Burhan Sönmez

Burhan Sönmez

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Burhan Sönmez is a prize-winning novelist. His first novel, North (Kuzey), was published in 2009 in Turkey. His second novel, Sins and Innocents (Masumlar), was published in 2011. His third novel, Istanbul Istanbul, was published in 2015.

Sins and Innocents has received the Sedat Simavi Literature Prize, a most prestigious literature award in Turkey. It got nominated for the "Writing for Love" Literary Prize in Italy in 2014.

His novels are being published in more than twenty countries such as by Gallimard (France), OR Books (USA), btb Random House (Germany), Turbine (Denmark), Nottetempo (Italy), Polirom (Romania), Klimaty (Poland), Dituria (Albania), Antares (Armenia), Thaqafa (Arabic), Lis (Kurdish), Opus (Croatia), Hohe (Ethiopia), Joshua Könyvek (Hungary), Jumhoori (Pakistan), Nepko (Mongolia), Del Vecchio (Italy), Evro Giunti (Serbia), Qanun (Azerbaijani), A.Libris (Macedonia).

Burhan Sönmez was born in Turkey. He grew up speaking Turkish and Kurdish, then later moved to Istanbul where he worked for a time as a lawyer. He was member of Human Rights Society (IHD) and a founder of TAKSAV (Foundation for Social Research, Culture and Art). He was seriously injured following an assault by police in 1996 in Turkey and received treatment in Britain for a long period of time (with the support of the Freedom from Torture.)

Even though he was interested in poetry and won awards in two national poetry competitions in Turkey, he turned his hand to writing novel. His interest in writing, storytelling and modern literature is rooted in the traditional stories and legends he was brought up with. His unique experience of growing up in a remote village with no electricity, and having a talented storyteller for a mother, has provided perspective, inspiration and material for his writing.

He has written for various newspapers and magazines, such as daily BirGün and L'Unita and monthly Birikim and "Notos", on literature, culture and politics. He was a member of judging panel for 2014 Cevdet Kudret Literature Prize.

He lectures in Literature and Novel at the METU (Middle East Technical University).

He is member of Turkish PEN and English PEN.

He now lives in Cambridge and Istanbul.