İstanbul preparing for Tanpınar bash in autumn

Ahmet Hamdi Tanpınar, the 20th century Turkish author who is known to have fretted about being overlooked during his life, is finally -- albeit posthumously -- expanding his boundaries. Tanpınar came under the spotlight last year when the English translation of his 1949 novel “Huzur” was released in the US under the title “A Mind at Peace.” Thanks to the Culture and Tourism Ministry funding translation projects, Tanpınar’s works are now widely translated into other languages. The author of “Saatleri Ayarlama Enstitüsü” (The Time Regulation Institute), one of the most acclaimed novels in modern Turkish literature, gained more recognition last year when the organizers of an international literature festival launched in İstanbul decided to name their festival after Tanpınar, an author often associated with the city. 

If you are a fan of Tanpınar’s work and at the same time an avid İstanbul lover, you might want to leave room in your calendar this autumn for Tanpınar-related events as there will be not one but two events focusing on the author in late October. The İstanbul Tanpınar Literature Festival (İTEF), organized by the Kalem Literary Agency, will be held from Oct. 30 to Nov. 2, with around 70 authors from 30 countries expected to attend. The theme of this year’s event is “The City and The Human,” the organizers announced this week during a press conference. The four-day fair, set to get under way with an opening ceremony at the Çırağan Palace Kempinski, will host well-known Russian writer Vladimir Makanin, Dutch novelist Arnon Grunberg and Egyptian author Gamal el-Ghitani, among others. 

The annual TÜYAP İstanbul Book Fair will mark its 29th year on the same dates as the literature festival, and Tanpınar will be right at the heart of the fair as its theme for 2010 is “Writing about İstanbul.” Moreover, an international symposium on Tanpınar is listed among the events at this year’s fair. The symposium, a joint effort by Mimar Sinan University of Fine Arts and the Culture and Tourism Ministry, is expected to draw all the translators and editors of Tanpınar’s pieces and Turkish and foreign specialists focusing on Tanpınar’s body of work. Tanpınar’s writings have been translated into more than 30 languages.