The Václav Hav­el İst­anb­ul Prize was award­ed to Burhan Sön­mez for his nov­el İst­anb­ul İst­anb­ul, trans­lat­ed in 25 languages.

The Václav-Hav­el Human Rights Prize is an hon­or cre­at­ed in 2013 and award­ed every year by the Par­lia­men­tary Assem­bly of the Coun­cil of Europe. The prize com­mem­o­rates the Czech drama­tist Václav Hav­el, the arti­san of the 1989 Vel­vet Rev­o­lu­tion who spent time in jail before becom­ing the Pres­i­dent of Czecho­slo­va­kia, then of the Czech Republic.

Orga­ni­za­tions such as Mnesty Inter­na­tion­al, Index on Cen­sor­ship, Pen Inter­na­tion­al, Words With­out Bor­ders and, of course, the Václav Hav­el Libary are con­sult­ed for the prize attri­bu­tion. It rewards excep­tion­al civ­il soci­ety mea­sures for the defense of human rights in Europe and out­side the con­ti­nent. sont consultés.

Pavla Niklo­va, Direc­tor of the Foun­da­tion of the Václav Hav­el, Library, spoke in these terms : “We are hon­ored to give this prize to one of Turkey’s most pre­cious authors…An author who stands up for the demo­c­ra­t­ic val­ues defend­ed by Vaclav Havel.”

Burhan Sön­mez said : “We live in an era when lit­er­a­ture can find a place through self-cen­sor­ship or can be sub­ject­ed to oppres­sion. There are authors who have paid a heavy price in his­to­ry. We can men­tion numer­ous writ­ers from Ste­fan Zweig to Saba­hat­tin Ali… When we look to the past, and take into con­sid­er­a­tion the price that has been paid, we real­ize we haven’t advanced much. But that is not par­tic­u­lar­ly neg­a­tive because we still occu­py an impor­tant space as regards to the val­ues attrib­uted to human­i­ty. To receive such a prize in a coun­try such as Turkey is not a per­son­al mat­ter. The prize is not only for the author but for all those who have the courage to write. I will receive this prize in the name of the per­se­cut­ed jour­nal­ists, pro­fes­sors and authors whose pens and very flesh were confiscated. »

Burhan Sön­mez will receive the Václav Hav­el Prize dur­ing a cer­e­mo­ny on Sep­tem­ber 28 in the Bohemi­an Nation­al Hall in New York.

Recent­ly, the same prize was award­ed to Sela­hat­tin Demir­taş, HDP Co-Pres­i­dent and Deputy. A cer­e­mo­ny will be held in Stras­burg in his absence for Sela­hat­tin Demir­taş has been impris­oned in Turkey since Novem­ber 4th 2016, and is at risk of a prison sen­tence of 142 years.

Burhan SönmezBurhan Sön­mez was born in Hay­mana in 1965. A grad­u­ate of Istan­bul University’s Law Fac­ul­ty, he worked for a time as a lawyer. He is one of the found­ing mem­bers of TAKSAV (Toplum­sal Araştır­malar, Kültür ve Sanat için Vakıf – Foun­da­tion for cul­ture, art and social research). Although his main inter­st veers toward poet­ry, over time, he has come to focuse on the nov­el. He finds inspi­ra­tion in a child­hood spent in a lost vil­lage with no pow­er sources and tales his moth­er told him in Kur­dish. These rich­es, strength­ened with con­tem­po­rary lit­er­a­ture sources give his texts a spe­cif­ic coloring.

He also writes for papers such as BirGün, L’Unita, and mag­a­zines such as Birikim, Notos… He teach­es lit­er­a­ture at l’ODTÜ (The Mid­dle East­ern Tech­ni­cal Uni­ver­si­ty) in Ankara and he is a mem­ber of PEN Turkey and of the Eng­lish PEN. He spends his life in Cam­bridge and in Istanbul.

He wrote his first nov­el “Kuzey” (North) in 2009. He received the Sedat Simavi Lit­er­a­ture Prize in 2011 for “Masum­lar” (The Inno­cents) and was nom­i­nat­ed for the Love Nov­el prize in Verona Italy. He has pub­lished in a col­lec­tion of short sto­ries with “Bir Der­sim Hikâye­si” (A Sto­ry of Der­sim) in 2012, “Bana Adını Söyle” (Tell me your name) in 2014, and “Gezi “. He also won the 2015 Hon­or Prize in Bursa.

En français : “Le prix Václav Hav­el pour l’au­teur Burhan Sön­mez” Cliquez pour lire

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