PEN International elected its new president. The candidates for the presidency of PEN International were Gioconda Belli, Ben Okri and Kurdish writer Burhan Sonmez.
At the end of the ceremony, it was announced that Kurdish writer Burhan Sonmez has been elected as the new president of PEN International.
PEN International reported, “We are pleased to announce that Turkish-Kurdish novelist and human rights lawyer Burhan Sonmez has been elected as our new President. Burhan Sonmez will lead our work and confirm our mission in the next six years. ”
Kurdish writer Burhan Sonmez also thanked as new president of PEN in his article, saying, “I will always carry this responsibility and honor in my heart and mind when I serve as the president of this original organization. . ”
Kurdish PEN Co-Chair Eslxanxan also sent a congratulatory message on the election of Burhan Sonmez as President of PEN International, saying, “Kurdish writer Burhan Sonmez became President of PEN International. We are proud of both the Kurdish PEN and the Kurdish nation, and we are very grateful. ”
The co-chair of the Kurdish PEN says that this is a remarkable achievement in the international arena and in the intellectual field, “we hope to continue this success in every field. We also thank those who helped. Congratulations to PENA International and be kind. Having been in the management of PEN International for many years and has experience, we look forward to continuing to increase the success of PEN International. Hopefully happy. ”
Author Burhan Sonmez was born in a small village in central Turkey, he grew up speaking Kurdish at the time but Kurdish was officially banned, then he learned Turkish at school. In the years after the military coup of 1980 he went to Istanbul to study law. He was expelled from university for his pro-democracy activities and graduated after seven years. He worked as a lawyer in Istanbul for a while. He joined the Human Rights Association and founded the Culture and Arts Foundation for Social Studies (Taksav). After being attacked and injured by police forces, he had to leave the country and settle in Britain. With the help of the Freedom Center he received a long-term treatment from Torture in London.
Although he was interested in poetry and won two awards for his poetry in Turkey, he continued to write novels abroad. His interest in writing grew because of the traditional stories he grew up with. An unparalleled experience growing up in a remote village without electricity, his possession of a talented storyteller mother inspired his writings and provided material.
Burhan Sonmez is the author of five novels. His novels are North (2009), Sinners and Innocents (Sin and Innocence, 2011), Istanbul Istanbul (2015), Labyrinth (2018), Stone and Golge (Stone and Thirty, 2021). His novels have been translated into 42 languages.
Received the 2018 EBRD Literary Award at the United Kingdom. Received the “Distirbing the Peace” award from the Vaclav Havel Foundation in the United States (2017). Sedat Simavi Literary Award in Turkey (2011), Izmir Best Novel Award St. Joseph (2011) stand. Also received the BUYAZ Best Story Award (2015).
Translated by William Blake’s book of poems “Marriage of Heaven and Hell” into Turkish. His writings have been published in various newspapers such as The Guardian, Der Spiegel, La Repubblica. He was a Jury Member of the Cevdet Kudret Literature Prize-2014 and the Geneva 2020 International Film Festival. He has taught literature and novels at ODTU University in Turkey.
Burhan Sonmez is a member of three PEN centers: English PEN, Kurdish PEN and Turkish PEN. He has been a member of the International PEN Board for many years.