Orhan Pamuk, Nobel Prize in Literature 2006

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Orhan Pamuk, Nobel Prize in Literature 2006

Birthdate: (64)
Birthplace: Istanbul, Türkiye
Immediate Family:

Son of Gunduz Bey Pamuk and <private> Pamuk (Basman)
Ex-husband of <private> Pamuk (Türegün)
Partner of <private> Desai
Father of <private> Pamuk
Brother of <private> Pamuk

Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

    • <private> Pamuk (Türegün)
    • <private> Pamuk
    • <private> Desai
    • <private> Pamuk (Basman)
    • <private> Pamuk

About Orhan Pamuk, Nobel Prize in Literature 2006

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 eleven million books in sixty 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.

The European Writers' Parliament came from a proposal by Pamuk and José Saramago.


Pamuk was born in Istanbul in 1952 and grew up in a wealthy yet declining upper class family; an experience he describes in passing in his novels The Black Book and Cevdet Bey and His Sons, as well as more thoroughly in his personal memoir Istanbul. He was educated at Robert College secondary school in Istanbul and went on to study architecture at the Istanbul Technical University since it was related to his real dream career, painting. He left the architecture school after three years, however, to become a full-time writer, and graduated from the Institute of Journalism at the University of Istanbul in 1976. From ages 22 to 30, Pamuk lived with his mother, writing his first novel and attempting to find a publisher. He describes himself as a Cultural Muslim who associates the historical and cultural identification with the religion while not believing in a personal connection to God.

On 1 March 1982, Pamuk married Aylin Türegün, a historian. From 1985 to 1988, while his wife was a graduate student at Columbia University, Pamuk assumed the position of visiting scholar there, using the time to conduct research and write his novel The Black Book in the university's Butler Library. This period also included a visiting fellowship at the University of Iowa.

Pamuk returned to Istanbul, a city to which he is strongly attached. He and his wife had a daughter named Rüya born in 1991, whose name means "dream" in Turkish. In 2001, he and Aylin were divorced.

In 2006, Pamuk returned to the U.S. to take a position as a visiting professor at Columbia, where he was a Fellow with Columbia's Committee on Global Thought and held an appointment in Columbia's Middle East and Asian Languages and Cultures department and at its School of the Arts. In the 2007–2008 academic year Pamuk returned to Columbia to jointly teach comparative literature classes with Andreas Huyssen and David Damrosch. Pamuk was also a writer-in-residence at Bard College.

In May 2007, Pamuk was among the jury members at the Cannes Film Festival headed by British director Stephen Frears. He completed his latest novel, Masumiyet Müzesi (The Museum of Innocence) in the summer of 2008. Pamuk held an actual Museum of Innocence, consisting of everyday odds and ends the writer has amassed, at an Istanbul house he purchased.

In autumn 2009, Pamuk was Harvard's Charles Eliot Norton Lecturer, delivering a series of lectures entitled "The Naive and Sentimental Novelist". In January 2010, Pamuk admitted that he was in a relationship with the Man Booker Prize winning novelist, Kiran Desai.

Pamuk's elder brother Şevket Pamuk, who sometimes appears as a fictional character in Orhan Pamuk's work, is a professor of economics, internationally recognized for his work in history of economics of the Ottoman Empire, working at Bogazici University in Istanbul. Pamuk also has a younger half-sister Hümeyra Pamuk, who is a journalist.

See also: "Orhan Pamuk - Photo Gallery". Nobelprize.org.

Nobel Prize Laureate, Orhan Pamuk. 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.

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.

Background and Bio

Pamuk's grandparents on father's side resettle during the 1850-1860's Caucasian emigration in the Gordes community of the Turkish town of Manisa. During these years, they are considered one of the major families of the Gordes community, as many of the family members get key positions in the political life of the community. Describing his father's side, Pamuk uses the definition "turkized Circassians" . In the 1890's, the family moves first to Izmir, and later on to Istanbul.

Pamuk's roots on maternal side start from the island of Crete. Pamuk's mother was one of the great-grandchildren of "Captan Deryae" ("Captain of Seas") Ibrahim Pasha, the Governor of Crete in the 1870's. In the early twentieth century, their family moves to Istanbul as well.

In 1949, Gunduz Bey, Pamuk's father, and Sekure Hanum, Pamuk's mother, get acquainted and decide to get married. Narrating the story of his life, Pamuk always mentions that Movie Theater is of big importance in his life because his parents fell in love with each other in an Istanbul movie theater. Sevket, their first child, was born in 1950, and Orhan in 1952.

A big crisis happens to Pamuk's family when Orhan's grandfather dies. Orhan tells: "My grandfather' s death had a big impact on my family, especially on my childhood ... My father and uncle began to make investments, to take part in auctions unconsciously, as a result of which they suffered heavy material losses. Most of my souvenirs of childhood are connected with my grandmother. Tears always appeared in her eyes when another piece of our real property was sold. She was too afraid of our being reduced to poverty and bankruptcy. We were not bankrupt but we were ruined materially. As a matter of fact, with my grandfather' s death the existence of our financial mechanism ceased as well.

During these years, my father escaped to Paris, leaving us. After returning to Istanbul, he worked at many major companies like IBM, AYGAZ, and KOC HOLDING, occupying leading positions. Later on, he established contacts with the HALK PARTISI (People's Party). Close relations started between our family and that party, and the reason of it was very plain, as our family was getting rich again ...".

During the years of his education, Pamuk makes the impression of a lazy, joky, playful pupil on everybody. As early as from the age of 6-7, Orhan begins drawing, and continues it until he becomes 22.

After graduating from Robert College, the first American college in Istanbul, he enters Istanbul Technical University with the intention to become an engineer like his father and grandfather. Completing the third year in 1970, he leaves the university voluntarily, realizing that he should be engaged in other things.

Not willing to serve in the army, he applies for the Department of Journalism of Istanbul University. Graduating from the university in 1977, he applies for Master's Degree, for the same purpose.

At the age of 22, Pamuk decides to become a novelist and stops drawing. During the last years of his education at the college big changes take place in his life. He begins to keep away from his friends many of them are from families belonging to the upper stratum of the Turkish society. The Turkish writer describes the years of his youth as follows:

 "I began forming my individual world, and now I think that it was conditioned by my family problems, too. Idle talks, quarrels took place at home endlessly, and I was affected by the ongoing events. Although the situation is about the same in 70-80 per cent of the Turkish families, my parents did not endure and from 1972 they began living separately, for getting divorced formally in 1978. In 

1989 my father married again. In these years I lived with my mother because my father was in the USA. Those were the first years when I started out to write my first novel.

During that period my mother did no attempt to understand me. Imagine that you are writing a novel, and it is the sense of your life, the only aim in your existence. During that hard work they assure you that it is simply an absurd thing and no reasonable man would gain any profit of it. In other words, those were hard years, one can say my father was more tolerant, and his approach was more positive as compared with my mother's.

There were many things that might have induced me to write. For example, I have never had the girlfriend I would like. I was not able to attract the attention of girls, nobody took notice of me in my family as well. Because all of this I wanted to write and show who I was..."

sent to Radio Adiga by Altud Muk http://www.radioadiga.com/ClosedIndex/artikkk.php?ind=200''

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Orhan Pamuk, Nobel Prize in Literature 2006's Timeline

June 7, 1952
Istanbul, Türkiye