answer FAQ's about Sofra and with your submissions. Feel free to send us an email with questions, or add them in the comment section.

May 18, 2015
Writers, thank you for your patience as we read your stories. We have found them moving, so thank you for putting your heart on the page. Please stay tuned toward the end of summer/early fall 2015 for the longlist results to be posted. 

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Submissions are now closed, but here are some common questions the Expat Sofra editors received: 

"I no longer live in Turkey. Am I still able to submit?"
Absolutely! The only requirement is that you have lived in Turkey for at least a year at some point. We feel that living in Turkey for at least a year gives one a better feel for the culture and country than if you just visit as a tourist. It doesn't matter if the year you lived in Turkey was 1965 or 2014.

"I come to Turkey for a couple of months at a time, but not twelve consecutive months. Can I still submit a story?" 

YES! It doesn't have to be twelve months back-to-back. It could be the equivalent of a year spread out. The point is for a contributor to have spent more time in Turkey than a tourist, enough time to get a deeper understanding of the culture. So, whether you have spent summers in Turkey for the past few years or have been here for several consecutive years, you are welcome to submit.

"I don't know what flavor my story is, can you help?" 
This is a very common question. Focus on your story, and write down the flavor you think fits best right now. Part of the editing process will be to help find the best flavor to match both your story and the overall needs of the book. Happy writing, just a few short weeks until the deadline!

"My story is about a minority group in Turkey (Kurdish, Armenian, Assyrian, Circassian, etc.) Are you accepting stories about these groups?"
Our book hopes to encompass a diverse amount of flavors that can be found in Turkey. So, that would definitely include Armenians, Kurds, Circassians, Assyrians, and all of the other ethnic groups that also make up this country. We do need to state outright that this book is not being compiled to make a political point. There are a ton of other venues and publications that focus on politics. We are seeking to show a different side of Turkey with this book, so overt political points do not fit the mould. However, stories that occur as a result of political things do, it just matters how you work it. For example, in 'Tales from the Expat Harem' contributor Jessica Lutz writes about her experience as a journalist staying in the house of a Kurdish headman during the PKK-conflict ridden 90's. That is the setting of her story, yet the main theme of her piece is how she was given the rights of a man despite being female, in a male-dominated clan. This could have been an overtly political piece, but was not. You could work your piece in a similar way. Another example is Kathy Hamilton Gundogdu's piece on being 'kidnapped' during martial law after the 1980 coup. How can you express yourself while still following the submission guidelines? Give us a story that shows us the heritage of that particular group. The tastes of their sofra, their culture. A story that shows growth, awareness, hope, or renewal, for example. We know this might be difficult, but sometimes the best stories are!

"Are multiple submissions welcome?"
Yes! As long as each piece follows the guidelines.

"Can newbie writers submit?" 
Absolutely! As long as you follow the submission guidelines and have a good story, feel free to send it! We are looking forward to working with writers of different talent levels. If this is your first time submitting a piece to something, don't be afraid!

"Have you read any of the stories yet? Can you give me an idea if my piece is ok?" 
Nice try! We are just as anxious as you to read the submissions. But, we are waiting until April 2, 2015 to start our first read. So, you will have to be as patient as we are trying to be!


  1. I have been living in Central Anatolia for nearly 7 years now and I would love to submit some of my experiences. However I am puzzled and slightly perturbed by the restrictions that submissions should only come from women. Living as foreigners in a country where gender-distinction is central to everyday activities, I am surprised that you do not want to open up the discussion to writers of all genders.

    1. Hi Vicky! Thanks for your question. We mean no offense to the guys. I’m sure they have wonderful stories, which we hope to incorporate in the Expat Sofra community. In fact, we want to open Expat Sofra’s companion blog to expats from around the world, male and female. Stay tuned, as these plans are evolving. We look forward to reading your submission.


Thank you for commenting on Expat Sofra! We welcome your thoughts, but please note that all comments are moderated before posting to ensure real people are posting, and to allow for thoughtful, respectful dialogue.