Orhan Pamuk receives Denmark's Sonning prize
COPENHAGEN - Agence France-Presse
Turkish author Orhan Pamuk delivers a speech after receiving the Sonning Prize 2012, in Copenhagen University's ceremonial hall, in Copenhagen, Denmark, 26 October 2012. EPA photoTurkish writer Orhan Pamuk on Friday received The Sonning Prize, Denmark's highest cultural award, for his contribution to European culture in a ceremony at the University of Copenhagen.
"To think that my novels, my essays might inspire in some small way be a part of this great culture is a happiness matched only by the honour of receiving this great prize," he said in his acceptance speech.
The award comes with a a one-million-kroner (134,000-euro, $173,000) cheque and follows Pamuk's Nobel Literature Prize in 2006.
Pamuk, 60, spoke about European culture, history and identity as well as modernization, Turkey, and the European Union in his speech. He also referred to a Europe fearful of Muslim immigration.
"For political Europe to be gripped by the fear of immigration and turn conservative, closing itself off from the world just as Europe's cultural capital gains even greater currency is another one of those ironic twists of fate that only history can offer," he said.
The author of novels such as "Snow" and "The Black Book," was awarded the prize in May.
Pamuk has been a vocal critic of issues that have long been national taboos in Turkey such as the mass killings of Armenians under the Ottoman Empire, and the ongoing Kurdish conflict in the southeast.
He has been the focus of a campaign backed by Reporters Without Borders for greater freedom in Turkey after becoming a victim of laws that restrict writers' ability to criticise the country.
Asked about the award of this year's Nobel Literature Prize to Chinese author Mo Yan, Pamuk said he was very happy that it went to a Chinese writer.
"It is a dilemma of humanity, especially in countries where freedom of speech is not strong, to punish the whole literary culture by not giving a prize. So I can say that I know Mo Yan and that I am happy about his prize, though I am aware also of the problems of free speech," Pamuk said.
The Sonning Prize is Denmark's highest cultural award, and is given every other year. Previous recipients include British philosopher Bertrand Russell, German poet, essayist and novelist Hans Magnus Enzensberger and Italian architect Renzo Piano.