When The Clock Strıkes Tanpınar

If you are an Istanbul lover and an admirer of Ahmet Hamdi Tanpınar, now’s the time. Because for a few days all clocks are set to Tanpınar.

Ahmet Hamdi Tanpınar is both a poet and a writer of refinement, culture and a philosophical bent. This ‘man of reverie’, who approached people and events from his own unique perspective, left his personality, experience and sensibilities like an imprint on every work he produced. Tanpınar’s aesthetic taste, which was influenced by that of Yahya Kemal Beyatlı, who defined his world of thought by saying, ‘I am the future rooted in the past’, is also related to that of Ahmet Haşim. With his poetry, novels, essays, and literary history and criticism, Tanpınar is among the most outstanding writers of Turkish literature. All he’s cracked up to be in other words. And ‘iTEF’, the Istanbul Tanpınar Literature Festival’, is an opportunity, albeit brief, to get to know him better.

One of Turkey’s first literary festivals, iTEF is being held this year for the second time. Seventy writers from thirty countries have been invited to the event, which starts at the end of October and runs through November 2nd. Vladimir Makanin, one of the leading names in contemporary Russian literature, Gamal Gitani, spiritual heir to Egypt’s Nobel laureate Naguib Mahfouz, Arnon Grunberg, whose novel, ‘Tirza’, was selected one of the best of the 21st century, and Sandy Tolan, who has reached tens of thousands of readers with her ‘Lemon Tree’, are just a few of the festival’s noteworthy names.

The ‘International Ahmet Hamdi Tanpınar Symposium’ ranks first among iTEF’s important events. Realized through a cooperation between the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and the Turkish Language and Literature Department of the School of Science and Literature of Mimar Sinan University of the Fine Arts, the symposium was planned under the leadership of Assoc. Prof. Dr. Handan inci.
Supported by the consulates and culture centers of close to twenty countries, among them Egypt, England, France, Holland, Italy and Rumania, iTEF 2010 includes an ‘Istanbul Writers Meeting’ through a cooperation with Winternachten, one of the world’s leading literary festivals. Tanpınar and Istanbul will be discussed at the meeting, to be moderated by Gündüz Vassaf.

Despite being recognized late, Ahmet Hamdi Tanpınar’s works have already been translated into more than thirty languages. Those who want to know him better should set their clocks now for this brief encounter. Highly recommended…