Turkey's Orhan Pamuk wins Nobel literature prize

12th October 2006, Comments 0 comments

12 October 2006, Stockholm (dpa) - Turkish writer Orhan Pamuk won the Nobel Prize for Literature on Thursday, the Swedish Academy announced, paying tribute to the renowned author's exploration of identity, both individual and national. Pamuk himself said he was "very happy and honoured" to be selected, in a telephone interview from New York, the online edition of Stockholm daily Svenska Daagbladet reported. "I will try to recover from the shock," he added, saying he planned to attend the December 10 award

12 October 2006

Stockholm (dpa) - Turkish writer Orhan Pamuk won the Nobel Prize for Literature on Thursday, the Swedish Academy announced, paying tribute to the renowned author's exploration of identity, both individual and national.

Pamuk himself said he was "very happy and honoured" to be selected, in a telephone interview from New York, the online edition of Stockholm daily Svenska Daagbladet reported.

"I will try to recover from the shock," he added, saying he planned to attend the December 10 award ceremony.

In its citation, the academy said Pamuk, who lives and works in Istanbul, "in the quest for the melancholic soul of his native city has discovered new symbols for the clash and interlacing of cultures."

Pamuk,54, was born in Istanbul into a well-off family. After studies at Robert College in his native city where he planned to become an artist, he studied architecture and journalism.

From 1985-1988 he was at Columbia University in New York and also briefly at the University of Iowa.

Pamuk's literary debut came in 1982 with the publication of Cevdet Bey and His Sons, a family saga spanning three generations similar to 1929 German laureate Thomas Mann's Buddenbrooks, the academy said.

However, Pamuk's international breakthrough came a decade later with the English translation of The White Castle, set in 16th century Istanbul.

The academy also noted that Pamuk became well known for condemning the fatwa issued against Salman Rushdie, his defence of Kurdish author Yasar Kemal in the mid-1990s, and most recently for mentioning the charged subject of the massacre of a million Armenians and 30,000 Kurds by Ottoman forces during the First World War.

Pamuk's interview on the massacre with a Swiss newspaper led to a highly mediatized prosecution on charges of "insulting Turkishness" but the case was later dropped after international protests.

Swedish Academy Permanent Secretary Horace Engdahl told reporters that among Pamuk's works he held as a personal favourite and recommended The Black Book, published in Turkish as Kara Kitap in 1990.

The book describes a man seaching for his wife and her half- brother who have vanished, and triggered a debate in Turkey since the book also discussed Sufism, a mystical strand of Islam.

Another book, recently out in Swedish and English, mentioned by Engdahl was Istanbul: Memories and the City - published in Turkish in 2003. Pamuk's personal memories are mixed with the city's.

Engdahl also noted Pamuk had an ability to use and mix the stories of the Orient with Western literary traditions.

Another book Engdal lauded was Pamuk's most recent novel, Snow, which describes political and religious conflicts in contemporary Turkey. "It is one of finest political thrillers in modern literature," Engdahl said.

The literature prize is one of the Nobel Prizes endowed by Swedish industrialist and dynamite inventor Alfred Nobel. The prizes worth 10 million kronor (1.37 million dollars) are presented on December 10, the anniversary of his death.

Americans have otherwise dominated this year's awards. Last week, Andrew Fire and Craig Mello were awarded the medicine prize, fellow Americans John Mather and George Smoot shared the physics prize and Roger Kornberg was awarded the chemistry prize.

New York-based professor Edmund Phelps of Columbia University on Monday improved the US record when he was awarded the economics prize, a prize that was not mentioned in Nobel's will.

Last year the literature prize went to British playwright Harold Pinter.

The winner of the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize was to be announced Friday in Oslo, Norway.

DPA

Subject: German news

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