Writer and poet Nêrgîz Îsmaîl lives in the Hilêliya district of Qamishlo city in North and East Syria. She aims to preserve the Kurdish language and contribute to Kurdish literature through her literary works, ranging from poetry and short stories to novels, Jin News reports.
Îsmaîl draws attention to the role of women in literature: “Kurdish poetry, novels and stories are the source of women’s resistance and freedom. If a woman is successful in the field of literature, she will be a pioneer in all spheres of life,” she said.
Pointing out that women could not write freely before the the revolution in the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES), also known as Rojava, she notes that after the revolution, women formed the “Literature Committee”.
She drew attention to the significance of the revolution to women’s liberation in North and East Syria. “Women were subjected to various kinds of oppression before the revolution. However, after the revolution, women’s rights began to be respected more and women began to write with their own pens.”
Îsmaîl stated that there are several women writers actively engaged in literary fields at present in North and East Syria. “Women write both in Kurdish and Arabic. However, I can tell that language is not a fully settled issue. The most important thing is that more needs to be written about the revolution,” she said.
As in all revolutions, Ismaîl states that there is a room for improvement and one can present productive criticism addressing several problems that need to be solved by women. “There are problems that affect women’s writing. At the beginning of these problems, the concept of family plays a dominant role,” she said.
“Women want to have a role and mission in the field of literature. However, this is also a matter of great struggle. We also need a ‘literary revolution’ within our women’s revolution. Time, patience and knowledge will help to overcome these problems.”
Ismaîl has authored seven books. She was taught Arabic until secondary school, but as her interest in literature grew, her interest in her mother language also grew, she explained. She now writes in Kurdish because she believes stories and novels written in Kurdish have always positively affected the Kurdish language and contributed to create and enrich Kurdish literature.
“Kurdish poetry, stories and novels are the cornerstone of literature. Feeding each other, they have a greater impact on culture, language and society, especially when authored by women,” she said.
Talking about her last book ‘Çirrik’, which was published in 2019, she drew attention to the relationship of Kurdish women and literature: “The poems, novels and stories are an important source for women’s struggle. In my opinion, the novel is a phenomenon that has a great impact on the construction and history of society. I wrote about the lives of many women in my novel Çirrik. I wanted to focus on the revolution. Women should cling to the novel more then men. Each woman is a novel in herself, waiting to be written.”
The Kurdish poet, who has been the recipient of numerous awards for her work, states that the biggest award for women is to see the truth and lead a life according to it: “The awards I received gave me morale. Yes, awards are only symbols, but the important thing for women is that society learns to reward them.”