or Yashar, 1922–, Turkish novelist, b. Kemal Sadik Gögçeli. His rural childhood was marked by poverty and trauma at a mosque at age five he witnessed his father's murder and was blinded in one eye. Dropping out of secondary school, Kemal worked at various menial jobs, and, after settling in İstanbul, became (1951–63) a newspaper reporter and columnist. His debut novel, Memed My Hawk (1955, tr. 1961, film 1987), the first of a series (1969–87), is the tale of a Robin Hood–like Anatolian outlaw and a chronicle of peasant-landowner struggles. It became one of Turkey's most celebrated novels and earned him an international reputation. Mingling realism with fantasy and folklore, Kemal is a prolific and highly political storyteller who concentrates on tales of rural Anatolia. His other novels include The Wind from the Plain (1960, tr. 1963), Iron Earth, Copper Sky (1963, tr. 1974), The Undying Grass (1968, tr. 1977), Seagull (1976, tr. 1981), and Salman the Solitary (1998). He is also known for his short stories and essays. A leftist of Kurdish ancestry, Kemal was arrested several times for political activities and in 1995 was jailed following publication, in Germany, of an article condemning Turkey's oppression of its minority Kurds.
See B. Tharaud, ed., Yaşar Kemal on His Life and Art (1999).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
See more Encyclopedia articles on: Asian Literature: Biographies
Browse by Subject
- Earth and the Environment +-
- History +-
- Literature and the Arts +-
- Medicine +-
- People +-
- Philosophy and Religion +-
- Places +-
- Australia and Oceania
- Britain, Ireland, France, and the Low Countries
- Commonwealth of Independent States and the Baltic Nations
- Germany, Scandinavia, and Central Europe
- Latin America and the Caribbean
- Oceans, Continents, and Polar Regions
- Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece, and the Balkans
- United States, Canada, and Greenland
- Plants and Animals +-
- Science and Technology +-
- Social Sciences and the Law +-
- Sports and Everyday Life +-