Duke to Host Nobel Laureate in Literature Orhan Pamuk

Nov. 10-13 events include a documentary film screening, public conversation with Pamuk, faculty forum

Author Orhan Pamuk will visit Duke Nov. 10-13
Author Orhan Pamuk will visit Duke Nov. 10-13

Duke University will host a series of public events Nov. 10-13 featuring Nobel Laureate in Literature Orhan Pamuk. 

The author of eight novels, Pamuk is the winner of the 2006 Nobel Prize in Literature for works including “My Name is Red” and “Snow.” Erdağ Göknar, who directs the Duke Middle East Studies Center, is the translator of the English version of “My Name is Red” (Knopf, 2001), which ushered Pamuk onto the international stage and contributed to the Turkish author’s selection as Nobel laureate. 

Pamuk comes to Duke at a time when Turkey is experiencing one of its most volatile political periods in 20 years -- grappling with authoritarianism, local insurgencies and destabilization caused by ISIS and the Syrian civil war being waged on the Turkish-Syrian border. 

He arrives just after the Nov. 1 Turkish general elections which gave the AKP another parliamentary majority and “cast a note of gloom,” said Göknar, “for voices of pluralism like Pamuk.” 

“We’re honored to have Orhan Pamuk visiting Duke on the occasion of the publication of his ninth novel, ‘A Strangeness in My Mind’ (Knopf, October 2015),” said Göknar, who noted that the visit “carries cultural and political significance as Duke continues to build its global profile.” 

Pamuk’s new novel offers a panorama of the rise of Istanbul as a global city (from 1969-2012), told from the perspective of rural migrants working to make a living on the streets. This period also saw the rise of Islamic-leaning political representation, and specifically of the AKP. 

“Pamuk will bring a revealing intersection of culture and politics that promises to shed light not just on Turkey in the present moment, but more broadly the Middle East as a whole,” said Göknar, who authored the 2013 book “Orhan Pamuk, Secularism and Blasphemy: The Politics of the Turkish Novel.”  

The Pamuk series will include a documentary film screening, a public conversation with Pamuk hosted by Göknar, and a faculty forum with Pamuk and other Duke faculty. Events include: 

  • At 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 10, “The Innocence of Memories” will show in the Richard White Auditorium. This new documentary by Grant Gee explores Pamuk’s novel and museum project, The Museum of Innocence. The museum’s objects, which trace a tale of doomed love in 1970s Istanbul, are the starting point for a trip through love stories, landscapes and the chemistry of the city. Watch the trailer here: https://youtu.be/rNVIUGuKJ9M
  • At 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 12, Göknar will host a public conversation with Pamuk about his new novel – “A Strangeness in My Mind” -- in the Nasher Museum of Art auditorium. (Free parking in the Nasher parking lot.)
  • At 11 a.m. Friday, Nov. 13, Pamuk will give a visual presentation about The Museum of Innocence and convene a faculty forum in the FHI garage (Smith Warehouse -- Bay 4, C105). Duke faculty participants include Srinivas Aravamudan (English Department), Rey Chow (Duke Program in Literature), miriam cooke (Asian & Middle Eastern Studies), and Michael Moses (English Department). 

For maps and parking information, visit maps.duke.edu

Sponsors include Asian & Middle Eastern Studies, Duke Global Education/Duke in Turkey, Duke Middle East Studies Center, Franklin Humanities Institute, The Novel Project @ Duke,Arts of the Moving Image and Mellon Foundation/Partnerships in a Global Age.