American University of Beirut

Orhan Pamuk's Acceptance Speech

June 28, 2008 
It's a great honor to be here, it's such a great distinction. I will be casual and brief.

We write, they say, for two essential reasons: one, to address problems of the heart, our own personal problems, but also problems of humanity.

The magic of literature comes from this duality: When we talk of ourselves, we are also talking of others. And when we talk of others, we are also talking of ourselves.

Two, we also write to address problems of the home. And home can be our parents' home, the homeland, and everything that gives us shelter, peace, and security. We think of the home as something unique and different from any other place.

Here in Beirut, I feel so much at home. That's why this distinction feels so sweet. Thank you.

Orhan Pamuk's photo courtesy of

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