Orhan Kemal (1914 - 1970)


Orhan Kemal was a prolific author. His accessible, precise diction shows his position on the language issue. He wrote eleven boohs of short stories, including Ekmek Kavgasi (The Struggle for Bread, 1949), Sarhoslar (The Drunkards, 1951), Camasircinin Kizi (The Laundress's Daughter, 1952), Grev (Strike. 1954) and Once Ekmek (Bread First, 196S), and several novels. Any selection of his stories could easily place him among the masters of the short story in world literature. Either The Struggle for Bread or Bread First would be enough to prove his accomplishment as a short story writer.

Orhan Kemal came upon the scene following a generation of socially-concerned short story writers, in particular Sabahattin ALI. His concern for the dismal conditions of life in ghettos, the experiences of prisoners and working class people, particularly factory workers and their children, is unmatched. Realism in his stories is more than a literary device; it determines interior --and exterior form. He had no difficulty finding subjects and characters. His main qualities are a fast-moving style, true-to-life naturalism, depiction of the lives of people living on the edges of society, fluid diction and skillfully crafted dialogue. In his stories Orhan Kemal realistically portrayed the life of people in shantytowns around cities, of workers and labourers, children, women in despair and prisoners with clear, direct language. The main subject of many of his novels was love of humanity.