Posted by: jeannineatkins | November 1, 2014

Orhan Pamuk: Words and Wounds

Yesterday Orhan Pamuk spoke at UMass Amherst in a talk sponsored by the English Department. I tried taking a picture during applause, but it came out blurry. Instead, here are the ducks I saw walking to the auditorium.


The Nobel prize winning author of books including Snow, The Museum of Innocence, and The Naïve and Sentimental Novelist spoke about his love of Istanbul, which he’s seen grow enormously in his decades of living there, the way places can be so evocative that it’s sometimes impossible to tell whether it’s the place or a person that’s melancholy, his slow writing of long novels, and the art of translation. He said that writers may start with a wound, and carry a sense that others have similar wounds and will therefore understand each other. “All literature comes from this childish, simple belief that we resemble each other.”



  1. Lovely.

  2. Thanks, Sarah. I’m most interested in the way he sees objects as evoking stories even beyond memories, and just ordered his essay collection, Other Colors. His Nobel speech, “My Father’s Suitcase,” about turning from then unpacking the past sounds fascinating.

  3. Love that quote.

  4. Jealous! I loved “Istanbul” – and the way the city seeped its way into Pamuk’s very being. That was fascinating to watch unfold. “Snow” is on my TBR list – perhaps over winter break. Loved that photograph, too!

    • Thanks for the recommendation of Istanbul. He spoke a lot about the blurred lines of a city and a self. .. and I do like the ducks, and seeing the moon rise over the library when I left, with scrubbed eyes.

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