Name
Nedim Gürsel
Country
Turkey / France
Nedim Gürsel was born in Gaziantep, Turkey, in 1951. He studied at the Sorbonne in Paris, writing a doctorate on Nazim Hikmet and Louis Aragon. Gürsel teaches at the Sorbonne and is the director of the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, at which he also works as an editor of Turkish literature.

At an early date, he already published novellas and essays in various Turkish literary magazines. After the coup in 1971, he was held responsible in court for his articles and thus went into exile in France. Gürsel returned to Turkey in 1979, but the military coup in 1980 drove him back into exile in France.

Gürsel's first volume of stories "Uzun Sürmüþ Bir Yaz" (A Never-Ending Summer) appeared in 1976, and it immediately received the highest literary accolade in Turkey, the Turkish Academy Award. This was followed in 1997 by his first novel "Bogazkesen" (The Conqueror), which was also received well internationally. In this novel, Gürsel tells the story of a writer who is so fascinated by his hero, a historical figure – the cruel and yet highly intellectual Sultan Mehmet II – that fiction and reality, past and present become one and his over-identification leads him to become a criminal, too. Initially reading like a highly-colourful historical novel about passion, life and death, the book also proves to be a critical debate concerning the Turkish military dictatorship in the early eighties. Gürsel was accused of high treason in his home country Turkey for this realistic picture of the conqueror Mehmet.

In "Resimli Dünya" (1999; Turbans in Venice), the author brings life to Osmanic culture in its field of conflict with the Italian Renaissance. The literal translation of the original title is "The World with Pictures" and can be read as a reference to the lavish pictorial quality of Gürsel's fantastic novels. The history of Turkey and Europe as well as oriental narrative traditions are the basis of Gürsel's works; today the author is among the most important writers in Turkey, alongside Yasar Kemal and Orhan Pamuk.