Language and Freedom in Literature | Burhan Sönmez

Monday, April 22, 2024, 6:30pm - 8:00pm
Event Sponsor
Abbasi Program in Islamic Studies
Department of Comparative Literature
Middle Eastern Studies Forum
Program on Turkey
Encina Commons
615 Crothers Way, Stanford, CA 94305

Language is the basis of humanity and literature as well as the basis of freedom. If these are separated from each other, not only one but all of them will be in danger. While literature brings people together with language and freedom, it also gives the opportunity to see people and society with new eyes. That's why even the simplest work of art can sometimes be seen as a great danger by the authorities, because it carries a gem in its core, which can be realized as one digs into the ground.

Burhan Sonmez Photo

Burhan Sönmez is the author of six novels. He is president of PEN International and a Senior Member of Hughes Hall College and Trinity College, University of Cambridge. His novels have been translated into forty eight languages and received international prizes, including the EBRD Literature Prize and Vaclav Havel Library Award. He was born in Turkey and grew up speaking Turkish and Kurdish. He worked as a lawyer in Istanbul before going to Britain for political reasons and living there in exile for several years. He has been on the judging panel of several events, including Inge Feltrinelli Prize and Geneva International Film Festival and written for press such as La Repubblica, Der Spiegel and The Guardian. He has translated the poetry book of The Marriage of Heaven and Hell by William Blake into Turkish. Having written five novels in Turkish, he began to write in his mother tongue, Kurdish, with his last novel Lovers of Franz K. He lives between Cambridge and Istanbul.


Burhan Sonmez Language and Freedom Lecture Flier