07 December 2006

His Father's Suitcase

Earlier this afternoon, I watched the webcast of Orhan Pamuk’s Nobel Lecture in Literature. Pamuk gave his lecture in Turkish and was a rather poor speaker. Even though he was reading it from his notes, he wasn’t fluent and several times repeated his words and sentences. He may have been nervous. Overall, I must say I was disappointed.

The texts of Pamuk’s lecture, entitled Babamın bavulu (My Father's Suitcase) in 5 languages are available here.

As you know, the question we writers are asked most often, the favourite question, is; why do you write? I write because I have an innate need to write! I write because I can't do normal work like other people. I write because I want to read books like the ones I write. I write because I am angry at all of you, angry at everyone. I write because I love sitting in a room all day writing. I write because I can only partake in real life by changing it. I write because I want others, all of us, the whole world, to know what sort of life we lived, and continue to live, in Istanbul, in Turkey. I write because I love the smell of paper, pen, and ink. I write because I believe in literature, in the art of the novel, more than I believe in anything else. I write because it is a habit, a passion. I write because I am afraid of being forgotten. I write because I like the glory and interest that writing brings. I write to be alone. Perhaps I write because I hope to understand why I am so very, very angry at all of you, so very, very angry at everyone. I write because I like to be read. I write because once I have begun a novel, an essay, a page, I want to finish it. I write because everyone expects me to write. I write because I have a childish belief in the immortality of libraries, and in the way my books sit on the shelf. I write because it is exciting to turn all of life's beauties and riches into words. I write not to tell a story, but to compose a story. I write because I wish to escape from the foreboding that there is a place I must go but – just as in a dream – I can't quite get there. I write because I have never managed to be happy. I write to be happy.
Orhan Pamuk, Nobel Lecture


Anonymous said...

intereseting, you only extracted the idea that Pamuk is a poor speaker from this lecture. this was the first thing i read from Pamuk and i am amazed at, i loved, i felt what he said in that "speech". who cares if the guy is a poor speaker, and actually, it is not hard to guess he would be a poor speaker, he has been in his room, writing all this time.

it feels like, this is a nice example of why Pamuk would be angry to people. you are a nice example, letting us see how a brilliantly written text can go without being understood by "human beings", and why this is enough reason for one to be angry to all humanity.


I liked the text of his speech too. That's why I included that paragraph from it in my post.

Maybe he should include one more reason why he writes: "I write because I can't give speeches."