Juggling Burdens of Representation: Black, Red, Gold and Turquoise

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ABSTRACT

This essay suggests an alternative to the usual practice of categorising migrant writers by generation, in order to counter the teleological tendency in some recent commentaries on German-Turkish writing which celebrate the youngest writers as the most ‘advanced’. Instead I put forward the idea that different writers (and writers at different stages in their careers) adopt different strategies in order to cope with the ‘burden of representation’ which is imposed on them as migrant/minority artists by the public. I survey German-Turkish novelists, outlining a tentative typology of such strategies. ‘Axial writing’ (directly thematising migrant experience) is the commonest, and has many sub-varieties, but the alternatives are just as interesting.

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