Friday, October 13, 2006

It's Pamuk!

Congratulations to Orhan Pamuk who has won the 2006 Nobel Prize for Literature. It's a choice I doubt anyone can be unhappy with: Pamuk has both the literary and political credentials.

His highly acclaimed books include Istanbul: Memories and the City part memoir , part tribute to the city, and novels Snow, My Name is Red, The New Life, The Black Book, The White Castle.

In January this year, a Turkish court dropped charges against Pamuk who had been accused of “blatantly belittling Turkishness” over an interview that he gave to a Swiss newspaper in February 2005. The statement that caused the stir:
Thirty thousand Kurds and one million Armenians were killed in Turkey. Almost no one dares to speak out on this but me.
He was referring to the killings by Ottoman Empire forces of thousands of Armenians in 1915-17, and called them "genocide", a charge that the Turkish authorities deny. Pamuk faced up to three years in jail. Now that's courage.

Opinion on Pamuk's win in Turkey is apparently very divided, the Herald Tribune reports. It also quotes EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn, who has been pressing Turkey to scrap the law that took Pamuk to trial. He recalls a conversation he had with Pamuk in Istanbul last year.
I asked him what best I could wish him. He replied: 'That I can write books again and free my mind from all this harassment. I'm a novelist.'
Rehn continues:
Today's Nobel Prize is good news for world literature, but also good news for artistic freedom and for freedom of expression in particular. It is good news for all those who want to speak, search, learn the truth, pursue dialogue, exchange thoughts and knowledge, not just in Turkey, but everywhere else in Europe and in the world.
For much more on Pamuk, visit his website.


sympozium said...

Orhan juice every day is good for us - all that vitamin C... :-)

Sufian said...

I hope his earlier novels will be translated. And maybe, like The Black Book, The New Life will also be retranslated.

The best Nobel winner since Saramago.

Sham said...

Time for me sink my teeth into his book - purchased it when it was first out and haven't got around to it.

animah said...

Here's to freedom of expression. I look forward to the future Malaysian noble prize winner who can defy our censorship, draconian laws, harassment and political pressure.
So let's get PEN started.
Yam Sayng!! (uttered by a Muslim during the holy month of Ramadhan)

bibliobibuli said...

yes, a toast to mr. pahmuk from across the world

lil ms d said...

ehhhhe's cute.

animah, sharon, see ming, let's us girls meet up to organise the first PEN session. only women can get things done lah! if we keep on waiting for the rest our teeth will fall out.