Poet, short-story writer, translator, song and lyric writer, Dr.Yusuf Eradam (full professor of American culture and literature) was born in 1954 in Bor, Niğde (Central Anatolia, Turkey) as the fifth child and the only son of a shoemaker, Nurettin Eradam, and a housewife Necibe Akçabozan. The Eradam family moved to Ankara in 1962 and Yusuf was admitted to Darüşşafaka, a boarding school for orphans, in Istanbul. Between 1973-77 he attended the Department of English Language and Literature of HacettepeUniversity, Ankara, and got his MA (1979) and PhD (1986, unpublished dissertation in English: The Haunted Individual in David Mercer’s Stage Plays) in English Literature from the same department.
During his college years, in the summer holidays he worked as a waiter, cook assistant, and mocamp attendant in the holiday resorts. After catching the boss’s wife stealing some Turkish dessert, one day he cut a finger to the bone accidentally and quit the job and started writing.
He attended L’Institute Française in Ankara for two years and learned basic French even from a Madame who would cut her nails as a class activity. Eradam worked at Turco-British Association and at the School of Foreign Languages as an instructor of English. Thanks to a British-Council Scholarship, he studied and received his M.A. TESOL (Teaching English to the Students of Other Languages; unpublished dissertation in English: Literature in Language Teaching) from Moray House College of Education, Edinburgh, Scotland. He left some of his heart there, in Ireland and with his classmates from the Ivory Coast. Fingers crossed, he is still expecting a call from his Ivorian sisters and brothers, to be able to see them and Kitanka (Eradam’s fictional fantasia for the Ivory Coast).
In Turkey, the UK, the USA, Eradam has attended many seminars, panels and conferences on popular culture, multiculturalism, on language and literature, and on translation. and taught comparative literature and film at UNLV (University of Nevada Las Vegas,1994). and at SVSU (Saginaw Valley State University, Michigan, 1999). A member of several associations (namely, Turkish Pen, Writers Guild –Ankara, David Mamet Society, Harold Pinter Society, Turkish-American Studies Association), Eradam is a writer of nine books. To name some, his book of poetry, My Lips Bled Roses, written after the Sivas massacre by the Islamic fundamentalists killing 35 artists, intellectuals; his book of short-stories, The Dirty Cushion Cover, title story being about state terror and boarding school comradeship; his essays, Love Is an Act of Violence, and a book in Turkish on the poetry of Sylvia Plath: The Deluge Before the Self: Sylvia Plath and her Poetry.
Eradam is also the editor and contributor of many books, and is an acclaimed translator (Sylvia Plath, Ariel; Paul Auster, The City of Glass and The Locked Room; Okot p’Bitek, Song of Lawino; Herman Melville, Bartleby, the Scrivener, published as part of Borges’s Library of Babel).
Eradam was the Ankara representative of the Metis Translation journal till 1988, when he became one of the seven founders of the Turkish-American Studies Association. He is no longer using his pen-names Yusuf Cemali, Gary McYeah Well, and Fikri Belli.
His poems, translations have been published in the USA (to name two of them; This Same Sky and The Space Between Our Steps, edited by Naomi Shihab Nye, published by Macmillan. One of his stories, “Cinderella”--which is about the indifference of a bourgeois girl to the grief of Saturday Mothers sitting on Istiklal Street at the center of İstanbul, for human rights and to draw the attention of the government to their lost children-- is now in the syllabus of SVSU (Saginaw Valley State University, Michigan), where Eradam won the story award of Cardinal Sins Fall 1999 with his story “What a Pity”, which first appeared in the daily Evrensel, during the year he wrote short-short stories in his column. “Cinderella” also won the first prize in the short film-story contest held by the Association of Short Films in Istanbul in 2002. His story “Sister Saniye with Fleas and the Touchmatic Wrestler” was broadcast in Turkish on Deutche-Welle radio, together with an interview with the author.
When he was teaching comparative literature and film in Saginaw, Eradam held his first photography exhibition “Humanscapes from Turkey”-accompanied by Nazım Hikmet’s poetry- at the CAGE and the proceeds went to the orphans of the August 1999 earthquake in Turkey to be educated at Darüşşafaka he himself graduated from. He held his second photo exhibition Humanscapes from the US and the third My Bodies/Buddies in Ankara in 2002 and 2005 respectively, and donated the proceeds to Darüşşafaka again.
On March 21, 1997, Eradam was honored as the poet-laureate and the Governor of Jurancon, a state in Wondiana, which is a utopia by “His Majesty, the President” N. Emin Güven, a former student of Eradam’s. This, Eradam claims, will be the best award he will ever receive.
Eradam, is also a song and lyrics writer. For a year he sang with his students in their band “Anatolian Folk Songs” in Turkish, Kurdish, Arabic and the Laz. After having retired from his Chair at the Department of American Culture and Literature of Ankara University, he is currently teaching American Literature and Film, Popular Culture, Creative Writing and Translation at various universities in İstanbul and writing in Cihangir and Beykoz.