Kaya Genç is a novelist and essayist from Istanbul. He is the author of Under the Shadow (I.B.Tauris, 2016) and An Istanbul Anthology: Travel Writing through the Ages (American University in Cairo Press, 2015). Upon the publication of his debut novel L’Avventura (Macera) in 2008, he was named one of Newsweek Turkey’s “20 under 40” writers.
In 2015, Kaya’s writing was picked by The Atlantic for the magazine’s ‘best works of journalism in 2014’ list. The Economist called Under the Shadow a ‘refreshingly balanced’ book whose author ‘has announced himself as a voice to be listened to’. According to Publishers Weekly, the book is a ‘fascinating and informative compilation that represents both investigative and literary journalism at their finest’.
In The New York Review of Books, Kaya explored how Turkey becomes a palimpsest for a Westerner’s self-discovery. He wrote about the mysteries of Hagia Sophia for The Paris Review and the attacks on Istanbul for The New York Times. Kaya interrogated frictions between Turkish fathers and sons in The Nation. For the London Review of Books website, he wrote about the refugee crisis and the translations of the Little Prince. In The White Review he looked at the history of Turkey’s modernisation. He travelled through the country in search of the ‘New Turkey’ for the New Humanist. His essays about Victorian literature have been appearing in The Times Literary Supplement where, in 2017, he published a cover story about Arthur Conan Doyle. In The Financial Times he reported from Turkey’s divided literary scene. He covered Istanbul’s transformations for The New Republic. In The Guardian he published stories about coffeehouses and Bartleby’s influence on Turkey’s young activists. His writing has also appeared in Time, Newsweek, Sight & Sound, New Statesman and VICE.
Kaya has a PhD in English literature. He is a contributing editor at Index on Censorship and the Istanbul correspondent of The Believer and The Los Angeles Review of Books. He gave lectures at venues including the Royal Anthropological Institute, and appeared live on flagship programmes including WNYC’s The Leonard Lopate Show and BBC’s Start the Week.