German Book Trade to Honor Outspoken Turkish Author

FRANKFURT (AFP)–Turkish novelist Orhan Pamuk will receive the German book trade’s prestigious peace prize this year–the German Publishers and Booksellers Association announced on June 23.

Pamuk is to accept the 25,000-euro ($30,400) award at the Frankfurt Book Fair–the world’s largest literary venue–on October 23.

Announcing its decision–the prize jury said Pamuk had a unique ability to bridge cultures. "In Orhan Pamuk–we are honoring an author–who like no other writer of our time–explores the historical footprints of the West in the East and the East in the West," it said.

"He is committed to a concept of culture based on knowledge and respect for others. Pamuk has created a genre in which Europe and Islamic Turkey co-exist."

Pamuk is no stranger to political controversy. Earlier this year–he angered nationalists in Turkey by publicly addressing the highly sensitive subject of the genocide of Armenia’s in World War I.

In an interview with a Swiss newspaper–he said that "30,000 Kurds and one million Armenia’s were killed in Turkey." One local official ordered the seizure and destruction of his works.

Pamuk–who lives in Istanbul–is known internationally for novels such as "My Name is Red,"The New Life,"The White Castle,"The Black Book," and most recently "Snow." His works have been translated into 20 languages.

Set in 16th century Istanbul in the reign of Ottoman Sultan Murat III–"My Name is Red" is a meditation on tensions between East and West.

The Peace Prize is one of the highest distinctions in German literature. It is presented each year by the Association of German Publishers and Booksellers at the close of the Frankfurt Book Fair.

Past winners of the prize–now in its 56th year–include the late US writer Susan Sontag and Hungarian novelist Peter Esterhazy.


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