Meet Tutku, whose triumphant story collection we’ll be publishing next summer as DD’s second one-author book, with support using public funding from Arts Council England. 

Earlier this year, to celebrate the launch of So Long As You Write: Women on Writing, we held an open submission period for a collection of work by one author. 

It’s the second time we’ve offered this kind of opportunity: in 2021, a similar open call led to us Tools For Surviving a Storm by Nadia Henderson, a special collection we remain incredibly proud to have published. The wonderful process of working closely with one author encouraged us to collaborate with another with another writer as they developed a collection of their work, as well as support from Arts Council England. 

We also wanted to offer an opportunity that would afford writers the opportunity to respond to the rallying call of So Long As You Write, one that would encourage more women writers to share their stories and celebrate the power of women putting words on the page. 

We received around 80 submissions of an incredibly impressive standard. We were struck by the variety and originality of the work received, and have been genuinely inspired by the creativity reflected in these special projects. As always, we feel honoured that so many of you considered us as a potential home for your work. 

After a considerable longlisting and shortlisting process, we’re so pleased to share that the writer who we will be working on Dear Damsels’ fifth book with is Tutku Barbaros. Tutku’s collection of stories is a love letter to women finding their own paths –  and the growing pains, difficult decisions and heartbreaks that we have to go through in the process. We know that these stories will act as a reminder to readers to choose themselves, always. 

Tutku is a writer – across forms – of Turkish Cypriot heritage from south-east London. She is an alumna of the Royal Court Writers’ Programme as well as Sphinx Theatre’s year-long writer’s development programme, Sphinx Lab. Her play debut Layla and Youssef was longlisted for the Bruntwood prize and the Paines Plough Women’s Prize For Playwriting. 

Some of you might be familiar with Tutku’s work already. Her short story ‘An Apple Pie Life’ was published in What She’s Having and her writing has been selected in response to various of our online themes over the years. 

Tutku said: ‘For the last couple years astonishing women keep turning up in my head, banging on the door and demanding “Hey, Tuts, you should write me”. So, I’m bringing them tea with biscuits and asking them about their anxieties, their desires – before I know it they’re grabbing me by the hand and off into their world. It’s chaotic: they’re falling in love with the boss’s son, they’re breaking up with friends they’ve known for years, they accidentally burnt the mince pies, they’re running late on their ten-year plan. The more I write, the more I keep coming back to the relationships which hold them, to the magic of sisterhood and the magic of knowing yourself. Those connections – with each other and with ourselves – are where change happens, and that’s something I’m really exploring in these stories.

‘There’s going to be love found and love lost, connections made and bonds broken. I want to write something which will light us up on our darkest days, and at the heart there will be all these incredible women. I really can’t wait for you to meet them.’

Tutku’s writing is truly one-of-a-kind, and we cannot wait to share more of her work with you. We hope this book and the stories of the women inside will find homes on readers’ bookshelves and in their hearts for years to come. 

The book will publish in summer 2023, and we’ll be revealing the title, cover and more information about this gorgeous collection oh-so-soon. To be the first to hear about all of these things, make sure you’re signed up to our mailing list [link].

More soon!

Team DD x 

For any enquiries about Tutku’s short story collection, email us at

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