Turkish Novelist Orhan Pamuk Receives Nobel Prize in Literature
TWIG - Novelist Orhan Pamuk won the Nobel literature prize on Thursday for poetically pushing the cross-cultural envelope in internationally acclaimed works set in his native Turkey.
The Swedish Academy hailed lifelong Istanbul resident Pamuk as a great literary figure "who in the quest for the melancholic soul of his native city has discovered new symbols for the clash and interlacing of cultures".
Pamuk also has a special relationship with Germany, which has more than two million Turkish immigrants. Last year, the Frankfurt Book Fair awarded the author Germanys most prestigious book award - the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade, an honor bestowed this year upon German sociologist Wolf Lepenies.
German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier in a statement on Thursday praised the writer thusly: "In his works Pamuk connects the culture of the European novel with the mystical-oriental tradition of storytelling. He interweaves the rich oriental tradition of his country with current political and societal questions."
"But Orhan Pamuk is not just a Brückenbauer (builder of bridges) between literary styles and eras, he is also a Brückenbauer between the Orient and Occident, between Turkey and Europe. In this role he is making the case for Turkish accession to the European Union. I was particularly impressed by his decisive plea at the awards ceremony for the Peace Prize last year," Steinmeier added.
Beyond his bestselling books, he moreover also received the Nobel prize in recognition of his international status as an eloquent and outspoken activist for the freedom of expression. "The selection of Pamuk, whose recent trial for insulting Turkishness made headlines worldwide, continues a trend among Nobel judges of picking writers in conflict with their own governments," the Associated Press reported on Thursday.
Cem Özdemir, a German member of the Green Party in the European Parliament and a prominent politician, writer and commentator in Germany with Turkish roots, in a statement moreover suggested that the Turkish government consider rescinding the law under which Pamuk was tried.
"I hope that this happy occasion will provide an impetus for Turkey to finally delete the controversial paragraph 301 from its criminal code, with which Orhan was threatened," said Özdemir, adding that Pamuk "has always unwaveringly engaged himself for freedom of expression and an open and honest approach to conflicts and taboos in Turkey".
"This prize honors one of the most exceptional representatives of a very lively cultural scene in a country that is undergoing dramatic change," said Özdemir. "We need such mediators between cultures more than ever today."
Pamuk, 54, who was once set on becoming a painter, grew up
in a prosperous, secular middle-class Istanbul family. His works, which
include the novels "My Name is Red" and "Snow", have been translated into 35
languages and published in over 100 countries.
Links:More about Pamuk (Nobel Prize website) The Peace Prize of the German Book Trade
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