Sait Faik Abasıyanık: Turkey's first modern author
Abasıyanık was born on Nov. 18, 1906 in northwestern Sakarya province to businessman Mehmet Faik and Makbule Hanım.
Attending primary school in Sakarya, Abasıyanık continued his education at Istanbul Boy's High School and then in northwestern Bursa province.
He wrote his first short story titled Silk Handkerchief and two other pieces as a student.
After graduating in 1928, Abasıyanık returned to Istanbul and submitted his short stories to various newspapers and magazines.
On Sept. 9-23, 1923, some of his stories were published in the Hür newspaper.
His short story titled Kites was published in the Milliyet newspaper on Dec. 9, 1930. Abasıyanık did not collect any of these pieces into a book.
He enrolled in the Turcology Department of Istanbul University in 1928 but under pressure from his father went to Switzerland to study economics in 1930. He left school and lived in France from 1931-1935.
After returning to Turkey, he taught Turkish at the Halicioglu Armenian School for Orphans. Following his father's wishes, he went into business but was unsuccessful.
Meanwhile, his memories of France were published in Varlık magazine in 1936. He also published his first storybook titled Semaver the same year with financial support from his father.
In 1939, Abasıyanık published his second book titled Cistern, consisting of 16 stories. In the book, he wrote about his childhood and adolescence in Adapazarı and Bursa and observations in his life both in Istanbul and abroad.
Spending fairly idle years, Abasıyanık wrote a few pieces between 1940 and 1948.
In 1948, he published a book titled Redundant Man, which consists of short stories mostly about his idle years.
Abasıyanık's style, later life and death
Abasıyanık was diagnosed with cirrhosis in 1948. Although he often visited the doctors, he decided to go to France in 1951 to receive treatment after his illness got worse.
He returned to Istanbul shortly after.
The renowned author had the most productive days of his writing career during his illness. In the same year, his books titled Cloud in the Air, Company and Poolside were published.
The theme of death began to appear in his writing. He published Last Birds in 1952.
In 1953, his novel titled Looking for a Missing Person and a poetry book titled It's Time to Love were published.
In 1954, There was a Snake in Alemdag was published as well as his translated book titled Act of Passion by Georges Simenon.
He became an honorary member of the International Mark Twain Society of St. Louis, Missouri on May 14, 1953.
“This means that from now on, a local short story writer will be selected from the four corners of the world to join a society established to commemorate world-class short story writers," he said regarding the award.
Abasıyanık died on May 11, 1954, in Istanbul.
Abasıyanık, the author of many short stories, novels, poems, translations and interviews, fused all these genres with his unique style.
He had a style that reflected his immediate ambitions, creating a milestone in modern Turkish literature.
Influenced by names such as French author André Gide, poet Comte de Lautréamont and novelist Jean Genet, Abasıyanık created his own original language, and served as a guide for many Turkish writers.
A story award is also given every year on behalf of the author, whose house on Burgaz Island near Istanbul was turned into a museum after his death.