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Turkish literature special from Istanbul featuring Nobel Laureate Orhan Pamuk

News and reviews of art, literature, film and music. Kirsty Lang explores the literary scene in Istanbul, talking to leading Turkish writers including Nobel Laureate Orhan Pamuk.

As part of Radio 4's Reading Europe season, Kirsty Lang explores Turkish literature in Istanbul, talking to leading writers including Nobel Laureate Orhan Pamuk.

Critics Kaya Genc and Nagihan Ibn Haliloglu discuss how the Turkish literary scene compares to our own: what are the bestselling books, and how are writers dealing with the current political situation, given Turkey has imprisoned more writers recently than any other country.

Orhan Pamuk on his latest novel The Red-Haired Woman (Radio 4's current Book at Bedtime), and its themes of authoritarianism and the clash between the old and new Turkeys.

Since being sacked from her job as one of Turkey's most-read newspaper columnists because of her political views, Ece Temelkuran has concentrated on her career as a novelist, including writing the bestselling Women Who Blow on Knots.

Burhan Sönmez, the prize-winning Kurdish writer whose latest novel Istanbul, Istanbul, inspired by his own experience of torture and imprisonment, is about four political prisoners who tell each other magical stories about Istanbul.

Why has a little known love story written in 1940 recently topped the Turkish bestseller charts? Filiz Ali talks about her father Sabahattin Ali, who was murdered in 1948 but whose novel Madonna in a Fur Coat has become a publishing phenomenon.

The books discussed in our programme are:

The Red-Haired Woman, written by Orhan Pamuk and translated by Ekin Oklap
Istanbul, Istanbul, written by Burhan Sönmez and translated by Ümit Hussein.
Women Who Blow on Knots, written by Ece Temelkuran and translated by Alexander Dawe.
Madonna in a Fur Coat, written by Sabahattin Ali and translated by Maureen Freely and Alexander Dawe.
The Stone Building and Other Places, written by Asli Erdogan and translated by Sevinç Türkkan.

Presenter: Kirsty Lang
Producer: Timothy Prosser.

Available now

30 minutes

Kaya Genc and Nagihan Ibn Haliloglu

Kaya Genc and Nagihan Ibn Haliloglu
Kaya Genc and
Nagihan Ibn Haliloglu

Kaya Genc is a novelist and critic whose books include Under The Shadow: Rage and Revolution in Modern Turkey. Nagihan Ibn Haliloglu is assistant professor of civilisation studies at Haldun University. 

Burhan Sonmez

Burhan Sonmez
Kirsty Lang and Burhan Sonmez

Burhan Sonmez's novel Istanbul, Istanbul, is translated by Ümit Hussein.

Filiz Ali

Filiz Ali
Filiz Ali

(Her father) Sabahattin Ali's book Madonna in a Fur Coat, is translated by Maureen Freely and Alexander Dawe.

Ece Temelkuran

Ece Temelkuran
Ece Temelkuran

Her novel Women Who Blow on Knots is translated by Alexander Dawe.

Orhan Pamuk

Orhan Pamuk
Orhan Pamuk

Main image: Orhan Pamuk
Photo credit: Ozan Kose, Getty Images

Orhan Pamuk's The Red Haired Woman is on Radio 4's Book at Bedtime


Role Contributor
Presenter Kirsty Lang
Interviewed Guest Kaya Genc
Interviewed Guest Nagihan Ibn Haliloglu
Interviewed Guest Orhan Pamuk
Interviewed Guest Ece Temelkuran
Interviewed Guest Burhan Sonmez
Interviewed Guest Filiz Ali
Producer Timothy Prosser


  • Fri 26 Jan 2018 19:15



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