Orhan Pamuk was born in Istanbul in 1952 into a middle-class family and he attended the American high school in the capital. Under pressure from his parents, he initially enrolled in Istanbul’s Technical University to study architecture, but later decided to switch to the Institute of Journalism, graduating in 1977. From 1985 to 1988 he was in the United States where he became a visiting scholar at Columbia University in New York. He then returned to Istanbul, where he refused the title of " State artist" assigned to him by the Turkish government.
In the summer of 2005 criminal charges were pressed against him for certain outspoken declarations made to a Swiss magazine on the Armenian genocide and the Kurdish massacres. His trial, which attracted the attention of the international press, began on 16 December 2005, and was then suspended while awaiting the approval of the Turkish minister of justice. In spite of the considerable success he enjoyed in his own country, part of Turkish public opinion – sensitive to nationalist propaganda – turned against Pamuk in the incandescent climate that accompanied Turkey’s application to join the European Union and the ensuing scrutiny of the country’s recent past. Following international pressure and the embarrassment of the Turkish government, however, the charges against him were dropped on 22 January 2006, his behaviour no longer constituting a crime according to the newly approved penal code.
Soon afterwards Pamuk received the Nobel prize for literature with the following motivation: "In the quest for the melancholic soul of his native city, (Pamuk) has discovered new symbols for the clash and interlacing of cultures."
In 2007, after the assassination of the Turkish-Armenian writer Hrant Dink, Pamuk received repeated death threats, which forced him to cancel a series of conferences in Germany and in Belgium and to leave his native land, at least temporarily. One of Dink’s assassins, captured by the police, shouted: "Pamuk, you’ll be next" at the TV cameras while being transferred from the court to prison.
Pamuk was the first writer from the Muslim world to condemn the Iranian fatwa issued against Salman Rushdie.
His novels have been published in over forty languages.
His works include: The White Castle (1990), The Black Book (1994), The New Life (1997), My Name is Red (2001), Snow (2004), Istanbul (2005).
Gardens that honour Orhan Pamuk
You can find a tree in the Virtual Garden Gariwo's Stories.