Saturday, July 29, 2017


Cihangir, Beyoğlu - İstanbul - Turkey

GPS : 41°01'50.0"N 28°59'00.8"E / 41.030556, 28.983556

Orhan Kemal Literature Museum photo orhankemal_museum105.jpg


The Orhan Kemal Literature Museum (Turkish: Orhan Kemal Müzesi) is a literary museum and archive in Istanbul, Turkey dedicated to Turkish literature, and named after novelist Orhan Kemal (1914–1970).

Esrablished with the support of Orhan Kemal Culture and Arts Center, the museum is situated in a five-story building in Cihangir neighborhood of Beyoğlu. On display are photographs about his private life taken by Ara Güler, family photographs, original first edition of his books, his private letters, critics, articles and dissertations about his works. His study room contains his typewriter and many other personal belongings. His death mask is also exhibited in the museum. The building houses a bibliothek and a cafeteria for visitors.

Orhan Kemal (15 September 1914, Ceyhan, Adana – 2 June 1970, Sofia, Bulgaria) is the pen name of Turkish novelist Mehmet Raşit Öğütçü. He is known for his realist novels that describe the life of the poor in Turkey. Orhan Kemal was born in Adana, Ceyhan, on 15 September 1914. He was the son of Abdülkadir Kemali Bey, who was a Member of Parliament and Minister, and Azime Hanım, who was an intellectual secondary school graduate.

Kemal's father was obliged to flee Turkey for Syria, due to his party being suspected of involvement in a recent revolt, where Kemal remained with him for a year before returning to Adana in 1932. Kemal worked as a labourer, a weaver and as a clerk in a cotton mill. While doing his military service in 1938 his political opinions led to his being sentenced to a 5-year term of imprisonment.

The charges included "reading the works of Maxim Gorky and Nazim Hikmet" and "propagandising for foreign regimes and encouraging revolt". While in prison in Bursa he was the cellmate of Hikmet, who was his major literary influence. He had been writing poems until he met Hikmet. With his encouragement, he switched to stories. After being released from prison in 1943 he returned to Adana, working as a labourer, and beginning to publish his writings.

Although he started as a writer of poetry he soon began to publish stories, from 1943 under the adopted name Orhan Kemal. Following the birth of his third child (of four) Kemal moved his family to Istanbul in 1951 where he worked again as a labourer and then from 1951 as a clerk at the Tuberculosis Foundation, living with little money and all the time writing.

He was arrested again in 1966 for "forming a communist propagandist cell" but was released two months later after the charges could not be substantiated. Orhan Kemal, (Mehmet Raşit Öğütçü) writer of short stories and novels was born in Adana in 15.09.1914  and died in Sofia due to intracranial hemorrhage in 02.06.1970. His father, Abdülkadir Kemali, was an MP from Kastamonu during the first term parliament of the Turkish Republic.

Abdülkadir Kemali, a lawyer by profession, established The Ahali Party which was dissolved causing its founder to have to flee to Syria. In order to accompany his father, Orhan Kemal had to miss his final year of secondary school. Orhan Kemal stayed in Syria for a year, returning to Adana in 1932. He worked as a laborer, weaver and clerk in cotton gin mills.

During his military service he was sentenced to 5 years imprisonment for his political opinions. Bursa prison became a turning point in his life and art work as he met Nazım Hikmet who greatly influenced him. On his release in 1943, Orhan Kemal, moved to Istanbul (1951), where he worked as a labourer, a vegetable transporter and then as a clerk for the Tuberculosis Foundation. From 1950 onwards he tried to live upon the income gained from writing. Orhan Kemal died in Bulgaria. His body was returned to Turkey and buried in Zincirlikuyu cemetery.

Orhan Kemal's stories and novels generally depict the lives of ordinary working people trying to hold on to their dignity in conditions of poverty or deprivation. His first poem was published in Yedigün under the name of Raşit Kemal (Duvarlar 25.04.1939) Further poems written under the same pen name are Yedigün and Yeni Mecmua 1940. On meeting Nazım Hikmet, Kemal wrote under the name of “Orhan Raşit” (Yeni Edebiyat 1941) Impressed by Nazım Hikmet, Kemal concentrated on stories as opposed to poems. His first story,

“Bir Yılbaşı Macerası”, was published in 1941. In 1942 he adopted the name Orhan Kemal when writing stories and poems in Yürüyüş. He found fame through stories in Varlık in 1944, his first collection of short stories “Ekmek Kavgası”, and first novel “Baba Evi”, was published in 1949. Early works depicted characters form the immigrant quarters of Adana Kemal described the social structure, worker employer relationships and the daily struggles of petty people from industrialised Turkey.

He aimed to present an optimistic view through the heroes of his stories. He never changed his simple exposition and thus became one of the most skilful names of Turkish stories and novels. He also wrote film scripts and plays including “İspinozlar” and “Kardeş Payı”. Dramatisations have been made of his novels and stories including “Murtaza”, “Eskici Dükkanı”.

His play about life in prison in the 1940s “72.Koğuş” (Cell 72) has been made as a feature film twice, most recently in 2011, starring well-known actors Hülya Avşar and Yavuz Bingöl. He also wrote a story named "Hanımın Çiftliği" (English, Lady's farm) which took a major success in Turkish history of soap operas.

The Orhan Kemal Literature Museum and library dedicated to Kemal and his work is to be found in the modest flat in which he lived at 30 Akarsu Caddesi, Cihangir, Istanbul. After his death a literary award was established in his name, the Orhan Kemal Novel Prize, given since 1972.


WEB SITE : Orhan Kemal Literature Museum

E-Mail :
Phone : +90 212 292 9245 - +90 212 292 1213
Fax : +90 212 243 6782

These scripts and photographs are registered under © Copyright 2017, respected writers and photographers from the internet. All Rights Reserved.

1 comment:

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