News

Fifth news item

"You've Got to Sleep With Your Mum and Dad" is now available on Amazon. Childhood angst, marathon swimming, international exploitation and the threat of impending pinniped intimacy. on 2014-08-13
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Fourth news item

Have a look at my page on Amazon. Still plenty of summer left for challenging literature. on 2014-08-13
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Third news item

Check out my Amazon Kindle page. 'The Baby Who Killed People for Money' is now available. An utterly charming child with a unique and lucrative skill. A father with no defence against his daughter's impulses. Would you take your little girl around Europe for a spot of murder tourism? Of course you would. on 2014-06-30
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Second news item

My story on the Tate gallery website on 2013-11-11
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First news item

A Thousand Natural Shocks An anthology that includes two of my stories. Available now at Amazon. on 2013-11-11
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April 2015
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Archive for April, 2015

Posted April 30, 2015
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kalender01

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Posted April 29, 2015
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kalender03

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Posted April 28, 2015
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The church on the Armenian side of Kilitta??.

The church on the Armenian side of Kilitta??.

The south-east of Kars province is a barren, stony expanse of nothing much until you come to the river valleys. In these corridors of life, there is civilisation. It is now almost exclusively Kurdish but there is plenty of evidence that this was once Armenia. If you follow the Digor Valley north-west from the border, you find the remains of a lot of Armenian churches, dating from the fifth to the twelfth centuries. Many of these were fairly intact until the twentieth century, during which most were destroyed in what has become known as the ‘cultural genocide’, an effort to get rid of the physical artifacts of the Armenians in Turkey. Some information on the remaining stonework can be found here. Check the ‘sites near Ani’ menu. The monastery near Digor is still known as Be? Kilise (Five Churches) but the locals, displaying a sense of the macabre, refer to it as Bir Kilise (One Church) because there is only one remaining.

The Digor Valley

The Digor Valley

I visited Mren Cathedral in March, 2015. This is a massive structure standing on its own in a stony field 500m from the current border with Armenia. Gradually, I realised that the scattered stones were all that was left of a sizeable city. The site is surrounded by Turkish guardposts and Armenian watchtowers. I was being watched all the way there and back.

Mren Cathedral as seen from Karaba?

Mren Cathedral as seen from Karaba?

Mren and the mountains of Armenia.

Mren and the mountains of Armenia.

Interior of Mren Cathedral

Interior of Mren Cathedral

7th century relief carving on Mren Cathedral.

7th century relief carving on Mren Cathedral.

Returning from the cathedral, I had šay with the residents of the nearest village, Karaba?. Here I began to find out about the sheer number of Armenian buildings in this area of Turkey.

Just south of there was Kilitta??, where I was assured that I would find something interesting. On a cliff above the village was a square, fairly intact church.

The church is in the distance on the left.

The church is in the distance on the left.

As I went down the hill towards the river, a perfect Armenian dome popped into view. It was in one of those improbable locations on a rocky peak.

Across the river from Kilitta??.

Across the river from Kilitta??.

As I got closer, a smiling man fell into step with me. He was amused at my quest for the vanished Armenia and told me that this church was actually in Armenia. It seemed very close. The river came into view.

The rocky little stream at the bottom of the picture is the border between Turkey and Armenia.

The rocky little stream at the bottom of the picture is the border between Turkey and Armenia.

I asked him whether Armenians ever came across the river into the village. He laughed and said it happened all the time. The village got its fruit from the Armenians. “Do you want to go to Armenia?” he asked. I did. I splashed across the river, stayed there for 10 seconds and splashed back across a border that elsewhere is one of the world’s most heavily guarded frontiers.

The last bit of sun on the Armenian church.

The last bit of sun on the Armenian church.

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Posted April 28, 2015
  Posted by in Uncategorized
The church on the Armenian side of Kilitta??.

The church on the Armenian side of Kilitta??.

The south-east of Kars province is a barren, stony expanse of nothing much until you come to the river valleys. In these corridors of life, there is civilisation. It is now almost exclusively Kurdish but there is plenty of evidence that this was once Armenia. If you follow the Digor Valley north-west from the border, you find the remains of a lot of Armenian churches, dating from the fifth to the twelfth centuries. Many of these were fairly intact until the twentieth century, during which most were destroyed in what has become known as the ‘cultural genocide’, an effort to get rid of the physical artifacts of the Armenians in Turkey. Some information on the remaining stonework can be found here. Check the ‘sites near Ani’ menu. The monastery near Digor is still known as Be? Kilise (Five Churches) but the locals, displaying a sense of the macabre, refer to it as Bir Kilise (One Church) because there is only one remaining.

The Digor Valley

The Digor Valley

I visited Mren Cathedral in March, 2015. This is a massive structure standing on its own in a stony field 500m from the current border with Armenia. Gradually, I realised that the scattered stones were all that was left of a sizeable city. The site is surrounded by Turkish guardposts and Armenian watchtowers. I was being watched all the way there and back.

Mren Cathedral as seen from Karaba?

Mren Cathedral as seen from Karaba?

Mren and the mountains of Armenia.

Mren and the mountains of Armenia.

Interior of Mren Cathedral

Interior of Mren Cathedral

7th century relief carving on Mren Cathedral.

7th century relief carving on Mren Cathedral.

Returning from the cathedral, I had šay with the residents of the nearest village, Karaba?. Here I began to find out about the sheer number of Armenian buildings in this area of Turkey.

Just south of there was Kilitta??, where I was assured that I would find something interesting. On a cliff above the village was a square, fairly intact church.

The church is in the distance on the left.

The church is in the distance on the left.

As I went down the hill towards the river, a perfect Armenian dome popped into view. It was in one of those improbable locations on a rocky peak.

Across the river from Kilitta??.

Across the river from Kilitta??.

As I got closer, a smiling man fell into step with me. He was amused at my quest for the vanished Armenia and told me that this church was actually in Armenia. It seemed very close. The river came into view.

The rocky little stream at the bottom of the picture is the border between Turkey and Armenia.

The rocky little stream at the bottom of the picture is the border between Turkey and Armenia.

I asked him whether Armenians ever came across the river into the village. He laughed and said it happened all the time. The village got its fruit from the Armenians. “Do you want to go to Armenia?” he asked. I did. I splashed across the river, stayed there for 10 seconds and splashed back across a border that elsewhere is one of the world’s most heavily guarded frontiers.

The last bit of sun on the Armenian church.

The last bit of sun on the Armenian church.

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Posted April 28, 2015
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sofya16

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