Literary Lion: 5 Questions with Nobel Laureate, Novelist Orhan Pamuk

March 30, 2015
Orphan Pamuk, Columbia University

Orhan Pamuk, the Robert Yik-Fong Tam Professor of the Humanities, is one of Turkey's most prominent novelists. Titles (in English) include The White Castle, The Black Book, My Name is Red, Snow, Istanbul: Memories of a City and his newest book, The Museum of Innocence. His work has been translated into more than 40 languages, and he has received many international prizes, including honorary membership in the American Academy of Arts and Letters. In 2006, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.

Q. How do you straddle the intersection of teaching and writing?

I keep them separate...taking notes in one corner of my mind for the students, hoping that my secrets of the craft will be of help to them.

Q. How important to the craft of writing is reading?

It is crucial, and it teaches you the craft if you know how to read.

Q. Do you focus on one particular kind of writing or can you easily switch genres?

I can switch genres fast but the best and most fun is writing long novels.

Q. How does living and working in New York influence your writing?

I love New York but I can turn it off and run back to Istanbul!

Q. What are you working on now?

A novel—as usual.

— Interviewed by Eve Glasberg