Ink of Light – a biographical novel Rumi & Eva de Vitray


This biographical novel presents the story of the French scholar Eva de Vitray-Meyerovitch, French translator of Mevlana, more familiarly known as Rumi.

The book takes the form of a dialog between this female 20th century scholar and Mevlana, who lived in 13th century Turkey. It is in the first person voice of Eva de Vitray-Meyerovitch (EVM). She is basically “writing letters” to Mevlana, which review her life, how he entered it and influenced it.

The book is structured in 12 chapters, each introduced by a description of the successive steps of the sema ceremony. There are 12 parts to the sema dance of the Whirling Dervishes, the dervish group founded by the followers of Mevlana. The progression of the 12 parts of this ceremony mirrors the stages of the life of EVM. Each sema section is described at the beginning of a chapter to enhance the feeling of ritual in the book and how it feeds into her itinerary.  In addition, readers will come to understand that the sema is not just a dance done for tourists, but a religious service of great ceremony and beauty.

Learn more as you watch a fascinating conversation with author Katherine Branning on her new Fons Vitae title ‘Ink of Light’.


  • Paperback
  • 9781941610091
  • 174

Product Description

You hold in your hands a biographical novel of the French scholar Eva de Vitray-Meyerovitch, translator of the 13th century Sufi poet Rumi, also known as Mevlana, “Our Master”.

Eva de Vitray-Meyerovitch, Paris, France, in the 1960’s and 70s: a modern European woman pursuing a brilliant professional career and family life.

Jelaleddin Rumi, Konya, Turkey, in the 1250’s: a teacher following his charismatic scholar father, studying and learning all he could in the cosmopolitan court of the Seljuk Empire.

Everything would appear to separate them on the surface: One was French, the other a Persian transplanted to Turkey; one was born a Christian woman in the modern era, the other a Muslim man in the Middle Ages. Yet, much united them at the same time: both were teachers and seekers of truth who communicated in the universal language of compassion and love. Each experienced a chance encounter which changed their lives and united them thereafter in spiritual and intellectual complicity.

Their dialogue across languages and cultures is related here in a series of imaginary conversations that Eva de Vitray-Meyerovitch holds with Mevlana, recalling her life story and his influence upon it. The phases of her life – childhood, university studies, marriage, war years, discovery of Islam, teaching career, travels, public advocacy, mentorship and translation projects – all surprisingly mirror the trajectory of Mevlana’s own life 700 years earlier. Both believed in the existence of a world without hate, violence, borders or revenge; a world of peace and equality where all could meet in a field of diversity and respect.

Each conversation is preceded by a description of one of the 12 successive parts of the sema, the world-famous whirling ceremony of the dervishes of the Mevlevi Sufi order founded by the son of Mevlana. These segments not only provide insight on the details of this moving ritual of moving meditation, but also set the rhythm for the mutual itinerary of Mevlana and Eva de Vitray-Meyerovitch.

So come; let us follow the lead of the humble dervish ready to begin the sema dance of this whirling prayer of life known as Sufism.



“This text presents a felicitous and rare harmony between historical fact and literary fiction. Indeed, Katharine Branning surrenders the voice of the narrator to Eva de Vitray-Meyerovitch, who addresses Rumi in a direct and intimate fashion, yet the author faithfully respects the separate historical contexts of the two heroes of this book. The spiritual content is crucial in this book, reinforced by the fact that each chapter is introduced by a systematic presentation of the phases of the Mevlevi ritual of the “whirling dervishes.” We are in the presence of journey towards spiritual awakening, undertaken by human beings as an essential quest for survival.”
Eric Geoffroy, Islamologist and Professor at the University of Strasbourg, France
This story of Eva de Vitray-Meyerovitch, brought to life here, is a tale of the most exceptional devotion, of a cultured and intellectual European woman who discovers in the life and work of Rumi a spiritual universe she never imagined. Facing the early tragic death of her husband and the emotional and economic challenges of raising children on her own, Eva found strength and solace in a spiritual connection with a thirteenth-century Sufi mystic. This book is unique in the way it offers insights into how a woman schooled in the Western intellectual tradition could be transformed by her encounter with the profoundest ideas of the Islamic Sufi tradition.
Kabir Helminski, translator of Rumi, Sufi Shaikh and author
"A luminous travel through time written from the heart. This double biographical novel depicts the life of Mevlana Jalaluddin Rumi and Eva de-Vitray Meyerovitch, a remarkable French woman who accomplished the incredible task of translating all six volumes of the Mathnawi. Eva would be happy with this rendition of her life."
Shems Friedlander, poet, photographer and author of "Rumi a Hidden Treasure", a Mevleri Shaykh, living in Istanbul, Professor Emeritus, The American University in Cairo
“The Ink of Light offers us an intimate feminine glimpse inside the secrets of the Whirling. Here we see the body, spirit, training, soaring as one. Highly recommended for all spiritual seekers and lovers of Rumi.”
Omid Safi, Professor and Director of Duke Islamic Studies Center