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Tulip of Istanbul

 | Book Awards 2022 | Translated into English

Tulip of Istanbul (Katre-i Matem)

A historical novel that depicts political intrigue and the cultural richness of Istanbul in the 1730s.

Full Title: Tulip of Istanbul

Author: Iskender Pala
Publisher: Niyogi Books
Translator: Ruth Whitehouse
Original Language: Turkish

Award Category: Translated into English
About the Book: 

Tulip of Istanbul is a historical novel depicting the Ottoman Empire’s most glorious times. Known as the Tulip Age, this period saw a great public revolt in 1730, which changed the course of Turkey’s destiny. The novel begins with the story of a young man who finds his beautiful wife murdered on their wedding night. He is charged with her murder and thrown into prison. In order to prove his innocence, his only clue is a tulip bulb. The story is interwoven with historical and cultural details of the time.

About the Author: 

Iskender Pala has a Doctorate in Ottoman Divan Literature and teaches at Kültür University. He was given the title ‘The People’s
Poet’ by popular vote and was granted the 2013 Presidential Culture and Arts Grand Award in literature.


When Yusuf was first brought to the asylum, he did not utter a word to anyone for three whole days. A patient who had completed his treatment in the fifth cell visited Yusuf a few times and, after eventually finding out his name, started calling him Yearning Yusuf, because of his lovesick state of mind. Within a month, the other patients were addressing him as Yearning Yusuf too. In the end, the records clerk started abbreviating this nickname to YY in his notes and pronouncing it as Yeye.

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