A Conversation With 'ORHAN PAMUK'

A Conversation With 'ORHAN PAMUK'
by Haj Seyd Mammad

Orhan Pamuk was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2006. He is from Turkey.

Following the publishing of his recent book, Other Colors: Essays and a Story, Charlie Rose interviewed him on a variety of subjects. These include the secular government of Turkey, and the role of Islam.

In 2005, after Pamuk made a statement regarding the mass killings of Armenians and Kurds in the Ottoman Empire , a criminal case was opened against him. Rallies were held to burn his books. The charges were dropped on 22 January 2006. Pamuk has subsequently stated his intent was to draw attention to freedom of expression issues.

This is a fascinating interview especially with the recent prosecution of the Prime Minister of Turkey, Mr. Erdogan, with the intent of banning his party, AKP,  and forbidding him from holding public office. The reason behind the prosecution was that Mr. Erdogan and his party had an Islamic Agenda, and that they were trying to undermine the secular government of Turkey. The constitutional court narrowly ruled against that.

Hope you enjoy it:



Recently by Haj Seyd MammadCommentsDate
IRAN - Seven Faces Of A Civilization
Mar 29, 2009
Armstrong: Charter For Compassion
Mar 13, 2009
Trita Parsi interviews Azar Nafisi on her new book
Mar 02, 2009
more from Haj Seyd Mammad
Haj Seyd Mammad

Dear Azarin

by Haj Seyd Mammad on

Orhan Pamuk is truly a Gifted writer. During this interview, you can sense the intensity of his work by just looking at his eyes.

The fact that some Americans do not have the patience to finish his works is perhaps due to the richness that it is inherent within them. He is first and foremost a novelist. I believe that most Americans are perhaps used to just these cookie-cutter novels without a whole lot of depth.  Pamuk's works are full of richness and depth.

In any event, I am really glad that somone from our 'Eastern Tradition' got the recognition that he did. A writer is first and foremost a craftsman. As he very well put it, the 'honing' of one's craft is the number one issue. Once one has mastered it, then one can put it to use  in creating magical work just as a violinist does with his violin in creating great music.

Take care :) - !

Azarin Sadegh

I am reading My name is Red

by Azarin Sadegh on

I just saw this blog...I wonder how I could have missed anything related to Orhan Pamuk! I am totally obsessed with him these days..:-)

I have read Snow, The Black Book, and currently I am reading My name is Red. I am in total admiration and awe, reading his work. The poetry and imagery in his work is phenomenal and his voice amazingly and purely unique.

I am sure most Iranian readers should enjoy his work, since there are so many references to our history and our poetry in his works. In all the 3 books I have read he talks about Shahnameh, Rostam and Sohrab and a lot about Shirin and Khosro and Farhad and Leili and Majnoon...He writes about Persian miniature in My name is read and such a pity that a Turkish author should present the beauty of Persian poetry and mythology to the world.

I would encourage anyone to read his work, but I have to mention that he is not a very easy writer to read. Many of my writer friends from  my novel class couldn't finish any of his books...I just imagine it should be because of their lack of interest in poetry!

A few of my favorite quotes of Pamuk:

When a writer shuts himself up in a room for years on end to hone his craft – to create a world – if he uses his secret wounds as his starting point, he is, whether he knows it or not, putting a great faith in humanity. My confidence comes from the belief that all human beings resemble each other, that others carry wounds like mine – that they will therefore understand. All true literature rises from this childish, hopeful certainty that all people resemble each other. When a writer shuts himself up in a room for years on end, with this gesture he suggests a single humanity, a world without a centre.(Orhan Pamuk from Nobel lecture)

..."Nothing is as surprising as life. Except for writing. Except for writing. Yes, of course, except for writing, the only consolation." (Last sentences from The Black Book by Pamuk)

"I don't want to be a tree; I want to be its meaning." (Pamuk from My name is red)


PS: Please read his full Nobel speech...it is one of the most exciting and moving piece about writing I have ever read:




by Publisher (not verified) on

His novels are written in Turkish Language, and subsequently translated into other languages.

'My Name is Red' was published in Turkey as: 'Benim Adım Kırmızı'.

Hope that's helpful :) !


is he writing in turkish or english ?

by Saraamin on

recently i bought one of his book , my name is red ,well i am at the begining of it , looks like a good novel , i wonder which language originally he wrote his book , and he said he has spent all his life in Istanbul , how come he is speaking english well?


An impressive fellow

by Brigitte_Uma (London) (not verified) on

A good novelist through and through. A good role-model for all aspiring novelist.

Thanks for the video. Well done!!


The Ottoman Empire

by JavadMan.68 (not verified) on

It was the last great Islamic Empire. There are MANY who would like to restore it to its past GREATNESS.

I personally believe that Islam needs to go through reformation. Just as Christianity had its Martin Luther followed by Reformation, and ultimately Renaissance, Islam needs to do the same.

Simply put, Islam is a great religion, but in need of serious Reformation. Better sooner than later!


Re: Turkey

by Mike-Pance (not verified) on

Turkey is going through a lot of upheaval right now. The heavy hands of the 'Generals' and the army have attracted more and more people towards the Islamist Parties.

It's going to be interesting to see how all of this is going to work out for Turkey. Europe better think of a way of admitting Turkey to EU, or else will be lost to Islamist. That Simple :) !


I am so glad ...

by Mostafa K (not verified) on

that someone from our part of the world has won this prize again. I believe that the last Muslim who won the Nobel Prize in Literature was 'Naguib Mahfouz' of Egypt who won it in 1988.

Haj Seyd Mammad

If You Are A Reader Of Pamuk

by Haj Seyd Mammad on

Please feel free to leave any comment that you like on any of his other books. I would like to encourage a literary discourse on any of his other works also :)

Haj Seyd Mammad

Some Reviews of This Book

by Haj Seyd Mammad on

“Pamuk is that rarest of creatures, a fabulist of ideas…In Other Colors…Pamuk gives us several of his many selves in a centrifugal gathering of memory-pieces, sketches, interviews and unexpected flights…[that] feel more like a rich and suggestive set of explorations…His books are, really celebrations of multiplicity…the mysteries they set up are always more delicious than any attempt to solve them…Yet mostly what this collection gives us…is a chance to savor one of the inimitable literary storytellers of our time…Pamuk is taking the world we thought we knew and making it fresh and alive.”
- Pico Iyer, New York Times Book Review

“He is the poet of the labyrinth of his own thoughts and conceits, of the fabulous and the gently ambiguous.”
- Colin Thubron, The New York Review

“what emerges…is a voice, part playful and part deadly, whose refracted reality a real nightingale might envy.”
- Richard Eder, Los Angeles Times Book Review

“Other Colors is composed of shrewdly arranged occasional pieces, fragments from journals and other miscellany, edited and at times rewritten to form a remarkably cohesive picture of a literary man…Beyond its clever charm and its wise observations Other Colors is a plea to stand back and consider the historical and psychological causes of today’s alarming headlines.”
- Roger Kaplan, Washington Post Book World


Very Interesting Guy

by Mina-Har.04 (not verified) on

Thanks for the interview. I did read about PM Erdogan, and the constitutional court issue. The judges did tell him however to be very careful!

They prosecutor was one vote short of banning the AKP Party: needed seven judges, got six.