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In Jail with Nazim Hikmet by Orhan Kemal

In Jail with Nazim Hikmet

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In Jail with Nazim Hikmet by Orhan Kemal

It's Bursa prison, mid-winter 1940. Two prisoners meet, both writers, both serving long sentences for allegedly inciting Turkish soldiers to mutiny. One is Turkey's most famous poet, Nazim Hikmet. The other is a young, aspiring poet, Orhan Kemal, who now shares a cell with the man whose work he has long admired. In this prison memoir, Orhan Kemal reminisces on the time he shared with the great poet and describes how Hikmet inspired him to become one of Turkey's most popular and successful novelists. In Jail with Nazim Hikmet also includes Kemal's diary entries on Nazim and the latter's correspondence with Kemal after his release from prison in 1943.


A jewel of a memoir - beautifully translated.
Maureen Freely

About the Author

Orhan Kemal (1914-1970) was one of Turkey's most popular novelists. He was found guilty for breach of the penal code during his military service, and served a prison sentence from 1938 to 1943. From 1951 he made his living entirely by writing - often with radical, anti-authoritarian content. His prison memoir, Nazim Hikmet'le A c Bucuk Yul (Three and a Half Years with Nazim Hikmet) was first published in Turkey in 1965. The Idle Years was published by Peter Owen in the UK in 2008. About the translator: Bengisu Rona teaches Turkish language and literature at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London.

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Book Info

Publication date

3rd June 2010


Orhan Kemal

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Saqi Books


160 pages


Literary studies: poetry & poets



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