Journalist Sami Kent’s “spellbinding” new book on Turkiye, The Endless Country, to be launched at the Stoke Newington Bookshop

It seems apt that writer and radio broadcaster Sami Kent will be launching his debut book about Turkiye in the heart of the Turkish community in North London later this month.

Part memoir, part history and politics, The Endless Country allows Kent to revisit the land of his father, technology entrepreneur Osman Kent, who left Turkiye decades ago to find his fortune in Silicon Valley.

Sami Kent returns to the plains of Anatolia as a young man to uncover a country that is as rich, layered and absurd as his family’s favourite dessert, künefe: to the unknowing, this fabulous Turkish pudding involves shredded wheat pastry with a core of melted cheese, a topping of pistachios, and lashings of syrup.

Unlike many other books covering the same period, The Endless Country doesn’t dwell on the country’s two political giants, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk or Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who have book-ended the Turkish Republic’s 100 year history. Instead, Kent opts for a more intimate portrait of this fascinating nation.

From tiny weightlifters to the world’s biggest prison, from a failed socialist commune to a wildly successful orchid ice cream, the book is a tribute to the sheer bewildering diversity of Turkiye’s past: its people, their ideas and their struggles.

Rave reviews

The book is officially out on 27 June, but those who’ve had an early sneak peek are already raving about it.

The BBC’s Mishal Husain describes The Endless Country as “captivating”, stating that “Kent effortlessly weaves travels that are close to his heart into a bigger story of Turkey’s past and present”.

Neel Mukherjee, the  Indian Booker Prize-shortlisted author of The Lives of Others, calls Kent’s book “spellbinding”:

“Sami Kent’s journey in search of his father’s country yields a rich, spellbinding book: dense with people, stories, history, colour, lived experience. He is a beguiling and charming guide through the complexities of Turkey. The book is alive on every page.”

Former Times Turkiye correspondent and Erdoğan Rising author Hannah Lucinda Smith also gives Kent a glowing review:

“Turkey’s complicated first century comes to life through Sami Kent’s judiciously chosen stories, which he tells with compassion and depth alongside his search for the meaning of his own heritage. This may not be a comprehensive history, but it is hard to find a more complete insight into a country that few writers really know, and even fewer can explain.”

You can pre-order The Endless Country: A Personal Journey Through Turkey’s First Hundred Years now from all good bookstores – it’s £20 for the hardback copy, with the digital version, either as an audio book or e-book, costing half the price and available on platforms such as Kindle, Google Play, Apple Books, Spotify, Kobo and Audible.

If you’re in London on 27 June, come along to the Stoke Newington Bookshop to hear Sami Kent talk about his new book, where you can also pick up a signed copy. Details of the launch are below.

About Sami Kent

Sami Kent is a writer and radio producer based between London and Istanbul. He has reported on Turkiye for The Guardian, BBC Radio 4, Al Jazeera, The London Review of Books and many other publications. He has also made several radio documentaries for the BBC. He is now working for The Guardian’s award-winning podcast ‘Today in Focus’.

Book launch details

Title: Book launch of Sami Kent’s new book The Endless Country: A Personal Journey Through Turkey’s First Hundred Years

Date: Thursday 27 June 2024

Times: starts 6.30pm

Venue: Stoke Newington Bookshop, 159 Stoke Newington High Street, London N16 0NY

Admission: Free. No prior registration is needed, just turn up!