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Once Resented, Pamuk Takes Solace in Nobel

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Once Resented, Pamuk Takes Solace in Nobel

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Once Resented, Pamuk Takes Solace in Nobel

Once Resented, Pamuk Takes Solace in Nobel

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For Turkish novelist Orhan Pamuk, winning the 2006 Nobel Prize for Literature completes a turnaround from his being tried on charges of "insulting Turkishness." The charges against Pamuk, Turkey's most internationally renowned novelist, were eventually dropped.

That episode was far from his mind Thursday, when the author said he felt his culture, his hometown of Istanbul, and his art had been recognized. "This is not a day for politics for me," Pamuk said.

But some of the reaction among Turks today has mixed pride in the recognition of a Turkish writer with some lingering resentment of Pamuk's remarks about Turkey's Armenian genocide.

Robert Siegel talks to Pamuk.

Turkish Writer Wins 2006 Nobel Literature Prize

Turkish Writer Wins 2006 Nobel Literature Prize

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Turkish novelist Orhan Pamuk poses in front of a poster showing himself during Frankfurt's international book fair in 2005. Torsten Silz/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption Torsten Silz/AFP/Getty Images

Turkish novelist Orhan Pamuk poses in front of a poster showing himself during Frankfurt's international book fair in 2005.

Torsten Silz/AFP/Getty Images

Later Today

On All Things Considered, Orhan Pamuk talks to Robert Siegel about his work and winning the Nobel Prize. In the excerpt below, Pamuk discusses Turkey's move toward the West.

Listen to Pamuk

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Scroll down to read an excerpt from Pamuk's novel Snow.

Orhan Pamuk on NPR

Interviews with the Author

Pamuk Discusses Writing on the 'Periphery' with Robert Siegel (1995)

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News and Reviews

The winner of the 2006 Nobel Prize in Literature is Turkish writer Orhan Pamuk. He's best known in this country for his novels My Name Is Red and Snow.

Orhan Pamuk was already an internationally acclaimed writer when his government accused him of "insulting Turkishness."

"I just made a statement about one of our great taboos: what happened to the Ottoman Empire's Armenians in 1915," Pamuk told NPR in 2005. "This is a taboo we still cannot discuss."

A seemingly offhand comment the author made to a Swiss newspaper resulted in charges that could have led up to three years in prison. The charges were later dropped.

Pamuk is no stranger to controversy. He's defended fellow Turkish writers, and Salman Rushdie after the publication of The Satanic Verses.

Pamuk's novels are bestsellers in his homeland. And he's admired worldwide for his delicate explorations of East-West relations.

The Swedish Academy said that, in the quest for the melancholic soul of his native city of Instanbul, Pamuk has discovered new symbols for the clash and interlacing of cultures.

"This glorious imperial city [Istanbul] went into ruins," Pamuk said. "I spent my childhood in those ruins, and I wrote about how beautiful it is."

Pamuk has said he's always seen himself as a novelist, rather than a social commentator, someone comfortable transposing the real and the fantastic.

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