Q&A with Ayshe Dengtash

We are thrilled to feature Ayshe Dentash’s Escape as part of our weekly feature series. As part of our weekly features, we are interested in learning more about our authors, and hope that their experiences will help to empower other writers. Please enjoy this brief Q&A with Ayshe!

What is your favourite childhood book?
I found it hard to decide whether it was Double Act by Jacqueline Wilson or Danny, the Champion by Roald Dahl. I’ll go with Double Act though. I loved reading the story of a set of twins who were so identical in appearance yet so dissimilar in character. As someone who felt so different from everyone else at school and home, the book helped me understand that it was OK to be “unusual.” 

What is the first book that made you cry?
There are so many books that have made me sad, like Never Let me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro and Towards Another Summer by Janet Frame, but I hadn’t cried until a couple of months ago when I read Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China by Jung Chang, a non-fiction book about the writer’s account of how three generations of her family involuntarily suffered under a political regime. The writer’s mother’s unconditional love for her daughter touched me deeply. 

As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?
I have two cats, Morgan and Daniel (both female). The first is named after Morgan Freeman, the latter after Daniel Bryan, a professional wrestler (my husband’s idea). Daniel is not very easily manipulated, she’s always eager to do as she pleases. Screams at the top of her voice when she’s getting her claws trimmed, growls when she sees a male cat, and has certain hours in the day when she just goes to her room to rest by herself, body and soul. I consider her an independent woman. So, she’s definitely my spirit animal.

What literary pilgrimages have you gone on?
I’ve been to Stratford-upon-Avon in the UK, home of playwright William Shakespeare. I’ve also been to Westminster Abbey, eternal resting place of several writers and poets, such as Geoffrey Chaucer, T.S Eliot, Rudyard Kipling, and William Wordsworth to name a few. Also, I had the chance to stay at the Lake District for a week, where I absorbed the beauty of the luscious green hills where Williams Wordsworth and Samuel Coleridge took long strolls together. 

Anything else you would like to share?
As a writer born to parents from Cyprus, my short story Escape was inspired by the oppression women have had to endure on the island for centuries. I lived in Cyprus for 12 years and experienced the oppression first-hand. I believe every woman deserves freedom, and that change can only come if stories of oppression are spread honestly. The women in the story are fictional representations of Cypriot women in the past and the present. And I hope I am able to show all domestic abuse sufferers that their current situations, which may seem to them permanent, can in fact be changed. All that is needed is self-belief and self-worth. 

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