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Orhan Pamuk Wins Nobel Prize for Literature

Orhan Pamuk"The metaphor of the bridge is so old-fashioned. My job is to find new metaphors. My culture is made of two worlds. I explore the two. That's my history."
-- Orhan Pamuk

Photo by Eileen Barroso

Watch video from the Oct. 12 press conference:
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Alan Brinkley, Provost,
Columbia University video icon

Professor Nicholas B. Dirks, Vice President for Arts & Sciences and Dean of the Faculty of Arts & Sciences video icon

Orhan Pamuk, Fellow with Columbia University's Committee on Global Thought video icon

Orhan Pamuk, the internationally acclaimed Turkish novelist and memoirist, was awarded the 2006 Nobel Prize for Literature on Thursday, October 12 by the Royal Swedish Academy. Mr. Pamuk is a Fellow with Columbia University's Committee on Global Thought and will hold an appointment in Middle East and Asian Languages and Cultures and at the School of the Arts.

"Columbia has worked hard to bring great creative minds like Orhan Pamuk to our community of scholars," said President Lee C. Bollinger. "We are delighted by this recognition of his personal achievements, as we are by the fact that our university is home to two new Nobel laureates in a single week."

Mr. Pamuk—who, in the words of the Swedish Academy, "has discovered new symbols for the clash and interlacing of cultures"—has been publishing since 1972. His work has been translated into more than 40 languages and he has received numerous prestigious international prizes, including Le Prix Mediterranee etranger, the Prix Medicis, the Ricarda Huch Prize, and honorary membership in the American Academy of Arts and Letters. A native of Istanbul, Mr. Pamuk was also a visiting scholar at Columbia University from 1985 to 1988.

"Pamuk is an exhilarating novelist who embodies world literature today in a double sense: all his narratives are deeply rooted in Turkish history, culture, and society, but in their complex, yet engaging mode of narration they appropriate the best of the transnational modernist tradition," said Andreas Huyssen, chair of Columbia University's department of Germanic Languages and Literature and Villard Professor of German and Comparative Literature. "Seemingly without effort, Pamuk blends love story, murder mystery, historical novel and political narrative to produce one page turner after another, captivating readers across the world. In Turkey itself, he has somewhat unwillingly become a public intellectual who asks probing questions about the past and future of his country. He richly deserves the Nobel Prize, and we at Columbia are extremely fortunate to be welcoming him as a contributor to our programs in comparative literature and global thought."

About the Committee on Global Thought
The Committee on Global Thought was established by President Lee C. Bollinger in early 2006 as part of his larger goal of transforming Columbia from an already thriving international enterprise into a truly global university to serve the needs of knowledge and society in the twenty-first century. The Committee on Global Thought, a select faculty committee chaired by 2001 Nobel Laureate and University Professor of Economics Joseph Stiglitz, focuses on curricular and research initiatives designed to create the kind of global knowledge necessary in today's world, not only at Columbia but in international collaboration with institutions, students, and scholars in other countries. Already an international university located in an international city, Columbia is committed to lead the way in generating knowledge and actions that will make a difference to the world on both the local and the global levels.

Related Links:

Nobel Prize Announcement and Press Conference:


Published: Oct 12, 2006
Last modified: Nov 14, 2007