2006 : Orhan Pamuk

2006 : Orhan Pamuk

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“who in the quest for the melancholic soul of his native city has discovered new symbols for the clash and interlacing of cultures”



June 7, 1952

Place of birth


Istanbul, Turkey







Notable award(s)


Nobel Prize in Literature 2006


Ferit Orhan Pamuk (Istanbul, Turkey, June 7, 1952) is one of the most prominent authors of the current literature in the Turkish language. His work has been translated into 34 languages and published in a hundred different countries. He has received numerous international awards, including the France-Culture Award in 1995, the prize for best foreign book of the New York Times, in 2004 and the Peace Prize of the German booksellers in 2005. On October 12, 2006, the Swedish Academy awarded him the Nobel Prize for Literature in recognition of a literary career and his commitment to human rights, thereby becoming the first Turk to win a Nobel Prize. Born in the heart of a wealthy family (his father was an engineer) resident in the neighborhood of Nisantas? Westernized, similar to that described in some of his novels. He began studies of architecture, but left three years later to devote himself to literature full time. In 1977 he graduated at the Institute of Journalism at the University of Istanbul, but never exercised as a journalist. Between 1985 and 1988 he lived in New York and worked as a visiting professor at Columbia University. It then returned to Istanbul. Although his career as a writer began in the late 70, and her first novel was published in 1982, his work began to have international impact with the novel The astrologer and the Sultan (Beyaz Kale, 1985), praised by the American writer John Updike, and reached its final consecration My name is Red (Benimar adim K?rm?z?, 1998), a novel that combines the narrative of mystery, love story and philosophical reflection, set in the sixteenth century Istanbul, during the reign of Sultan Murad III.


Works in Turkish:

  • Cevdet Bey Ve Ogullar? – Istanbul : Karacan Yay?nlar?, 1982

  • Sessiz Ev – Istanbul : Can Yay?nlar?, 1983

  • Beyaz Kale – Istanbul : Can Yay?nlar?, 1985

  • Kara Kitap – Istanbul : Can Yay?nlar?, 1990

  • Gizli Yuz : Senaryo – Istanbul : Can Yay?nlar?, 1992

  • Yeni Hayat – Istanbul : Iletisim, 1994

  • Benim Ad?m K?rm?z? – Istanbul : Iletisim, 1998

  • Oteki Renkler : Secme Yaz?lar Ve Bir Hikaye – Istanbul : Iletisim, 1999

  • Kar – Istanbul : Iletisim, 2002

  • Istanbul : Hat?ralar Ve Sehir – Istanbul : Yap? Kredi Kultur Sanat Yay?nc?l?k, 2003

Works in English:

  • The White Castle / translated from the Turkish by Victoria Holbrook – New York : Braziller, 1991 ; London : Faber & Faber, 2001 – Translation of Beyaz Kale

  • The Black Book / translated by: Guneli Gun – New York : Farrar, Straus, 1994 ; London : Faber & Faber, 1994 – Translation of Kara Kitap

  • The Black Book / translated by: Maureen Freely – New York : Knopf, 2006 ; London : Faber & Faber, 2006 – Translation of Kara Kitap

  • The New Life / translated by Guneli Gun – New York : Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 1997 ; London : Faber & Faber, 1997 – Translation of Yeni Hayat

  • My Name is Red / translated from the Turkish by Erdag M. Goknar – New York : Knopf, 2001 ; London : Faber & Faber, 2001 – Translation of Benim Ad?m K?rm?z?

  • Snow / translated from the Turkish by Maureen Freely – New York : Knopf, 2004 ; London : Faber & Faber, 2004 – Translation of Kar

  • Istanbul : Memories and the City / translated from the Turkish by Maureen Freely – New York : Knopf, 2005 ; London : Faber & Faber, 2005 – Translation of Istanbul : Hat?ralar Ve Sehir


1979: Milliyet Press Novel Contest Award (Turkey) for his novel Karanl?k ve Is?k (co-winner).

1983: Orhan Kemal Novel Prize (Turkey) for his novel Cevdet Bey ve Ogullar?.

1984: Madarali Novel Prize (Turkey) for his novel Sessiz Ev.

1990: Independent Foreign Fiction Prize (United Kingdom) for his novel Beyaz Kale.

1991: Prix de la Decouverte Europeenne (France) for the French edition of Sessiz Ev : La Maison de Silence.

1991: Antalya Golden Orange Film Festival (Turkey) Best Original Screenplay Gizli Yuz.

1995: Prix France Culture (France) for his novel Kara Kitap : Le Livre Noir.

2002: Prix du Meilleur Livre Etranger (France) for his novel My Name Is Red : Mon Nom est Rouge.

2002: Premio Grinzane Cavour (Italy) for his novel My Name Is Red.

2003: International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award (Ireland) for his novel My Name Is Red.

2005: Peace Prize of the German Book Trade (Germany).

2005: Prix Medicis Etranger (France) for his novel Snow : La Neige.

2006: Nobel Prize in Literature (Sweden).

2006: Washington University’s Distinguished Humanist Award (United States).


Excerpt from Istanbul: Memories of a City

Here we come to the heart of the matter: I’ve never left Istanbul – never left the houses, streets and neighbourhoods of my childhood. Although I’ve lived in other districts from time to time, fifty years on I find myself back in the Pamuk Apartments, where my first photographs were taken and where my mother first held me in her arms to show me the world. I know this persistence owes something to my imaginary friend, and to the solace I took from the bond between us. But we live in an age defined by mass migration and creative immigrants, and so I am sometimes hard-pressed to explain why I’ve stayed not only in the same place, but the same building. My mother’s sorrowful voice comes back to me, ‘Why don’t you go outside for a while, why don’t you try a change of scene, do some travelling …?’

Conrad, Nabokov, Naipaul – these are writers known for having managed to migrate between languages, cultures, countries, continents, even civilisations. Their imaginations were fed by exile, a nourishment drawn not through roots but through rootlessness; mine, however, requires that I stay in the same city, on the same street, in the same house, gazing at the same view. Istanbul’s fate is my fate: I am attached to this city because it has made me who I am.

Flaubert, who visited Istanbul a hundred and two years before my birth, was struck by the variety of life in its teeming streets; in one of his letters he predicted that in a century’s time it would be the capital of the world. The reverse came true: after the Ottoman Empire collapsed, the world almost forgot that Istanbul existed. The city into which I was born was poorer, shabbier, and more isolated than it had ever been its two-thousand-year history. For me it has always been a city of ruins and of end-of-empire melancholy. I’ve spent my life either battling with this melancholy, or (like all Istanbullus) making it my own.

At least once in a lifetime, self-reflection leads us to examine the circumstances of our birth. Why were we born in this particular corner of the world, on this particular date? These families into which we were born, these countries and cities to which the lottery of life has assigned us – they expect love from us, and in the end, we do love them, from the bottom of our hearts – but did we perhaps deserve better? I sometimes think myself unlucky to have been born in an ageing and impoverished city buried under the ashes of a ruined empire. But a voice inside me always insists this was really a piece of luck. If it were a matter of wealth, then I could certainly count myself fortunate to have been born into an affluent family at a time when the city was at its lowest ebb (though some have ably argued the contrary). Mostly I am disinclined to complain: I’ve accepted the city into which I was born in the same way I’ve accepted my body (much as I would have preferred to be more handsome and better built) and my gender (even though I still ask myself, naively, whether I might have been better off had I been born a woman). This is my fate, and there’s sense arguing with it. This book is about fate …

Presentation Speech:

Presentation Speech by Professor Horace Engdahl, Permanent Secretary of the Swedish Academy, Member of its Nobel Committee, December 10, 2006.

Your Majesties, Your Royal Highnesses, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Orhan Pamuk described in his book about his home town Istanbul how he as a young refers studied a magnificent works with engravings from the early 1800’s speech, representing what at that time was the capital of the vast Ottoman Empire. The artist was German and bar itself with the European landscape painting techniques and approaches, the association of dagdrommeri and curiosity at the world as we call it quaint and who then was still alien to the Turkish culture. At the same time, it was with the knowledge of a genuine istanbulbo painter who, after many years of activity in the city, considered the palaces, streets, public myllret and beam the game over the Bosphorus waters. He must both be ORIENTAL – to understand what he saw – and Westerners – to have the means to depict it. What Orhan Pamuk describes here is its own dual-glance at the reality. When Pamuk uses the Western novel form, it loses its fixed central perspective, tied to the main person’s actions and feelings. Instead, lured the reader into a maze of stories and beliefs, where the person we identify with us at any time can face himself as an alien, the comments from the other direction, from another life or another culture. In My Name is Red select Pamuk sultan miniature painter in 1590-century Istanbul to launch the conflict between Western individualism and Eastern traditionalism. The traditional Muslim position is that the novel makes it, that all the paintings illustrate the famous stories. The only depict what the eye sees in nature is a blasphemy. Ideally it should be painting from memory, paint objects meaningful and not their appearance, removing all temporary, raising to Allah glance at the world. To leave traces in the work that is being identified as a personal style is considered by the old masters to be proof of INAPTITUDE. The Western portraits art expresses pity for them a full desire to boast before God. Those who choose to be portrayed as, believe they have an extraordinary importance and place in the world’s midpoint, as well as the deliberate original artist with his style. Such a person will no longer bow to the authorities without taking the right to doubt anything. The unique feature brush, where painter hand only reads his own eyes, is the movement that threatens to scupper any sacred gospel. The choice between the alternative opinion-makers in this novel is seductively easy for a modern reader, but it proves treacherous. While Pamuk by his way of writing seems to be on the personal style side, at disseminates he doubts that the unique feature really is. Does not both love and art to repeat the gestures we first saw in someone else? In his great The black book seems to civilization as a confusing hostile activity, where people are taking refuge in each other’s imaginary life to be free from themselves and be able to experience love. It will be the man says. The black book is an odyssey through a nocturnal Istanbul full of jinn and half-creatures, a city where the fictional stories raises more confidence than the truth and the truth is a shadow on the wall. A dream world and a metaphor for the universe. Man’s helpless dependence on narrative has rarely been described more convincing. As Oscar Wilde pointed out that the fog of the Thames imitating Turner painting, Pamuk shows that the real Istanbul only exist thanks to their fabulatorer. In his novel Snow seeks Pamuk to a forgotten town in Turkey’s outskirts. This movement, not less drastic than a journey from Earth to the Moon, enabling him to take a geological sample of all strata of Turkish society, from the state establishment faithful to disappoint the left intellectuals, Islamic fundamentalists, Kurds and the mysterious suicidal girls fighting for the right to wear a veil. At the heart of the document is a Western-influenced poet who is seeking a way back from his exile. Snow has been called a political novel, but more than an expression of opinion is that, following the example of Dostojevskijs Evil spirits, a critique of policies and their impact on human minds. Fanatic belief springs from a blindness to other people’s driving forces. Against this the author Pamuk sentiments of all his characters beyond good and evil. Events self-irony is the only ruling he folds. Novels charismatic fundamentalist, who strikes fear in the authorities and has bewitched the woman poet wants to love – in a mythical plan is their struggle Orpheus defeat against Dionysus – the death contemptuous terrorist turns out most of all strive to get their intimidation of Europe published in any of the major German newspapers, so that the West should pay attention to him. Snow is finally a book on the right of uncertainty and vacillation, the love that life defeats and yearning for God. Dear Orhan Pamuk! You have turned your home into an indispensable literary territory, comparable to Dostojevskijs Petersburg, Joyce’s Dublin or Proust Paris – a place where readers from all corners of the earth are living a second life, just as credible as their own, met by an alien feeling they immediately recognize as their own. I would like to extend warm congratulations of the Swedish Academy, when I now ask you to receive the Nobel Prize in literature from His Majesty the King’s hand.

Nobel Lecture:

December 7, 2006

My Father’s Suitcase

Two years before his death, my father gave me a small suitcase filled with his own writings, his manuscripts and notebooks. Taking his usual sarcastic air, he told me he wanted me to read after him, ie after his death. “Take a look,” he said, somewhat embarrassed, “maybe there is something publishable. You can choose. ” It was in my office surrounded by books. My father walked into the office looking around him as someone who seeks to get rid of a heavy bag and bulky, not knowing where to ask. Finally, he asked quietly, silently in a corner. Once past that point a bit shameful but unforgettable, we have the lightness of our quiet usual roles, our personalities sarcastic and casual. As usual, we talked about unimportant things, of life, endless political issues of Turkey, all projects fulfillment, business without consequences. I remember revolved around the suitcase for a few days after his departure, without touching it. I was already familiar with this small black leather bag, its lock, its corners. My father would take his trips short, and sometimes also carry documents home to work. I remember as a child, opened the suitcase and searched in his business, which amounted delicious smell of eau de Cologne and abroad. This bag was for me a lot of things familiar or exciting, my past and my childhood memories, yet I failed to touch it. Why? Without doubt because of the mysterious weight of its contents. I shall now speak of the meaning of this weight is the meaning of the work of the man who shuts himself in a room, sits down at a table or in a corner, is expressed by means of paper and a pen, ie the meaning of literature. I could not take and open the bag of my father, but I knew some of the books inside. I had seen my father write it. This was not the first time I felt the heavy load inside the suitcase. My father had a large library in his youth, in the late forties, he wanted to become a poet in Istanbul, he had translated Valery into Turkish, but did not want to expose themselves to the difficulties of a life devoted to poetry in a poor country with few readers. His father – my grandfather – was a wealthy entrepreneur, my father had been an easy childhood, he would not get tired for literature. He loved life and its amenities, I understood. What kept me first m’approcher of my father’s suitcase, it was the fear of not liking what he had written. He doubted surely, and had taken before assigning a kind of flippant to this bag. This attitude m’affligeait, I wrote that last twenty-five years, but I did not want to rigorous take my father not to take literature seriously enough … My real fear, the thing that really scares me, it was the possibility that my father had been a good writer. It is this fear that prevented me to open my father’s suitcase. And I could not even m’avouer the real reason. Because if his bag had come out a great work, I should have recognized the existence of another man, completely different, within my father. It was something scary. Even at my advanced age I wanted that my father was my father, not a writer. For me, being a writer is to discover patiently over the years, the second person, hidden, who lives in us, and a world that our secret second life: writing m’evoque first, not the novels, poetry, literary tradition, but the man who locked in a room, sits down on himself, only with words, and throws in so doing, builds a new world. This man, or woman, can use a typewriter, a computer help or, as I have done for thirty years to write with a pen on paper. As he writes, he can smoke, drink coffee or tea. From time to time it may take a look out through the window on children who play in the street – if he is lucky, at trees, a landscape – or on a wall. He can write poems, plays or novels like me. All these differences are secondary to the act essential to sit at a table, and dive right in itself. To write is to translate into words this look inside pass within itself and enjoy the happiness to explore patiently and persistently, a new world. As to my table and tired, I added the word after word on white sheets, and spent the days, months, years, I felt build this new world, as it builds a bridge, or a vault, and discover in myself as another person. The words for us, writers are the stones that we are building. In the handling, assessing relative to each other, using an sometimes far, sometimes contrary pesant them and fondling the fingertips and the pen that we each put in its place, for build throughout the year without losing hope, stubbornly, patiently. For me the secret of being a writer lies not inspiration of unknown origin but his stubbornness and patience. A lovely Turkish saying dig a well with a needle “seems to have been invented for us writers. I love and I appreciate the patience of Farhad which according to legend pierced the mountains for the love of Shirine. Speaking in My Name is Red, Persian miniatures that force to draw the same horse for years, eventually memorize the point of being able to run blindly, I knew I was speaking as the trade of writer, and my own life. It seems to me that to be able to tell his own life story as the other, and draw in itself this gift to tell, the writer must itself, with optimism, donate all these years to his art and his profession. The muse, who pays regular visits to some and not others, is sensitive to this confidence, optimism, and that is when the writer feels most alone, when he doubted most of the value of his efforts, his dreams and what he says – ie when it believes that its history is nothing other than its history, that the muse has to offer stories, images and dreams that the world where he lives and the world that wants to build. The most upsetting feeling for me in this profession as a writer to whom I gave my life was sometimes think that certain phrases, certain pages that drove me pleased me very much revealed by the grace of a external power. I was afraid to open my father’s suitcase and reading his notebooks because I knew he would never have exposed the difficulties that I myself had to face. He loved not solitude, but friends, crowded rooms, jokes in society. But then I made another argument: patience, asceticism, all these ideas that I echafaudees could be that my own prejudices related to my experience and my personal life as a writer. The authors no shortage of brilliant, who wrote in the midst of a brilliant life, noisy, with a social or family life happy and intense. In addition, our father had abandoned children, to flee just poor family life. He had gone to Paris, where he, like many others, filled notebooks in hotel rooms. I knew the bag was a part of these books, because during the years that preceded the surrender of the suitcase, my father had started to tell me about this period of his life. In our childhood as he spoke of those years, but without mentioning its own frailty, nor his desire to become a poet, nor his existential anxieties in hotel rooms. He told how he often saw Sartre on the pavements of Paris, he talked about the books he had read and films he had seen with a naive enthusiasm, as someone who brings important news. I could not hide me what my destiny as a writer was the fact that my father spoke more often of great writers of world literature that our pashas or religious sponsors. Perhaps it was rather, instead of attaching too much importance to the literary value of his writings, address books my father considering everything that I had books to its library, reminding me that my father When he lived with us, aspirations too, like me, only to find themselves in a room to rub the crowd of his dreams. But as with concern that suitcase, I felt just incapable of it himself. My father was accustomed sometimes to lie on the sofa at the entrance to his library, ask the magazine or book he was reading, and follow the long course of his thoughts. On his face was then a new term, different from the one he had family in the mid-jokes, teasing or disputes – a gaze inward. I was deducted from my childhood and my early youth my father was a man worried, and I worry about them. I know now, after so many years, that concern is one of the reasons that make a man a writer. To become a writer must have patience before and taste of deprivation, an instinct to escape the crowd, society, living ordinary, everyday things shared by everyone, and locked in a room. We, writers, we need patience and hope to find foundations, in ourselves, the world we create, but the need to lock ourselves in a room full of books, is the first thing which motivates us. Whoever is the beginning of modern literature, the first major example of writer and reader free of constraints and free of prejudice, which first discussed the words of others without listening to his own conscience, who founded his world its dialogue with other books, is certainly Montaigne. Montaigne is one of the writers on reading which my father fell steadily and me forever. I want to be considered as belonging to this tradition of writers who, whether in East or West, is out of the company whatsoever, where they live, to be locked in a room full of books. For me, man in his library is the place of true literature. However, our loneliness in this room where we enfermons is not as great as we think. We are surrounded by the words, stories of others, their books, what we call tradition. I believe that literature is the most valuable that humanity has given to understand. Human societies, tribes and nations become intelligent and enrich amount to the extent that they take seriously their literature, where they listen to their writers, and as we all know, the burning of books, persecution presagent against writers for the nations of black and dark periods. The literature is never just a national concern, the writer who shuts himself in a room with his books and first all an inner journey will discover over the years rule: Literature is the art to know about our history as the history of others and history of others as our own history. To reach this goal, we start by reading the stories and other books. My father had a good library of about one thousand five hundred pounds more than enough for a writer. When I was twenty-two years, I had perhaps not read all the books that were in his library, but I knew them all one by one, which I knew were important, which were light and easy to read, Classics which were unavoidable and monuments, which were witnesses, doomed to oblivion but fun, a local history, and which were the books by the French writer to whom my father was anxious. Sometimes I contemplate far this library. I imagined myself one day I was in another house, own a library similar and even better than me I was going to build a world with books. Viewed from afar, the library of my father sometimes appeared to me as an image of the entire universe. But it was a world that we observe from a narrow angle from Istanbul, and the contents of the library also testified. And my father had been the library from books he had bought during his travels abroad, especially in Paris and America, those that had purchased in his youth in Istanbul booksellers selling foreign literature in the forties and fifties, and those that had continued to gain in bookshops I know myself. My world is a mixture of local and global levels, national and Western. From the seventies, I also had the claim me as a personal library, even before they have really decided to become a writer, as I say in my book Istanbul, I knew that I do painter becomes either, but I did not know exactly what direction my life would take. I had an insatiable curiosity and universal, and a thirst to learn and too naive. On the other hand I felt that my life was doomed to remain lacking, some things that are given to others. This sentiment was partly that of being away from the center, in the province, which earned us strength to live in Istanbul or nothing to watch my father’s library. My other concern was that I lived in Turkey, in a country that does not attach great importance to its artists, they practice painting or literature, and let live without hope. In the seventies, when bought with the money my father gave me, of used books, dusty and worn, among booksellers Istanbul, as a laughable ambition to supplement what life not only gave the appearance miserable sellers, in the course of the mosques at the foot of the ruins, at the corner of the decrepit and squalid poverty of all these places disheartening, m’influencaient provided that the content of books themselves. As for my place in the universe, my feeling was that anyway, I was out, and far from any center, either in life or in literature. At the center of the world there was a life richer and more exciting than the one we live, and I was outside me, like all my compatriots. Today, I think I share this feeling with most people in the world. In the same way, there was a world literature, whose center was located very far from me. But what I thought was not world literature, but Western literature. And we Turks were also excluded, of course, as confirmed by the library of my father. On the one hand there were books and literature from Istanbul, which restricts our world j’affectionne ever since and today the details, and there were books of the Western world, all different, which gave us all punishment that hope. Writing and reading were somehow a way out of a world and find a consolation through the difference, the strange and wondrous another. I felt that my father had read novels to escape his life and flee to the West, just as I did myself later. It seemed that at that time, the books we used to rid us of the sense of cultural inferiority; being read but also write us closer to the West and making us share something. My father, to fill those notebooks in the bag was gone locked in a hotel room in Paris and was back to Turkey he had written. I felt, looking at my father’s suitcase that myself, I was concerned, and it terrified me. After twenty-five years, to be a writer in Turkey, in the solitude of a room, I’m appalled by watching my father’s suitcase against the fact that the profession as a writer, writing sincerely suppose that It carries cache in society, the State and the Nation. This is perhaps my main resentment against my father for not as much as I took the job as a writer seriously. In fact, I wanted him had not led the life that is mine, have chosen to live in society with his friends, people he loved, without exposing itself to any conflict to which whatsoever. But at the same time, I knew that these accusations covered jealousy, and that word would have been more accurate to describe my irritation. I was wondering, as an obsession, “what is happiness? “. Does this suggest a life deep in the solitude of a room, or is it living an easy life in society, believing the same things that everybody or pretending to believe. Is it secretly write all in his corner, while having air live in harmony with everyone, was the happiness or unhappiness? There were questions overly ill to me. Moreover, where had I got that happiness was the criterion for a successful life? People, papers, everyone acted as if life is most important measure happiness Did this alone not doubt we could consider the opposite. Besides, knowing my father, and how he had abandoned us and we constantly flee, I was able both to receive his deep concern. That is what finally made me open my father’s suitcase. Perhaps were there in his life a secret, a misfortune too important for that he could not bear to write. As soon as I opened the bag, I remembered the smell of his travel bag, and I realized that I knew some of his notebooks, my father had shown me years earlier, but without attach importance. Most of those I laminated one by one dating from the years when my father, still young, we were often left to go to Paris. But what I want, me, as I like writers whose books I read was to learn what my father had been able to think and write at the same age as me. Quickly, I realized I was not going to make this experience. I was also embarrassed by the voice of writer that I perceived here and there in notebooks. I told myself that this voice was not that of my father, it was not genuine, or that this voice was not the person that I knew as my father. There was a fear here more serious than the simple concern to discover that my father stopped, writing, as my father, my own fear of failing to be authentic outweighs that of not appreciate his written him, and found that it was overly influenced by other writers, and it turns into a crisis of authenticity that compels me to wonder, as in my youth, my whole existence on my life My desire to write, and what I wrote myself. During the first ten years when I wrote novels, I felt that fear with acuity, she almost m’accablait; like I had given up painting, I fear that this concern should abandon me to write.

I have already mentioned the two feelings that this bag – which I have since closed and put away – had provoked in me a sense of provinciality, and the sake of authenticity. Obviously, this was not the first time I felt deeply the feelings of anxiety. I myself by reading and writing explored, discovered and deepened over the years these sentiments to my desk, in all their magnitude, their consequences and their interconnections, their intricacies and diversity of their nuances. Of course, I had tried many times, especially in my youth, pain, feelings go away, disorders of the mind whose life and books will not stop m’affliger. But I had reached the bottom of the feeling of being provincial, the anguish of not being genuine in writing novels, books that point (eg Snow or Istanbul to the sense of provinciality, or My Name is Red and The Black Book for the sake of authenticity). For me, being a writer is press the secret wounds that we carry within us, we know that we carry within us – the patiently discover, know, prove to the big day, making these injuries and our pain part of our writing and our identity. A writer talks of things that everyone knows without a conscience. The discovery of this knowledge sharing and give the reader pleasure to browse surprised in a world familiar. We probably also pleased that the talent that expresses in words what we know of reality. The writer who shuts himself in a room and developed his talent for years, and trying to build a world beginning with its own injury secret, consciously or unconsciously, shows a great faith in humanity. I always had confidence in what the others are also such injuries, in what human beings are alike. Any real literature based on trust – a childlike optimism – that men are alike. Someone who writes for years locked addresses humanity and a world without a center. But as you can understand my father’s suitcase and faded colors of life that we in Istanbul, the world was a far from us. I talked a lot about this feeling of tchekhovien provinciality and anguish of authenticity both inspired by the experience of this fundamental truth. I know myself that the overwhelming majority of the world’s population lives with these feelings by fighting against oppressive lack of confidence in itself and against the fear of humiliation. Yes, the main concern of humanity is still poverty, lack of food, housing … But now, televisions, newspapers tell us these fundamental problems more quickly and easily as literature. What literature should tell and investigate today is the main problem of humanity, fear of exclusion and feel unimportant, the sentimment nothing argued, the damage to the self-esteem experienced by corporations, weaknesses, fear of humiliation, anger of all kinds, sensitivities and national bragging … I can understand the paranoia, which are most often expressed in an irrational and overly sensitive, each When I fixed the darkness inside me. We witness that large crowds, societies and nations constituting the world outside the West, which I identify myself easily impregnated with fears that sometimes bordered stupidity, because of this fear of being humiliated and this susceptibility. I know at the same time that nations, states in the Western world which I can just as easily identify with, are sometimes imbued with a pride (vanity of having produced the Renaissance, the Enlightenment, Modernity, the company abundance) and near as stupid. Consequently, not only my father but we all overestimate the idea that the world would have a center. However, what keeps us locked in a room for years to write is a confidence contrary, it is a faith that one day, what we wrote will be read and understood as men are alike everywhere in the world . But I know myself and what my father says, this is a troubled optimism, injured, inspired by fear of being on the sidelines, outside. I felt many times in my own feelings of love and hate that Dostoyevsky has tested all his life against the West. But what I really learned from him, my real source of optimism is the completely different world that this great writer based in part on its relationship of love and hate with the West but the excess . All writers who have devoted their lives to this profession know this reality: the reasons which led us to write and the world we have built strength to write for years with hope eventually arise in different places. From the table where we sat with our grief or our anger, we have reached an entirely different world, beyond the grief and anger. Was it not possible that my father, too, had reached such a world? This world in which we arrive after a long journey, we inspire a sense of wonder, like an island that is slowly before us in all its colors, when the fog lifts on Wednesday Or it looks to feel what Western travelers to Istanbul Approach, by Wednesday, when it emerges from the fog of dawn. At the end of the long journey started with hope and curiosity, there is a city, a world with its mosques, minarets, houses, streets sloping, hills, bridges. We want to enter into this world and to get lost, like a good player gets lost in the pages of a book. We were sitting at this table, angry, sad, and we have discovered a new world that made us forget these feelings. Contrary to what I felt during my childhood and my youth, the center of the world for me is now Istanbul. Not only because I spent almost my entire life, but also because for thirty years, I have been told its streets, its bridges, its people and dogs, its houses and mosques, fountains, amazing heroes, its shops, small people, its dark corners, his nights and days, identify with each in turn. At a certain moment, I imagined world beyond my control also becomes more real in my mind that the town where I live. So, all these men and streets, these objects and buildings in some way begin to talk among themselves, to establish relationships between them that I could not sense, to live by themselves, not just in my imagination and my books. This world that I built in imagining patiently, as we dig a well with a needle would then seem truer than anything. Looking at his bag, I thought that maybe my father had known this happiness reserved for writers who have dedicated many years to their profession and that I should not have prejudices against him. Furthermore, I was grateful for not having been a regular father, handing out orders and prohibitions, which crushes and punished, and always respected me and allowed. I have sometimes thought that my imagination could run free like a child, because I did not fear to lose, unlike many of my childhood friends and my youth, and sometimes I sincerely thought I could become a writer because my father wanted to become a writer himself in his youth. I had read with tolerance and understanding what he had written in those hotel rooms. With these thoughts, I opened the bag, which had remained several days where my father had left, and I read, by mobilizing all my will, some notebooks, some pages. What had therefore written? I remember the views parisiens hotel, a few poems, paradoxes, reasoning … I feel now as someone who remembers difficult after a car accident, what happened to him, and reluctant to memory. When I was a child my mother and father were about to start an argument, ie when one of their deadly silence, my father lit immediately radio, to change the mood, music made us forget faster. Change the subject, and say a few words as music. ” As you know, the question most frequently asked of writers is: “Why do you write? “I write because I want. I write because I can not do like other normal work. I write for books like mine are written and that I read. I write because I am very angry against you all, against everybody. I write because I love sitting in a room all day. I write because I can not bear the reality by changing it. I write for the whole world knows what kind of life we lived, we live me, others, all of us, in Istanbul, Turkey. I write because I love the smell of paper and ink. I write because I believe above all in literature, the art of the novel. I write because it is a habit and a passion. I write because I am afraid of being forgotten. I write because I like the glory and interest that it brings. I write to be alone. I write in the hope to understand why I am so angry with you all, with everyone. I write because I like to read. I write telling me that I have to finish this novel, this page that I started. I write telling me that that is what everyone expects from me. I write because I feel like a child in the immortality of libraries and instead what will my books. I write because life, the world, everything is incredibly beautiful and amazing. I write because it is fun to translate word in all this beauty and richness of life. I write not to tell stories, but to construct stories. I write to escape the feeling of not being able to reach a place where people aspire, as in dreams. I write because I can not be happy, whatever I do. I write to be happy. A week after dropping the bag in my office, my father visited me again, as usual with a bar of chocolate (he forgot that I had forty-eight years). As usual we talked about life, politics, family gossip and we laughed. At one point, my father raised his eyes where he had left the bag, and he understood that I had removed. Our eyes are crossed. There was an embarrassed silence. I do not tell him that I opened the bag and tried to read the contents. I looked away. But he understood. And I understood that he had understood. And he understood that I understood that he had understood. This kind of inter lasts only time it lasts. Because my father was a man self-confident, comfortable and happy with himself. He laughed as usual, and partly, he again repeated, as a father, the gentle words of encouragement he always told me. As usual, I watched him leave, envying his happiness, his quiet, but I remember that day I felt in me a thrill embarrassing happiness. I’m perhaps not as comfortable as him, I did not lead a happy life without problems like him, but I, as you understood to writing up … J ‘was ashamed to be this to my father. Moreover my father far from being a center, left me free of my life. All this should remind us that writing and literature are intimately linked to a lack at the center of our life, happiness and guilt. But my story has another symmetry, which inspired me even more guilt, which I remembered that day. Twenty-three years ago, when I was twenty-two years, I decided to leave everything and become a novelist, I was locked in a room, and four years later, I finished my first novel, Mr Djevdet and his son, and I handed the trembling hands, a typed copy of the book not yet published, my father, so that he could read and tell me what he thought. Getting approval for me was important not only because I was counting on his taste and his intellect, but also because unlike my mother, my father did not object to what I become a writer. At that point, my father was not with us. It was far. I waited impatiently for his return. When he arrived two weeks later, I ran to open the door. My father said nothing, but he took me in these arms, embraced in a way that I understood that he loved my book. For some time we remained silent, uncomfortable, as it happens in moments of excessive sentimentality. When a little later we have a little more comfortable, and began to cause my father expressed in a way overly excited and exaggerated words, its confidence in me, and my first book, and he said a day that I would receive this award, now that I would accept with much happiness. He told me it less out of conviction or with the intention of m’assigner a goal, as a Turkish father said his son, to encourage “You will be a pasha.” And he repeated these words for years, whenever he saw me, for giving me courage. My father died in December 2002. Members of the Swedish Academy that awarded me this great price, this honor, and their distinguished guests, I would have loved that my father is with us today.


o Castelo Branco

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