Orhan Pamuk receives Erdal Öz literary prize in Istanbul
ISTANBUL – Anadolu AgencyTurkish Nobel laureate novelist Orhan Pamuk has been named the recipient of this year’s Erdal Öz Literary Prize, which is named after the late founder of the Can Publishing House and given to a writer who published a work in the last three years.
Pamuk was presented the prize at a ceremony held on Sept. 15 at Istanbul’s Perala Palace Hotel Jumeria.
Öz, who died in 2006 at age 71, established the Can Publishing House in 1981. The Erdal Öz Literary Prize was established in 2008 by Öz’s family.
Speaking of his friendship with Öz and his memories with him, Pamuk said, “In my youth, people had friends who were publishing magazines. I was writing my own column and I was a bit ashamed of it. I started writing my novel ‘Cevdet Bey ve Oğulları’ [Cevdet Bey and His Sons]. When I saw an ad in a newspaper about the story prize at the Antalya Film Festival, I wrote a historical story. I was 23 when I learned on the radio that I ranked in third place. They gave me a flight ticket to come to Antalya. I was scheduled to stay in Antalya for a few days and was very happy. I went there and was among a few writers but Erdal Öz was not there. They called me ‘a bourgeois friend.’ We spent a very nice week and right before returning to Istanbul, the prize ceremony was held at the Antalya Film Festival. Then someone told me that Öz loved me so much and wanted to meet me in Istanbul. We met three-four months later.”
Pamuk said their friendship started 40 years ago, and Öz had given him the highest point in the story competition.
“The highest point was 100 in the jury point scoring system. Erdal gave zero points for everyone and 100 for me and made me rank third,” he said.
Pamuk said he had learned many things from Öz such as hard work, attentiveness and commitment to a subject, and added, “Between 1983 and 1994, Öz was my publisher, friend and editor.”
The famous novelist noted some 2,000 books were annually published in Turkey in those years, and said, “I think it is about 40,000 [today]. Just like the growth of Istanbul. Once upon a time, when a new building was built, we used to go there to see it. Is there anyone following the new buildings now? In the same way, the publishing sector has progressed and got richer. But now human relations have been lost. When two- or three-storey frame houses are gone, human affairs are gone, too.”
A valuable prize in literature
Can Öz, who made a speech on behalf of the Can Publishing House, said the prize was presented for the 8th time and had become a notable and valuable literary prize.
Talking about the selection committee, Öz said, “Our selection committee has a structure that changes every year. It has seven members and every year the head of the committee does not become a member the next year. Without the intervention of the Öz family, the committee chooses a new member every year.”
The head of this year’s committee, Feride Çiçekoğlu, presented his prize to Pamuk this year.
The author of the bestselling novels “The Black Book,” “My Name Is Red,” “Snow” and “The Museum of Innocence,” Pamuk received the prize, a statuette designed by sculptor Handan Börüteçene, and a cash prize of 15,000 Turkish Liras.