Orhan Pamuk Awarded Nobel Prize in Literature

October 12, 2006

Dear Fellow Columbian,

On behalf of the Columbia family, I wish to congratulate our friend and colleague Orhan Pamuk on being awarded the 2006 Nobel Prize in Literature this morning.

A Fellow with the University’s Committee on Global Thought, Mr. Pamuk will also hold an appointment in Middle Eastern and Asian Languages and Cultures and the School of the Arts. He is an internationally acclaimed novelist and memoirist, and we are proud to have him in our community of scholars. According to the Nobel citation, he received the Prize for deriving “new symbols for the clash and interlacing of cultures” in his lifelong “quest for the melancholic soul of his native city,” Istanbul .

In this emerging era of dynamic and profound shifts in our world, Mr. Pamuk reminds us of the central role of place in the formation of character. With works translated in forty different languages, he has touched the hearts of readers everywhere by challenging their understanding of history, myth, and legend.

Mr. Pamuk has spent his life tracing the footprints of time in his native Turkey . We feel honored that when he has needed space for reflection, he has chosen Columbia as his “home away from home.” For three years in the mid-1980s, he sojourned here as a visiting research scholar, and we are fortunate to have him back as a member of our newly formed Committee on Global Thought. We are delighted by this recognition of his personal achievements. We are also proud that Columbia is now home to two new Nobel laureates in a single week.

I hope you will join me in congratulating Mr. Pamuk on his Nobel Prize. The courage he has had to muster in advancing his stories makes us feel fortunate to be members of a community of learning that celebrates excellence and individuality in art.


Lee C. Bollinger