The Work-Stay: Angoulême

Özge Samancı and Ulli Lust at the International Comics Festival

Özge Samancı is working on a novel set in mid-90s Istanbul. Through the main characters and plot, she explores what it was like to be a woman in 1990s Turkey, and looks at the roots of today's political situation there. Samancı met with her mentor Ulli Lust at the international comics festival in Angoulême to present the work to industry insiders.

"Our focus here is not making the book, but seeing it in a larger context," says Samancı, who's attending the comics festival for the first time. During the four-day event, which was postponed from its traditional January date to March this year, they met and networked with other comics artists and publishers, agents and translators.

The main protagonists in Samancı's forthcoming novel Evil Eye are two engineering students who share a passion for scuba diving. Both women live in underfunded government dormitories and escape the pressures of low-income life by fantasizing about having the powerful gaze of Medusa. One day, they witness a freak accident underwater. Fearing that their “evil eye” may have caused it, they embark on a search for truth in the Bosphorus.

Suddenly entangled in a political corruption case, they are forced to make grim decisions while navigating a climate of chauvinism, religious pressure, and economic instability. The unfolding events threaten their friendship, ethics, and even their lives—as well as the future of their country.

Samancı will read an excerpt from the novel at the Forecast Festival and share visual material from the work in an installation. Evil Eye is under contract with Uncivilized Books for a fall 2023 release.

Video: Adrien Dournel, Editing: Hannah Dörr, Sound Mix: Simon Peter. ©Forecast 2022

The work-stay was supported by the Goethe-Institut Bordeaux.