Hicyilmaz, Gaye 1947-
HICYILMAZ, Gaye 1947-
PERSONAL: Born May 5, 1947, in Surbiton, Surrey, England; daughter of Harry (an engineer) and Dorothy (a teacher; maiden name, Hart) Campling; married Muzaffer Hicyilmaz (a banker), 1970; children: Timur, Kubilay, Hulagu, Mewgu. Education: University of Sussex, B.A., 1969.
ADDRESSES: Home—15 Kingsdowne Rd., Surbiton, Surrey KT6 6JL, England. Agent—Rosemary Bromley, Juvenalia, Avington, Winchester, Hampshire SO21 1DB, England.
CAREER: British Council teacher in Ankara, Turkey, in the 1970s.
Against the Storm (children's novel), Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1992.
The Frozen Waterfall, Farrar, Straus (New York, NY), 1994.
Smiling for Strangers, Farrar, Straus (New York, NY), 2000.
In Flame, Faber (London, England), 2002.
SIDELIGHTS: Gaye Hicyilmaz has written several novels featuring foreign children. Her first novel, Against the Storm, is set in Turkey where young Mehmet's family leaves their drought-stricken village for the capital city in search of a better life. A critic for Publishers Weekly called it "a vivid and disturbing picture of poverty." The Frozen Waterfall tells of Selda, a Turkish girl who is immigrating with her family to Switzerland. Another Publishers Weekly reviewer found that "hearts will go out to the heroine as she struggles to find a niche for herself." Hazel Rochman of Booklist believed that "the plot is dramatic; and the writing is sharp and lyrical." Hicyilmaz's Smiling for Strangers is set in war-torn Bosnia and follows the travails of teenaged Nina, who hopes to leave her violent homeland and immigrate to England. School Library Journal contributor Laura Scott noted "some beautiful writing and riveting characterizations" in the novel. "Nina emerges as psychologically complex, a tough and scarred heroine who may awaken readers to the price of war," according to a Publishers Weekly critic, and a reviewer for Horn Book found that "Hicyilmaz reminds us repeatedly, without a trace of sentimentality, how much that is good and innocent is buried by war."
In 2003 Hicyilmaz published In Flame, a novel that is a departure from her previous books about immigrants. The main character is Helen, a fourteen-year-old girl who moves with her family to the coastal town of Pembroke after the death of her brother, Tom. Her mother wants to make a new start, but the family soon discovers that leaving the past behind is not as simple as moving one's home. Helen's younger brother is suffering emotional stress, and an encounter with a man named Christian leads to a gradual unveiling of disturbing secrets about the late Tom. A Guardian reviewer found the novel "immensely satisfying," adding that "the writing is delicate and pointed, the plotting exciting and the characters psychologically convincing."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, April 15, 1992, Hazel Rochman, review of Against the Storm, p. 1522; October 1, 1994, Hazel Rochman, review of The Frozen Waterfall, p. 318; April 1, 2000, Hazel Rochman, review of Smiling for Strangers, p. 1451; July, 2000, Hazel Rochman, review of Smiling for Strangers, p. 2025.
Book Report, November-December, 1992, Gayle Berge, review of Against the Storm, p. 42; March-April, 1995, Susan Martin, review of The Frozen Waterfall, p. 37.
Guardian (London, England), April 4, 2002, review of In Flame.
Horn Book, May-June, 1992, Hanna B. Zeiger, review of Against the Storm, p. 343; May, 2000, review of Smiling for Strangers, p. 314.
Publishers Weekly, May 11, 1992, review of Against the Storm, p. 73; August 1, 1994, review of The Frozen Waterfall, p. 80; May 8, 2000, review of Smiling for Strangers, p. 222.
School Library Journal, May, 1992, Ellen D. Warwick, review of Against the Storm, p. 130; October, 1994, Ann W. Moore, review of The Frozen Waterfall, p. 142; June, 2000, Laura Scott, review of Smiling for Strangers, p. 146.
Times (London, England), March 10, 1990.*