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Turkish Writer Pamuk to Give Reading

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April 18, 2006 | by Wendy Leopold

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Turkish novelist Orhan Pamuk -- whose books have been translated into more than 20 languages and who recently was on trial for “insulting Turkish identity” -- will read from his works Monday, April 24, at Northwestern University. The free, public event will take place at 6 p.m. at McCormick Tribune Center Forum, 1870 Campus Drive, Evanston campus.

Pamuk, author of “My Name is Red,” “Snow” and “Istanbul: Memories and the City,” will be visiting the United States to participate in an international literature festival sponsored by the literary and human rights organization International PEN. Pamuk’s visit will be his first to this country since being charged of “insulting Turkish identity.”

The charges resulted from a comment Pamuk made about Turkey’s refusal to discuss the assassination of a million Armenians that took place in the early 20th century and of 30,000 Kurds in the last two decades. Though it is generally believed that the Turks killed a million Armenians during the First World War, the topic of genocide still remains off-limits and responsibility for the deaths denied by Turkish officials. The criminal charges against Pamuk were dropped this year.

By far Turkey’s most popular living writer of fiction, the 53-year-old novelist and life-long citizen of Istanbul is author of at least seven books published worldwide. After his historical novel “Beyaz Kale” won the 1990 Independent Award for Foreign Fiction, The New York Times Book Review referred to Pamuk as “a new star risen in the east.”

“Snow” -- Pamuk’s novel about a Turkish poet in political exile with first-hand experience of the clash between radical Islam and the West -- was named by The New York Times as one of the best books of 2004.

Pamuk’s reading, sponsored by Northwestern’s Center for International and Comparative Studies as a part of the Modern Turkish Studies Speaker Series, is made possible by a generous gift from the Keyman family. For more information, call (847) 467-1152.