Nobel laureate Pamuk publishes new book in Turkey

Fri Aug 29, 2008 10:08am EDT
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ANKARA (Reuters) - Nobel Prize-winning Turkish writer Orhan Pamuk published a new book in Turkey on Friday, his first since obtaining the award.

"Museum of Innocence" is a love story about a rich man and his poor, distant relative set in present day Istanbul, Pamuk's native city, his publisher Nihat Tuna told Reuters.

Pamuk, who won the Nobel Prize in 2006, is a controversial writer in Turkey despite his popularity and big sales.

He was tried for comments about the mass killings of Armenians by Ottoman Turks during World War One -- a highly sensitive issue for Turkey -- and decades-long fighting between Kurdish separatists and the Turkish army in southeastern Turkey. His case was dropped, but some anger over his remarks lingered.

Pamuk's safety became an issue after the murder in January 2007 of prominent Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink in Istanbul. A key suspect in that murder, escorted by police into a court house, warned Pamuk to be careful.

Some of Pamuk's previous novels have evoked the crumbled grandeur and melancholy of the Ottoman empire's old capital, Istanbul. He has also touched on Turkey's identity divided between the east and the west.

Tuna said the new 592-page novel, Pamuk's second longest, is about love, marriage, family and happiness. The first foreign-language edition, in German, will be available within 10 days.

Pamuk, whose best-known novels include "Snow," in which the main character is shot in Frankfurt, has a big following in Germany, home to about 2.5 million people of Turkish descent.

An English translation is in the works, Tuna said.

Pamuk's other books include "My Name is Red," "The Black Book," and "Istanbul: Memories and the City," which was translated into 58 languages and sold more than seven million copies worldwide.

(Editing by Ibon Villelabeitia and Caroline Drees)

<p>Orhan Pamuk attends a news conference at the 60th Cannes Film Festival May 16, 2007. REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier</p>