Award honors writer for his half-century of art

Award honors writer for his half-century of art

ISTANBUL - Doğan News Agency
Award honors writer for his half-century of art

Selim İleri (above L) receives his award from the Aydın Doğan Foundation Chairman and Doğan Holding Honorary Chairman Aydın Doğan. DHA photos

Writer Selim İleri has been named the recipient of this year’s 16th Aydın Doğan Award, presented in the short story category. İleri is known for his short stories, novels and essays.

Organized since 1996, this year’s award was devoted to short stories. İleri has established his own style in storytelling, but also reflects classic Turkish stories in his works. The jury said it had decided to give the award to İleri for his unique contribution to Turkish literature.

The award was presented at a ceremony held on April 10 at Istanbul’s Hilton Hotel. The ceremony began with a mini concert by young Turkish soprano Asude Karayavuz, accompanied by pianist Rayna Popova.

Speaking at the ceremony, the Aydın Doğan Foundation Executive Board Chair Candan Fetvacı said İleri had been given the award not for his contributions to Turkish literature alone, but also for his contributions to Turkish culture.

“Many critics say that in his stories, İleri deeply reflects human relations as well as witnessing a certain period. He is an ‘Istanbul writer,’ he introduces the lost beauties of this city and people, who we cannot see on the streets anymore, to new generations. He reminds us of the writers and cultural figures who we have neglected. Above all, he illuminates today with the light he casts on the past. He can do all these things without injuring his readers. He is a milestone in the field of the short story,” Fetvacı said.
The head of the selection jury, daily Hürriyet Publishing Advisor and writer Doğan Hızlan, said İleri gave great value to the Turkish story and had made significant contributions to Turkish literature with his novels.

“Do you know that being a writer is a very selfish task? You are writer, you are appreciated, you get awards and you don’t have to think about others. In this point, İleri is a different writer and he has made great efforts to remind us of our masters from Halit Ziya to Behçet Necatigil. He is really an Istanbul writer. I cannot stop praising him and I am very happy that a master of Turkish literature is being honored again with an award,” Hızlan said.

Following the speeches, İleri was invited to the stage to receive the award and the 50,000 Turkish Liras prize, from Aydın Doğan Foundation Chairman and Doğan Holding Honorary Chairman Aydın Doğan. “45 years ago, all I wanted was to write. My only reader was my dear older sister. Now I am here after a half century. I thank you to for not having left me alone for 45 years.”
The decision to award İleri was made by a jury of Turkish literature experts, including Doğan Hızlan, Nursel Duruel, Dr. İnci Enginün, Semih Gümüş, Özcan Karabulut, Jale Parla, Hüseyin Su, A. Ömer Türkeş and Metin Celal Zeynioğlu.

Sharing the stage with his close friend

After his speech, the presenter of the ceremony Korhan Abay asked İleri if he wanted to invite one of his close friends to the stage, and he invited the famous actress Türkan Şoray.

Şoray said it was a great joy to share this special moment with her close friend. “I don’t know how to say it. I am one of the readers of İleri’s books, they have impressed me very much. I met him during the shooting of the film “Seni Kalbime Gömdüm” (I buried you in my heart), the script of which he wrote. I was cast as an unhappy woman in the film. In the script, I am asked, ‘why are you so tense?’ and I reply, ‘everyone has their own hell.’ It impressed me so much and thus began my special interest in İleri. It is a great opportunity for me to have such people in my life.”

Speaking to press members before the ceremony, Şoray gave information about the book that is set to release in the coming days. “I have been thinking of my experiences in cinema for years. Maybe they serve as a light for young people who want to become filmmakers. And I have written a book. It features all my years in cinema since the 1960s. It will be released on May 15. We have not decided its title yet; perhaps it will be ‘I am Türkan Şoray,’” she said.