‘My Name is Red,’ ‘The Museum of Innocence,’ and ‘Snow,’ among other works, created a position in the literary world and earned Orhan Pamuk the Nobel Prize for Literature. Pamuk, among many other great Turkish writers, became the first author to sell over eleven million books in over sixty languages and to obtain the highest literary honor. Not only has he left an indelible influence on his compatriots, but his books, which reflect his mystical beliefs and rich Turkish history, have also had an impact around the world. He is currently a professor in the University of Columbia’s Humanities Department and has recently become involved in the postmodern literature movement. His brilliant career, however, was not without snares and dangers. He was put on trial for voicing his views on the Armenian Genocide, which resulted in the burning of many of his writings and publications, as well as multiple assassination attempts. In his native Turkey, he is a controversial figure who appears to have a desire to reveal the deterioration of Turkish culture by openly agitating subjects such as ethnicity, history, race, and other components that are deemed offensive in Turkey.
Childhood and Adolescence
Orhan Pamuk was born and reared in a privileged household in Istanbul. He attended Robert College secondary school before going on to Istanbul Technical University to study architecture.
He dropped out of architecture school after three years and focused his efforts on literature. After that, he went to the University of Istanbul’s Institute of Journalism, where he graduated in 1976. While living with his mother, he began writing his first novel, ‘Darkness and Light.’
Career of Orhan Pamuk
His first work, ‘Darkness and Light,’ won the 1979 Milliyet Press Novel Contest alongside Mehmet Eroglu as a co-winner. For his early work, he received a lot of critical awards, which encouraged him to continue writing.
In 1985, he published the historical novel ‘The White Castle,’ which won multiple honors. Around this time, his reputation began to skyrocket, and it began to spread beyond Turkey’s borders.
He wrote ‘The Black Book’ in 1990, which became one of the most popular yet divisive books of the period. Following the popularity of the novel, he went on to create the screenplay for the film adaptation of the novel, ‘Secret Face.’ Pamuk had already established himself as a well-known figure in Turkey at this point.
In 1995, he published ‘Other Colors,’ a collection of essays that cemented his international reputation. With the publishing of ‘My Name is Red,’ which is also regarded one of his greatest works, it soared even higher.
Pamuk’s fame grew with each book he published, and with the publication of ‘Snow’ in 2002, it grew even more. Around this time, he began dabbling in memoirs and travelogues, and in 2005, he published ‘Istanbul-Memories and the City.’
He was charged in 2005 for making a comment on the Armenian Genocide. Angry demonstrators and big mobs threatened to kill him, and several of his works were burned, despite the charges being dropped on January 22, 2006.
He was invited to be a member of the Cannes Film Festival jury in 2007.
He finished his novel The Museum of Innocence in 2008, which was his first work since winning the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2006.
He moved to the United States in 2008 to teach comparative literature at Columbia University. Around the same period, he was a writer-in-residence at Bard College.
Despite the case being withdrawn, Pamuk was found guilty of insulting his people’s and Armenian people’s honor when he made comments on the Armenian Genocide, and had to pay a fine of 6,000 liras on March 27, 2011.
Despite being praised and vilified in Turkey for his work, he continued to write and maintained a global following through his books.
Major Projects of Orhan Pamuk
Pamuk’s best-selling novel, ‘Yeni Hayat,’ was published in 1994 and was translated as ‘The New Life’ in English. It was hailed as one of his most “poignant” works, selling more than 2,00,000 copies in its first week.
‘My Name is Red,’ set in 16th century Istanbul, is a combination of mystery, romance, and philosophy. The book has been translated into three other languages and has received a number of prestigious awards.
Achievements & Awards
In 2003, Orhan Pamuk received the prestigious “International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award.”
He won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2006.
In 2012, he received the Sonning Prize for his literary accomplishments.
Personal History and Legacy
He married historian Aylin Turegun on March 1, 1982, and they have a daughter, Ruya. Their marriage, however, ended in divorce in 2001.
In 2010, he made it known that he was dating Kiran Desai, the winner of the Man Booker Prize.
Estimated Net Worth
Orhan Pamuk is one of the wealthiest novelists and one of the most well-known. Orhan Pamuk’s net worth is estimated to be $1.5 million, according to Wikipedia, Forbes, and Business Insider.
Sevket, the elder brother of this award-winning Turkish novelist, frequently appears as a fictional character in his writings.