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SELECTION OF TURKISH WRITERS

 Ferit Orhan PAMUK

– Contemporary Turkish Author -

Ferit Orhan Pamuk (born 7 June 1952), generally known simply as Orhan Pamuk, is a Turkish novelist. He is also the Robert Yik-Fong Tam Professor in the Humanities at Columbia University, where he teaches comparative literature and writing.
One of Turkey's most prominent novelists, his work has sold over seven million books in more than fifty languages, making him the country's best-selling writer. Pamuk is the recipient of numerous literary awards, including the Nobel Prize in Literature 2006, the first Nobel Prize to be awarded to a Turkish citizen.
His Works in English :

  1. The White Castle, translated by Victoria Holbrook, Manchester (UK): Carcanet Press Limited, 1990;, 1991; New York: George Braziller, 1991 [original title: Beyaz Kale]
  2. The Black Book, translated by Güneli Gün, New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1994 [original title: Kara Kitap]. (A new translation by Maureen Freely was published in 2006)
  3. The New Life, translated by Güneli Gün, New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1997 [original title: Yeni Hayat]
  4. My Name is Red, translated by Erdağ M. Göknar, New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2001 [original title: Benim Adım Kırmızı].
  5. Snow, translated by Maureen Freely, New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004 [original title: Kar]
  6. Istanbul: Memories and the City‎, translated by Maureen Freely, New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2005 [original title: İstanbul: Hatıralar ve Şehir]
  7. Other Colors: Essays and a Story, translated by Maureen Freely, New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2007 [original title: Öteki Renkler][46]
  8. The Museum of Innocence, translated by Maureen Freely, New York: Alfred A. Knopf, was released on Oct 20, 2009 [original title: Masumiyet Müzesi]
  9. The Naive and Sentimental Novelist, Harvard University Press, 2010


 

Nâzım Hikmet RAN

– Contemporary Turkish Writer, Playwright, Poet and Novelist-

Nâzım Hikmet Ran was born on January 17, 1902 in Salonica, Ottoman Empire (present-day Thessaloniki) and died on June 3, 1963 in Moscow, former the Union of Soviet Socialis Republics. Commonly known as Nâzım Hikmet was one of the best contemporary Turkish poet, playwright, novelist and memoirist. He was acclaimed for the "lyrical flow of his statements". Described as a "romantic communist" and "romantic reformist", he was repeatedly arrested for his political beliefs and spent much of his adult life in prison or in exile. His poetry has been translated into more than fifty languages.
Style and achievements :
Despite writing his first poems in syllabic meter, Nazım Hikmet distinguished himself from the "syllabic poets" in concept. With the development of his poetic conception, the narrow forms of syllabic verse became too limiting for his style and he set out to seek new forms for his poems.
He was affected by the young Soviet poets who advocated Futurism. On his return to Turkey, he became the charismatic leader of the Turkish avant-garde, producing streams of innovative poems, plays and film scripts.[4] Breaking the boundaries of the syllabic meter, he changed his form and preferred writing in free verse which harmonised with the rich vocal properties of the Turkish language.
He has been compared by Turkish and non-Turkish men of letters to such figures as Federico García Lorca, Louis Aragon, Mayakovsky and Pablo Neruda. Although his work bears resemblance to these poets and owes them occasional debts of form and stylistic device, his literary personality is unique in terms of the synthesis he made of iconoclasms and lyricism, of ideology and poetic diction.[3]:19
Many of his poems have been adapted into songs by the composer Zülfü Livaneli. A part of his work has been translated into Greek by Yiannis Ritsos, and some of these translations have been arranged by the Greek composers Manos Loizos and Thanos Mikroutsikos.

Partial list of translated works in English :

  1. The Selected Poems of Nazim Hikmet, London: Cape Editions, Jonathan Cape, c. 1970.
  2. The day before tomorrow, poems / done into English by Taner Baybars. South Hinksey, England : Carcanet Press, 1972. ISBN 0902145436
  3. Human landscapes / by Nazim Hikmet ; translated by Randy Blasing and Mutlu Konuk ; foreword by Denise Levertov, New York : Persea Books, c1982. ISBN 0892550686
  4. Beyond the walls : selected poems / Nâzim Hikmet ; translated by Ruth Christie, Richard McKane, Talât Sait Halman ; introduction by Talât Sait Halman, London : Anvil Press Poetry, 2002. ISBN 0856463299
  5. Selected poetry / Nazim Hikmet ; translated by Randy Blasing and Mutlu Konuk, New York : Persea Books, c1986. ISBN 0892551011
  6. Nâzım Hikmet, That Wall / illustrations [by] Maureen Scott, London : League of Socialist Artists, [1973]. ISBN 0950297623


A Sample form One of His Well Known Poems :
 
Davet (Turkish Version)        Invitation       
Dörtnala gelip Uzak Asya'dan        Galloping from the Far East       
Akdeniz'e bir kısrak başı gibi uzanan        reaching to the Mediterranean like a mare head       
                  bu memleket bizim.                              this land is ours.       
               
Bilekler kan içinde, dişler kenetli, ayaklar çıplak        Wrists in blood, teeth clenched, feet bare       
ve ipek bir halıya benzeyen toprak,        and like a silk carpet this land,       
     bu cehennem, bu cennet bizim.                   this hell, this heaven is ours.       
               
Kapansın el kapıları, bir daha açılmasın,        Let the alien doors be closed, let them not open again,       
yok edin insanın insana kulluğunu,        abolish man's servitude to man,       
                          bu dâvet bizim.                             this invitation is ours.       
               
Yaşamak bir ağaç gibi tek ve hür        To live like a tree in solitude and free       
ve bir orman gibi kardeşçesine,        and like a forest in solidarity,       
                           bu hasret bizim.                              this yearning is ours.    

 

Orhan KEMAL

 

Contemporary Turkish Author, Novelist, Story Writer, Playwright

Orhan Kemal was born on 15 September 1914 in Ceyhan, Adana and died on 2 June 1970 in Sofia, Bulgaria. “Orhan Kemal”  is the pen name of Turkish novelist Mehmet Raşit Öğütçü. He is known for his realist novels that tells the stories of the poor in Turkey. After his death, a prestigious literary award was established in his name, the Orhan Kemal Novel Prize since 1972.

He is the son of Abdülkadir Kemali Bey, who was a Member of Parliament and Minister, and Azime Hanım, who was an intellectual secondary school graduate.

Kemal’s first poem was published in Yedigün under the name of Raşit Kemal (Duvarlar 25.04.1939) Further poems written under the same pen name are in Yedigün (7 Days) and Yeni Mecmua (New Magazine) in 1940. On meeting Nazım Hikmet, Kemal wrote under the name of “Orhan Raşit” in Yeni Edebiyat (New Literature) in 1941. Impressed by Nazım Hikmet, Kemal concentrated on stories as opposed to poems. His first story, “Bir Yılbaşı Macerası” (A New Year Adventure), being published in 1941. In 1942, he adopted the name Orhan Kemal when writing stories and poems in Yürüyüş (Walking). He found fame through stories in Varlık (Asset) in 1944, his first collection of short stories “Ekmek Kavgası” (A Fight for Bread), and first novel “Baba Evi” (My Fathers’ House), was published in 1949. Early works depicted characters form the immigrant quarters of Adana, Kemal described the social structure, worker employer relationships and the daily struggles of petty people from industrialised Turkey. He aimed to present an optimistic view through the heros of his stories. He never changed his simple exposition and thus became one of the most skilful names of Turkish stories and novels. He also wrote film scripts and a play called “İspinozlar” (Finches). Dramatisations have been made of “72.Koğuş” (The 72th Ward), “Murtaza” (Murtaza), “Eskici Dükkanı” (the Flea Market), “Kardeş Payı” (Brother’s Right), “Cemile”  (Gemile), Nazım Hikmet’le 3,5 Yıl” (In Jail with Nazım Hikmet), “Avare Yıllar” (The Idle Years).

 

Yaşar KEMAL

 

Contemporary Turkish Author, Novelist, Story Writer, Playwright

Yaşar Kemal,  Turkish novelist, journalist, short-story writer, was born in 1922. One of Turkey's most prominent writers, Yasar Kemal draws his ideas from Turkish folklore, cultural traditions, and everyday life. Yasar Kemal's real name is Kemal Sadik Gogceli. He was born in the small village of Hemite (Gokceli) in the province of Adana. His father, while praying in a mosque, was shot dead in front of five-year-old Kemal, and the shock caused a speech impediment until the boy was twelve. He later lost his right eye in an accident. He finished elementary school in 1938, the first person in his village to do so. Kemal moved to Adana (the provincial capital) the same year to continue his education, but had to quit to support himself before he finished the eighth grade. Between 1941 and 1946 he held menial jobs until he became a schoolteacher. During the same period he studied folklore and wrote poems, which were published in several journals.
Kemal was arrested in 1950 for contributing to the organization of a communist party and spent a year in prison. The following year he earned fame as a journalist while working in Istanbul for the newspaper Cumhuriyet. In 1952 Kemal married his closest companion, Thilda, the English translator of his work. He received his first journalism award in 1955 from the Society of Journalists. In the same year Kemal's novel, a tale about a bandit and a folk hero, İnce Memed (Memed, My Hawk), was published and immediately became a national and international success. The book, which had several sequels, depicts a conflict between poor tenant farmers and rural landwoners, the Aghas. This struggle creates a young hero, a kind of mixture of Jesse James and Che Guevara, who becomes a famous outlaw and a legend of South Anatolia. It earned him the Varlık Literature Prize for best novel of the year in Turkey and has been translated into more than twenty-six languages. Kemal's other literary honors include the French Légion d'Honneur, the Prix du Meilleur Livre Étranger, and a spot on the shortlist for the Nobel Prize in literature. In 1962 Kemal became a member of the Workers' Party of Turkey but resigned in 1969. In 1971 he was imprisoned for twenty-six days, then released without being charged. Kemal took an active role in organizing the Writers' Syndicate of Turkey in 1973 and became its first chairperson in 1974.
Kemal is considered Turkey's most influential living writer, who speaks for the persecuted and dispossessed. His novels and short stories, based on epic tales, folk songs, and popular literature, poetically describe the beauty of the Cukurova plain in southern Turkey and life in the countryside and coastal villages. His works include İnce Memed II (They Burn the Thistles), the three-volume Orta Direk (The Wind from the Plain), Yer Demir Gök Bakır (Iron Earth Copper Sky), Ölmez Otu (The Undying Grass), and Yılanı Öldürseler (To Crush the Serpent).

 

Ayşe KULİN

 

- Contemporary Turkish Author, Novelist, Columnist –

Ayşe Kulin, is a Turkish contemporary novelist and columnist was born in 1941 in İstanbul.
Kulin graduated in literature from the American College for Girls in Arnavutköy. She released a collection of short stories titled Güneşe Dön Yüzünü in 1984. A short story from this called Gülizar was made into a film titled Kırık Bebek in 1986, for which she won a screenplay award from the Turkish culture ministry. Kulin worked as a screen writer, cinematographer and producer for many films, television series and advertisements. In 1986, she won the Best Cinematographer Award from the Theatre Writers association for her work in the television series Ayaşlı ve Kiracıları.
In 1996, she wrote a biography of Münir Nureddin Selçuk titled Bir Tatlı Huzur. With a short story called Foto Sabah Resimleri she won the Haldun Taner Short Story Award the same year and the Sait Faik Story Prize the next year. In 1997, she was chosen as the "Writer of the year" by the İstanbul Communication Faculty for her biographical novel Adı Aylin (Aylin), She won the same award the next year for her short story Geniş Zamanlar. In November 1999, she wrote a novel called Sevdalinka about the Bosnian Civil War and in 2000, a biographical novel called Füreyya (Fureyya). In June 2001, she put out a novel titled Köprü (The Bridge) about drama in Turkey's eastern provinces and how they shaped the republic's early history.
In May 2002, Kulin wrote a novel titled Nefes Nefese (The Last Train to Istanbul) about the Turkish diplomats who saved in the lives of Jews during the holocaust in World War 2.
She has married twice, her latest novels Hayat and Huzun describe her life with her spouses, Mehmet Sarper and Eren Kemahlı. Both ended in divorce but she bore 4 sons from the marriages.
Some of Her Works :

  1. Last Train to Istanbul (Turkish title: Nefes Nefese) is a 2002 novel by Turkish writer Ayşe Kulin, which was republished in 2006 by Everest Yayınları in English language translation by John W. Baker. Editions - Last train to Istanbul. Trans: John W. Baker. Istanbul: Everest Yayınları. 2006. ISBN 978-975289327-9.
  2. Aylin (Turkish title: Adı: Aylin) is a 1997 novel by Turkish writer Ayşe Kulin, which was republished in 2007 by Remzi Kitabevi in English language translation by Dara Çolakoğlu. Editions Aylin. Trans: Dara Çolakoğlu. Istanbul: Remzi Kitabevi. 2007. ISBN 978-975141228-7.
  3. Face to Face (Turkish title: Bir Gün) is a 2005 novel by Turkish writer Ayşe Kulin, which was republished in 2008 by Everest Yayınları in English language translation by John W. Baker. Editions Face to Face. Trans: John W. Baker. Istanbul: Everest Yayınları. 2008. ISBN 978-975289531-7.
  4. Farewell (Turkish title: Veda) is a 2008 novel by Turkish writer Ayşe Kulin, which was republished in 2009 by Everest Yayınları in English language translation by Kenneth J. Dakan.  Editions Farewell. Trans: Kenneth J. Dakan. Istanbul: Everest Yayınları. 2009. ISBN 978-975289619-2.

 

Elif ŞAFAK

 

- Contemporary Turkish Author, Novelist –

Elif Şafak , is a Turkish writer who writes in both Turkish and English, was born in 1971 in Strasbourg, France. Her books have been translated into more than thirty languages.
Şafak has published twelve books, seven of which are novels. She writes in both Turkish and English. Her most recent novel, written in English, The Forty Rules of Love, was published in the U.S. in February 2010 and in the UK by Penguin Books in June 2010. Selling more than 550,000 copies it became a record best-seller in Turkey. Şafak is also a best-selling author in Italy, France and Bulgaria.
Şafak's first novel, Pinhan (The Mystic) was awarded the Rumi Prize in 1998, which is given to the best work in mystical literature in Turkey. Her second novel, Şehrin Aynaları (Mirrors of the City), brings together Jewish and Islamic mysticism against a historical setting in the 17th century Mediterranean. Şafak's novel Mahrem (The Gaze), earned her the Union of Turkish Writers' Prize in 2000. Her next novel, Bit Palas (The Flea Palace), was a bestseller in Turkey. The book was followed by Med-Cezir, a non-fiction book of essays on gender, sexuality, mental ghettoes, and literature.
Şafak's first novel to be written in English, The Saint of Incipient Insanities, was published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux in 2004. Her second novel in English, The Bastard of Istanbul, was the bestselling book of 2006 in Turkey. The novel brought Şafak under prosecution but the charges were ultimately dismissed.
In July 2010 Şafak gave a speech at TED Oxford on “The Politics of Fiction”. She talked about the role of literature in helping leap over cultural walls and embrace different experiences and argued that fiction can overcome the limits of identity politics. She said, “knowledge that does not take us beyond is far worse than ignorance”.
Her forthcoming novel is set in London in the 1960s and 70s and concerns the experiences of an immigrant family.
English translations :

  1. The Saint of Incipient Insanities, 368pp, 2004, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, ISBN 037-425-357-9
  2. The Flea Palace (translation of Bit Palas), 260pp, 2005, Marion Boyars, ISBN 071-453-101-4
  3. The Gaze (translation of Mahrem), 252pp, 2006, Marion Boyars, ISBN 0-7145-3121-9
  4. The Bastard of Istanbul, 368pp, 2006, Viking Adult, ISBN 067-003-834-2
  5. The Forty Rules of Love: A Novel of Rumi, 368 pp, 2010, Viking Adult, ISBN 067-002-145-8

 

Serdar ÖZKAN

 

- Contemporary Turkish Author, Novelist –

Serdar Özkan was born in 1975 in Turkey. He graduated from Robert College, and completed his undergraduate degree in Business Administration and Psychology at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania, USA.
Upon completion of his studies, he returned to Turkey and continued his study of Psychology at Istanbul's Bogazici University.

Since 2002, Serdar has been a full-time novelist dedicated to writing novels which unravel the deeper meaning of life's journey. His first novel, The Missing Rose, has been translated into 43 languages and is greatly cherished by readers worldwide.

Ayşe Aslı SANCAR

 

- Turkish Author, Novelist, Columnist –

Ayşe Aslı Sancar Özkan was born in 1944 in Kentucky, the USA. She graduated from Ohio State University, Faculty of Letters, Department of English Language and Literature, and completed her postgraduate degree in the same field at the same university in the USA.
In 1976, she came to Turkey and continued his study of Psychology at Istanbul's Bogazici University.
Since then she has been writing books and writing columns in a Turkish women’s magazine “Kadın ve Aile” (Women and Family) since 1980.