15/5-12 6:06

Turkish writer Orhan Pamuk gets Sonning prize

Orhan Pamuk
Photo: Creative Commons license, public domain, no author
Turkish writer Orhan Pamuk is a controversial figure in his homeland
Prestigious cultural award goes to a man who has 'challenged cultural boundaries', says jury

The Turkish writer Orhan Pamuk has won the 2012 Sonning Prize, writes the University of Copenhagen in a press release.

The prize is given for a contribution to European culture.

Orhan Pamuk's largest contribution to European culture »is his obvious challenge to the cultural boundaries that are drawn around it, and his clarification of the many possibilities that lie within crossing those boundaries«, the jury at the University of Copenhagen said in the press release.

National taboos

The 59-year old Orhan Pamuk is one of the most important modern writers, and received the Nobel Literature Prize, in 2006, for work that discusses the clash of Muslim and Western culture in Turkey.

»His work contains a strong belief in a Europe with fewer cultural boundaries, an inclusive Europe that does not choose between East and West but instead attempts to unite the two,« it said.

Orhan Pamuk is a controversial figure in his home country. He has engaged himself with national taboos, such as the mass killings of Armenians under the Ottoman Empire and the ongoing Kurdish conflict.

DKK 1 million

The prize, which is given out every second year includes, apart from the honour, a DKK 1 million cheque. It will be awarded 26 October in the Ceremonial Hall at the University of Copenhagen.

See the press release on ku.dk's website here.

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