Turkish novelist Orhan Pamuk won the Nobel Prize in Literature today. Last winter, Pamuk faced as many as three years in prison for the crime of "insulting" the Turkish Republic. In a "Culturebox" article published this January, and reprinted below, Hugh Eakin explained how Pamuk came to be a controversial figure in his home country—and how he beat the rap.
But the changes have happened too quickly, and under too much pressure from Brussels, for Turkish society to be really at ease with it all. And the most painful part of that transition, as postwar Europe itself has shown, may be coming to terms with history. There is surely some irony in that fact that you can now be prosecuted in Europe for denying a genocide and prosecuted in Turkey for asserting that a genocide took place. For a country that has long created fictions out of its own past, it is all the more fitting then, that it is a novelist who starts the dialogue about what really happened.