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Julian Sayarer on Cycling Across Turkey

Monday 20th November 2023

Topping & Company Booksellers of Edinburgh, 2 Blenheim Place, Edinburgh EH7 5JH
Doors Open
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Julian Sayarer

Hop on your bikes and travel across Turkey with award-winning travel writer, journalist and adventurer, Julian Sayarer. This November, Julian joins us in the Bookshop to celebrate publication of Türkiye: Cycling Through a Country’s First Century.

Applauded by Caroline Eden as "the complex story of modern Türkiye, is a deeply thoughtful, gripping and scrupulous book told in Sayarer’s trademark style from the saddle and the roadside", Türkiye is not to be missed by fans of Jan Morris, Colin Thubron, and Dervla Murphy.


On the eve of its centenary year and elections that will shape the coming generations, Julian Emre Sayarer sets out to cycle across Türkiye, from the Aegean coast to the Armenian border.

Meeting Turkish farmers and workers, Syrian refugees and Russians avoiding conscription, the journey brings to life a living, breathing, cultural tapestry of the place where Asia, Africa and Europe converge. The result is a love letter to a country and its neighbours - one that offers a clear-eyed view of Türkiye and its place in a changing world. Yet the route is also marked by tragedy, as Sayarer cycles along a major fault line just months before one of the most devastating earthquakes in the region’s modern history.

Always engaged with the big historical and political questions that inform so much of his writing, Sayarer uses his bicycle and the roadside encounters it allows to bring everything back to the human level. At the end of his journey we are left with a deeper understanding of the country, as well as the essential and universal nature of political power, both in Türkiye and closer to home.

About Julian Sayarer

Julian Sayarer cycled a half dozen times across Europe to his second nation of Turkey before breaking a world record for a circumnavigation by bicycle – riding 18,049 miles through 20 countries in 169 days. He is the winner of the Stanford Dolman Travel Writing Award for Interstate (2016), an account of hitchhiking through middle America, and is the author of Messengers (2016), All at Sea (2017), Fifty Miles Wide (2020) and Iberia (2021). Julian combines a background in political science to create a critically acclaimed travel writing style – politics at roadsides. In this 12mph view of the world in passing, he uses human stories and journeys to document global issues for a broad audience. His writing has appeared in the London Review of Books, the Guardian, Aeon Magazine, among others, and in numerous cycling publications.