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News - Arts and Culture at MSU



Nobel laureate and novelist Orhan Pamuk to present Arts and Letters Signature Lecture at MSU

Monday, September 17, 2007

Turkish novelist Orhan Pamuk will present the College of Arts and Letters Signature Lecture on Monday, Oct. 1, as part of a series of events celebrating MSU’s Year of Arts and Culture. He will speak at 7:30 p.m. in the Pasant Theatre, Wharton Center for Performing Arts.

Tickets are $20 (free to MSU faculty, staff and students with ID at box office only, limit two); call 1 (800) WHARTON or visit

Pamuk is one of the most prominent novelists at work in the world today, acclaimed on all sides as a humane writer of unique vision. Among his many highly regarded works are The White Castle (1991), The Black Book (1994), The New Life (1997), My Name is Red (2001), Snow (2004) and Istanbul: Memories and the City (2005). In announcing his selection as winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature for 2006, the Swedish Academy praised Pamuk, “who, in the quest for the melancholic soul of his native city has discovered new symbols for the clash and interlacing of cultures.”

His work has been translated into dozens of languages and he has received numerous prestigious international prizes, including the Nobel Prize in Literature (2006), Le Prix Méditerranée étranger (2006), the Prix Médicis étranger (2005), the Ricarda-Huch Prize (2005) and honorary membership in the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He is currently a professor of Middle East and Asian Languages and Cultures at Columbia University.

“We selected Mr. Pamuk for our signature event for the MSU Year of Arts and Culture because he exemplifies the college’s focus on arts and humanities in a global context,” said Karin Wurst, dean of the College of Arts and Letters. “His artistic negotiation between East and West, between different cultures, and between historical and contemporary concerns exemplifies the special place the arts and culture occupy in contemporary life. His life and work mirror the university’s commitment to global engagement and its particular interest in Turkey as a key site for challenging yet important interactions between Islam and the West.”

Pamuk’s speech at MSU is expected to touch on some of the issues raised during his Nobel lecture, in which he noted that “what literature needs most to tell and investigate today are humanity’s basic fears: the fear of being left outside, and the fear of counting for nothing, and the feelings of worthlessness that come with such fears; the collective humiliations, vulnerabilities, slights, grievances, sensitivities, and imagined insults and the nationalist boasts and inflations that are their next of kind.”

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