Hurriyet Daily News - Culture - 18 October 2011


Kemal’s novels now available in Chinese


Three novels of well-known Turkish author Orhan Kemal have been translated into Chinese under the auspices of TEDA, a Culture and Tourism Ministry project to publish Turkish cultural, artistic and literature works in other languages.

Three of Kemal’s novels, “Avare Yıllar” (Idle Years), “Cemile” and “Baba Evi” (My Father’s House) were translated into Chinese as part of the project. Some 33 of his books have been translated into 13 languages so far.

Speaking to Anatolia news agency, Kemal’s son, Işık Öğütçü, said the view that holds that “if you want to know the people of a country, you need to read the realistic writers of that country” was common, and that the works of his father were still valid today.

Speaking about the significance of the Translation Subvention Program of Turkey (TEDA) project that was initiated by the ministry in 2005, Öğütçü said: “Publishing houses around the world have discovered Orhan Kemal and his novels have been translated into 13 languages. If you have works on important issues, they draw attention.”

He said Kemal’s novels drew attention because they depicted real life and social relations and were easy to read.

“All the novels that have been translated are his autobiographical novels. In these books, the life of my family – actually the life of ordinary people – is revealed. They are very special to me because they tell us about us,” Öğütçü said.

Isik Ogutcu said Kemal’s novels had so far been translated into Greek, Italian, Spanish, Hebrew, English, Arabic, Albanian, Bulgarian, Urdu, Serbian, Russian and German.

In “Baba Evi,” Kemal recounts the first years of his childhood and youth under the family pressure; “Avare Yıllar” relates the idle years of a poor, young person, while “Cemile” illustrates the hard conditions of factory laborers through the story of a girl working for a textile factory and a clerk who wants to marry her.

“Kemal’s books have been presented to Chinese readers by China International Radio Press [CHIRP] through the translation of Yongmin Xia, Tang Jiankun and Yin Tingting,” Öğütçü said.

Kemal, who was born in the southern province of Adana in 1914 and died in Sofia, Bulgaria, in 1970, is known for his realist novels. His first poem was published in the journal Yedigün.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011