PEN Sweden has awarded the Tucholsky Prize to Aslı Erdoğan, novelist, columnist and Publishing Consultant Board member of the closed daily newspaper Özgür Gündem. Erdoğan has been under arrest since September 19.
The prize was awarded to Erdoğan owing to the “new kind of authorship she has created and the language she used in order to tear down the prison of those little truths”.
About the Tucholsky Prize
Since 1984 Tucholsky Prize has been awarded by PEN Sweden in commemoration of the German writer and journalist Kurt Tucholsky, who fled Germany, took shelter in Sweden and committed suicide while waiting for his residence permit there.
The prize is awarded to writers who fight for peace and press freedom under difficult circumstances in their countries or in exile.
Salman Rüştü, Teslime Nesrin, Samir El Yusuf, Yvonne Vera, Faraj Sarkoohi and Asiye Guzel from Turkey are among the winners of the prize thus far.
About Aslı Erdoğan
Born in Istanbul, she graduated from Robert College in 1983 and the Computer Engineering Department of Boğaziçi University in 1988. She worked at CERN as a particle physicist from 1991 to 1993 and received an MSc in physics from Boğaziçi University as a result of her research there. She began research for a PhD in physics in Rio de Janeiro before returning to Turkey to become a full-time writer in 1996. Aslı Erdoğan was detained on 17 August 2016 during the police raid on pro-Kurdish daily, Özgür Gündem for being a member of the Advisory Board of the newspaper.
Her first story The Final Farewell Note won third prize in the 1990 Yunus Nadi Writing Competition. Her first novel, Kabuk Adam (Crust Man), was published in 1994 and was followed by, Mucizevi Mandarin (Miraculous Mandarin) a series of interconnected short stories in 1996. Her short story Wooden Birds received first prize from Deutsche Welle radio in a 1997 competition and her second novel, Kirmizi Pelerinli Kent (The City in Crimson Cloak), received numerous accolades abroad and has been published in English Language translation.
She was the Turkish representative of International PEN's Writers in Prison Committee from 1998 to 2000. She also wrote a column entitled The Others for the Turkish newspaper Radikal, the articles from which were later collected and published as the book Bir Yolculuk Ne Zaman Biter (When a Journey Ends) and featured in the 2004 edition of M.E.E.T.'s journal.
She is widely traveled and has an interest in anthropology and Native American culture.
From December 2011 to May 2012, at the invitation of the Literaturhaus Zurich and the PWG Foundation, Erdoğan was Zurich's "writer in residence". (NV/DG)
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