Ferit Orhan Pamuk (born 7 June 1952) is a Turkish novelist, screenwriter, academic and recipient of the 2006 Nobel Prize in Literature.
Where do you write?
I have always thought that the place where you sleep or the place you share with your partner should be separate from the place where you write. The domestic rituals and details somehow kill the imagination. They kill the demon in me. The domestic, tame daily routine makes the longing for the other world, which the imagination needs to operate, fade away. So for years I always had an office or a little place outside the house to work in. I always had different flats. But once I spent half a semester in the U.S. while my ex-wife was taking her Ph.D. at Columbia University. We were living in an apartment for married students and didn’t have any space, so I had to sleep and write in the same place. Reminders of family life were all around. This upset me. In the mornings I used to say goodbye to my wife like someone going to work. I’d leave the house, walk around a few blocks, and come back like a person arriving at the office. Ten years ago I found a flat overlooking the Bosporus with a view of the old city. It has, perhaps, one of the best views of Istanbul. It is a twenty-five minute walk from where I live. It is full of books and my desk looks out onto the view. Every day I spend, on average, some ten hours there.
Ten hours a day?
Yes, I’m a hard worker. I enjoy it. People say I’m ambitious, and maybe there’s truth in that too. But I’m in love with what I do. I enjoy sitting at my desk like a child playing with his toys. It’s work, essentially, but it’s fun and games also.
The Paris Review, Fall/Winter 2005
Regarding the process behind A Strangeness in My Mind:
When you were talking through the city doing research for this novel, what did you notice had changed the most?
I walk in the city all the time. It’s not because of research; it’s a lifestyle. I like it. I belong to that city every time. You walk around to see your friends, to see your publisher, you go to an exhibition. I like my city. I belong there. The saddest thing would be to be cut away from it. I’ve lived all my life in Istanbul. Yes, I’ve had some bad political times and am now teaching at Columbia—I got this job eight years ago because I was pressured too much in Turkey. I’m happy spending one semester here because of all the tension, living with a bodyguard, the political tension—I get a little bit of a break here. I also like the museums and bookshops in New York. It’s relaxing.
Do you also do a lot of exploring of other cities on foot?
Exploring other cities as a tourist—I like that. And since I made a museum, the Museum of Innocence, I am also determined to go to every single possible museum in a new city.