Monday, May 12, 2008

Pamuk wins Nobel Literature prize

Turkish writer Orhan Pamuk has won the 2006 Nobel Prize in Literature.

Pamuk, 54, has gained a reputation for tackling controversial issues through his novels and has faced legal action in his homeland.

Awarded by the Swedish Academy, the Literature Prize comes with a cheque for 10m kronor (£740,000).

The Academy said: "In the quest for the melancholic soul of his native city, (Pamuk) has discovered new symbols for the clash and interlacing of cultures."
It added: "Pamuk has said that growing up, he experienced a shift from a traditional Ottoman family environment to a more Western-oriented lifestyle.
"He wrote about this in his first published novel, a family chronicle... which in the spirit of Thomas Mann follows the development of a family over three generations."

He has published six books in English, the first of these being The White Castle, primarily a historical novel set in 17th-century Istanbul, but also about how stories and fictions build self-perception.

He has faced prosecution for talking about the murder of hundreds of thousands of Armenians in Turkey during World War I and thousands of Kurds in subsequent years.

Under a 2005 law it is illegal for anyone to insult Turks, the republic or Turkish Grand National Assembly.

The charges have since been dropped.

Last year's winner was British playwright Harold Pinter, a vociferous critic of US foreign policy. That award triggered accusations that the Swedish Academy was anti-American, left-leaning and politically motivated.

The prize is awarded to "the person who shall have produced in the field of literature the most outstanding work of an idealistic tendency".

It is given to recognise a body of work, rather than an individual book.

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