tice cin

“There’s a reason why we gather in London” – artist Tice Cin explains her debut novel ‘Keeping the House’

In 2021, artist Tice Cin published her first novel Keeping the House, a family drama focusing on the Turkish diaspora in London.

Exploring themes of family, love and crime, Keeping the House celebrates the communities created in London – those same communities which are now being threatened. 

In her work, Tice explores the communities fighting against outside forces such as gentrification and property developers which force marginalized groups out of their homes.

Tice herself has been affected by the changing landscape.

Although she grew up in Tottenham, where Keeping the House is set, she now lives in Enfield.

She said: “The City of London is very particular about who gets to enjoy the place.

“There’s a strangeness to it. It’s more than a North / South divide, I think now it’s a local gentrifier divide that unites us across postcodes.”

“There’s a reason why we gather in London.

“There is a reason why we are pushing against the government on issues like gentrification in Latin Village in Seven Sisters, and that’s because we worked so hard to build so many support systems for our various communities here.

“But with all those efforts to make the place home, I know there are places I can go to feel safe.”

As an interdisciplinary artist, Tice has worked in many different mediums and had previously found success as a poet.  

She added: “With the poetry in Keeping the House, I saw it as my extension of Complex PTSD.

“When the narrative moves into poetry, usually it’s to suggest some type of memory shifting in and out of place.

“I feel grateful because I write within quite a rich circle of translated literature.”

Throughout the novel, Tice grounds the reader, always letting them know when and where they are.

One way this is done is through the mixture of English and Turkish language in the prose. 

When asked about the inclusion of the Turkish translations in the book stating she said “I saw them as a character of their own.

[It] embodied some of the conversational uniqueness that you might have in a community cafe that you would lose if you decided to make a book monolingual.

I don’t think people speak and think in one language at all if they know more than one.”

To accompany the novel, Tice created a  DJ mix for The Quietus  as well as an official Keeping the House Spotify playlist, both of which add to the musicality of the story. 

When researching the drug scene which much of Keeping The House tackles, Tice attempted to find sources outside of traditional media.

She said: “There’s a profile in [a] magazine of a Turkish coke runner and it’s written with a gloss over it where I didn’t feel like I could get to the heart of a story in a way that satisfies my curiosity. 

“I think it’s really important that women of colour, anyone emerging in their trade or who has received many setbacks in their life, have courage and ambition with the things they are trying to achieve.

Your goals may sound ridiculous or implausible, and you may look like an ‘unlikely character’ but that doesn’t mean that you are.”

Referred to by The Guardian as a “cult classic in the making”, Keeping The House provides a vibrant portrayal of London with a clear understanding of the challenges facing its hidden communities. 

Join the discussion

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Articles