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Judy Light Ayyildiz


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First name
Judy Light
Last name

Personal information (200 word limit for Bio, please)

Pen Name
Judy Light Ayyildiz
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Author of 10 books in 5 genres, including Forty Thorns, Kirk Diken, Mud River, Nothing but Time, and Intervals-all available on Amazon. Work appeared in NY Quarterly, Mickle Street, new renaissance, Sow’s Ear, Pig Iron, Hawaii Pacific, Black Water, Northeast, Kalliope, McGuffin, CNF Editor's Choice, Ward's Literary 2020, Nazim Hikmet Festival Chapbook; Women in Dialogue, Outstanding Persons in Kirklareli, Turkey. 1918 VWC Golden Nib 1st Place Creative Non-Fiction. Anthologies: translated Italian in International Women Writing Today, a memoir in Biting the Bullet, and Auschwitz Poems-Auschwitz Birkenau Museum, Vol. I., Human Kindness, Exisle Pub. Australia, Women of Courage, more: www.judylightayyildiz.com. Honors: YWCA “Women of Achievement in Education”, VCA grants, poetry-short story prizes, Daughters of Ataturk award, Turkish Forum award, College Bookstores Best Book nominee, Gusto Poet Discovery Winner, VCCA Fellow, and JPX International Literary Novel 1st Place, featured writer many in US and Turkey. Graduate Hollins Writing Program. Creative writing instructor at all education levels, international conferences on poetry, writing, and women’s studies and has through the VCA extensive Teaching Artist in the schools. Internationally published and translated. Editor of Artemis for 13 years. A Blue Ridge Writers Conference founder, Medical Auxiliary President, founder/director of RAMA Chorus, much experience on stage. Currently developing a creative narrative novel.

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Chapter Information

VWC Chapter (if any)

Speakers' Bureau

Speaker Area(s) of Writing Expertise
  • Craft
  • Fiction (long form)
  • Fiction (short form)
  • Non-fiction (creative non-fiction)
  • Non-fiction (inspirational)
  • Non-fiction (memoir)
  • Poetry
Other Topic(s) of Expertise
Writing centered on life issues, performance, organizing

Poems, Novels, Plays, or other Works

Work 1 - Title
Intervals, Appalachia to Istanbul
Work 1 - Genre
(Fiction & Literature) Poetry
Work 1 - Genre (Other)
with FOREWORD by Professor Erin Webster Garrett, Radford University

“...Appalachia to Istanbul. Lots of family and nature, there, and the number of travel poems was impressive. The poems about Istanbul were a real contrast to the Appalachian ones. They were highly textured, rich and mysterious....”
Professor Victor Depta, poet, playwright, educator
Work 1 - Cover
Work 1 - Description
The poems present an overview and reflection of the poet’s experiences with life begun in the foothills of West Virginia, Appalachia, a branching forth into other places—especially Istanbul and Anatolia—and then a returning at intervals to the Virginias. Singly, many of the poems have been published in various places over many years. As a whole, the collection is a ring in which a life has been experienced while the poet has been audience to self in the ring.
Work 2 - Title
Forty Thorns, (Turkish translation) Kirk Diken
Work 2 - Genre
(Fiction & Literature) Historical Fiction
Work 2 - Genre (Other)
Literary Fiction Novel based on oral memoir of 91-year-old woman who lived the times, extensive research, and personal memoir
Work 2 - Cover
Work 2 - Description
Forty Thorns is an epic tale of the rise of modern Turkey. Based on the intimate oral memoir of Adalet, a strong, passionate woman who lived from the crumbling Ottomans into the present era,
this narrative blends past and present within a war-torn love story. Forty Thorns parallels the newly emerging nation – its dramatic upheavals, cultural transformations, and heroes and heroines who built the republic. A chronicle of one brave woman and her singular place in the
universal struggle for self-determination and women’s rights, it is also an account of Adalet’s
enduring bond with her American daughter-in-law, a writer who is driven to search for the source of Adalet's strength.
Work 3 - Title
Nothing but Time
Work 3 - Genre
(Nonfiction) Memoir
Work 3 - Genre (Other)
“When I had time to sit down and read I must tell you I could not stop reading Nothing but Time: A Triumph over Trauma. I could not put it down. It is so rich with life and honesty. The honesty was what pulled me in especially. So few people have the strength to capture that. We women who cope often do not realize how alone we sometimes are. And then it hits harder in such times. We understand and still.”
Dr. Frances Trix, author, Indiana University, Professor Emeritus
Work 3 - Cover
Work 3 - Description
Overnight, everything in her life alters when Judy awakens paralyzed from the waist down by a mysterious illness. As she struggles for the courage to find a way of escape from this well of isolation, pain and powerlessness, her creative imagination takes flight. Armed with insight gleaned from her own stories about events and people in her past and present both in Turkey and the US - told with restrained humor and Appalachian flavor - Judy discovers that her spiritual desire to "walk" is stronger than the fear of "falling.
Work 4 - Title
Mud River, 3rd ed.
Work 4 - Genre
(Fiction & Literature) Poetry
Work 4 - Genre (Other)
“…unforced and authentic, pretty rare today. …It’s all in Ayyildiz’s diction—style, lyric sounds…taut lines, details, images, no false word choices…incisive…real…” –William Packard, NY Quarterly
Work 4 - Cover
Work 4 - Website
Work 4 - Description
“…fun—how often do we get to recommend poetry with that? …reckless rapture…works…. Some quicker, wilder efforts are nearly inimitable. …adventurous metaphors.” –Fred Chappell, author, Professor UNC
Work 5 - Title
Easy Ideas for Busy Teachers
Work 5 - Genre
(Nonfiction) Education & Teaching
Work 5 - Genre (Other)
Nancy Patterson, award-winning children's book author
"...excellent book (Skyhooks & Grasshopper Traps)...best volume I have found to lead students through the intricacies of writing poetry."

Work 5 - Cover
Work 5 - Description
Cross-curriculum fun and easy to challenge students' critical thinking skills. Great for Home-Schoolers, substitute teachers. Ready lessons can be completed in short time. Each lesson has extensions. Authors have combined 50 years teaching experience. Each lesson features a teacher's page with Purpose, Focus, Suggestions

Additional Works - Add title, genre, URL, description, and publication year in free form text here.

Additional Works
Some of my Ancestors are Ottomans and Turks, Greenhouse Bookstore, Istanbul, Children's Watercolor Illustrated Book with Vedii Ayyildiz, 2005
The Writer's Express-short creative writing for middle school teachers-students, 1999
Easy Ideas for Busy Teachers- critical thinking lessons for middle and upper students, 1996
Creative Writing Across the Curriculum, guide for middle and upper school teachers, 1995
Skyhooks and Grasshopper Traps, a notebook of poetry lessons for all age students, 1987
Smuggled Seeds, winner of poetry series from Gusto Press, 1979
First Recital, poetry, 1977
Kirk Diken (Forty Thorns) translated novel by Lela Ozgengiz
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