She was born 1944 in the town of Menemen in western Turkey to an officer’s family. She spent her childhood in Japan, where her father was appointed as the Military attaché in the Embassy of Turkeyand also as the Liaison officer of the Turkish Brigade in Korea to the United Nations.
Alev Alatlı attended the American School in Japan in Nakameguro, Meguro, Tokyo. After finishing high school there, her family returned to Turkey, and Alev studied economics at the Middle East Technical University in Ankara, from where she graduated in 1963 with a Bachelor of Science degree.
Following graduation, she married her classmate Alper Orhon, a Turkish Cypriot. She was granted a Fulbright Scholarship and her husband a scholarship from the Ford Foundation to conduct postgraduate study in the USA. Educated at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, she earned a Master of Arts in Development Economics and Econometrics.
By this time, she had started to think about the importance of formulas and figures in explaining the world, and decided to pursue studies in philosophy. She then attended Dartmouth College in New Hampshire and did doctoral studies on philosophy of religion and philosophy of history.
In the next five years after her return from the USA, Alev Alatlı spent her time mainly in studying Islam. She was also involved in a psycholinguistic project of the University of California, Berkeley on language learning patterns of Turkish children. She published a magazine titled “Bizim İngilizce” English: Our English Language) in co-operation with the newspaper Cumhuriyet for Turks based on native tongue and culture.
In 1982, she quit her other activities to stay at home and to devote herself to writing. Her first book titled “Aydın Despotizmi…” (Despotism of the Intellectuals…) was a philosophical study.
Alatlı’s next work and first novel “Yaseminler Tüter mi Hala?” (Jasmines Smoke No More!) appeared in 1985. It was inspired by the true story of a Greek Cypriot woman. Born and christened at theApostolos Andreas Monastery on the Karpas Peninsula of Cyprus, she dies in a tragic manner at 32 in Piraeus, Greece, after two marriages -one with a Muslim Turkish Cypriot, the other with an Orthodox Greek– and five children.
Alev Alatlı’s next works were two translations into Turkish of books by Edward Said titled “Covering Islam” (Haberlerin Ağında Islam) and “The Question of Palestine” (Filistin’in Sorunu), for which she was awarded with an honorary medal by Yaser Arafat.
Her novelella “İşkenceci” (The Torturer), published in 1987, served as a prelude to her next four novels Viva la Muerte! – Yaşasın Ölüm!) in 1992, ’Nuke’ Türkiye! (Nuke Turkey) in 1993, Valla, Kurda Yedirdin Beni! (You Sure Made Me Prey to the Wolves) in 1993 and O.K. Musti! Türkiye Tamamdır. (OK Mustafa, Turkey’s Done!) in 1994.
The highly realistic novel “Kadere Karşı Koy A.Ş.” (Format your Fate Formidably, Inc.), another best seller by Alatlı, followed in 1995.
Alev Alatlı’s first poetry book “Eylül ’98” (September 1998) came out in 1999.
She wrote two futuristic books, “Kabus” (The Nightmare) in 1999 and “Rüya” (The Dream) in 2000 comprised by “Schrödinger’s Cat”.
Alatlı’s next novels “Grace over Enlightenment“, “World Sentry” and “Eyy Uhnem! Eyy Uhnem!” are the first three books of a four-volume work on Russia called “Gogol’un İzinde” (On the Footsteps ofGogol). She was awarded in 2006 with the prize “Mikhail Aleksandrovich Sholokhov 100 Year in Literature” for her third novel in the series.
Since 2002, she wrote bi-weekly a column in the conservative newspaper with a moderate Islamic worldview Zaman. In February 2008, an article of her on the women’s Islamic headgear turban was not allowed to be published by the newspaper’s editor-of-chief with the argument “our readers are not ready for that”. A book published in 2003 under the title “Şimdi Değilse, Ne zaman?” (If not now, when?) brought out a collection of her articles appeared in the newspaper Zaman.