Migrant Writing and Translation: The Case of Mohsin Hamid's Exit West in Turkish

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LITERA-JOURNAL OF LANGUAGE LITERATURE AND CULTURE STUDIES, vol.32, no.1, pp.138-163, 2022 (ESCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 32 Issue: 1
  • Publication Date: 2022
  • Doi Number: 10.26650/litera2021-925261
  • Journal Indexes: Emerging Sources Citation Index (ESCI), Scopus, MLA - Modern Language Association Database, TR DİZİN (ULAKBİM)
  • Page Numbers: pp.138-163
  • Keywords: Migrant writing, translation, discourse, Mohsin Hamid, Exist West
  • Hacettepe University Affiliated: Yes


Migrant writing is based on textual productions that offer an alternative mode of reflection and expression of the migrant experience. Hence, the translation of migrant writing has significant implications for the representational politics that are closely related to the thematic features (e.g. hybrid identities, ambivalence, border-crossings, and metamorphoses) and stylistic features (e.g. codeswitching, metaphors, and allusions). Arguing that literature plays a key role in enabling readers to make better sense of migrants' life narratives, this paper seeks to shed light on how literary translation may transfer communicative complexities, unravelling the emotional and psychological aspects of the migrant experience that manifests itself in literary texts. In this context, the study will focus on Mohsin Hamid's (2017) Exit West and its Turkish translation Bati Cikisi (2019). The analysis of the source and target texts will be carried out in light of the discursive strategies listed by Teun van Dijk (2005, 2018) in his study of various discourses on migrancy. Ultimately, this paper emphasises that even though the idea of translation as an ethical act is not new in the context of migration, reconsidering the ethical significance of creating awareness through literary translation is significant. The study hence places special emphasis on the recreation of the discursive strategies in fictional accounts in order to (re)present migrants who might otherwise become silent and mute.