Orhan Pamuk: Why I write.

Orhan Pamuk, Turkish writer, winner of the Nobel Prize, has recently cancelled a trip to Germany, apparently because he was worried that he might be assassinated. We talk of censorship and fear of ideas in this country, but it’s rare that we encounter this level of hatred and reactionary violence. We talk of writer’s block and the anxiety of findng an agent, publisher, marketing push, but not of bullets or bombs or vieled threats stated during the investigation of another writer’s murder. We talk of royalties and advaces. They talk of historical events and get labeled with the crime of “anti-Turkishness,” a crime for which you can be tried in Turkey.
And in the midst of all this, Mr. Pamuk spoke at the ceremony awarding him his Nobel, and touched on “Why I write.”
Quote: Let me change the mood with a few sweet words that will, I hope, serve as well as that music. 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.
I can’t think of any way to approach or add to this level of dedication, artistry and honesty.

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