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Samuel Chirtel ’14: Tales of Istanbul

The  Research

Sam Chirtel will graduate in June with a degree in biophysics, but he may be well on the road to being a novelist. During his course of study at the Krieger School, Chirtel found a new love: writing. He is using his Woodrow Wilson grant to work on a collection of interrelated short stories. Part historical novel, part science fiction thriller, Chirtel’s stories are set in Istanbul, hundreds of thousands of years in the future. His fictional characters are based on real elements from Istanbul’s diverse history and culture. For example, one civilization is modeled after the Ottoman Empire, while another draws inspiration from Byzantine culture. The story also interweaves elements from Christian, Muslim, and traditional Turkish mythologies. Chirtel traveled to Istanbul last summer to study its residents, historical sites, and architecture. He says he chose Istanbul because he wanted to explore a city with a rich history involving the interaction of many distinct civilizations.

In His Own Words

“This project has changed me tremendously. It has taught me a greater appreciation for my observational and creative talents and has made me re-examine the priorities in my intellectual life. My growing suspicion that my true calling lies in literature has certainly been confirmed by this project.”

Adviser: Anne Eakin Moss, Assistant Professor, Humanities Center