Turkish poet and author Murathan Mungan became the proud recipient of the annual Erdal Öz Literary Award on Thursday when he was honored with the 2012 prize at a ceremony at İstanbul’s Pera Museum.
Mungan is one of the most prolific and versatile authors in contemporary Turkish literature, publishing more than 45 works including poems, short stories, plays, novels, essays and screenplays since the start of his career in 1980.
The 56-year-old Mungan was deemed worthy of the award for the “creativity, innovativeness and skill he has displayed as a playwright, poet, short story writer, novelist and essayist for more than 30 years,” the award committee announced during the evening ceremony in the Pera Museum’s auditorium, the Anatolia news agency reported.
In his acceptance speech, Mungan said he was glad to be the recipient of the award, given in memory of the late author and publisher Erdal Öz, whom Mungan knew personally.
“I first met Öz in 1973. Back then I was working at a bank in [Ankara’s] Kızılay quarter and Öz used to run a bookstore nearby. During my lunch breaks I would often go to his bookstore; speaking with Öz about books was a great pleasure. Many people may become writers, or they may take a liking to literature, but being a true enthusiast of literature is unfortunately not a trait we see too often. I have always revered people who are committed to literature with love and devotion,” Mungan said.
“I hope my works have served as anchors to my readers, who have … been my anchor all along,” Mungan added.
Öz, who died in 2006 at the age of 71, founded the Can Publishing House in 1981. The Erdal Öz Literary Award was established in 2008 by Öz’s family, who now run the İstanbul-based publishing house. The award, given to a living writer who has had a work published in the last three years, consists of a cash prize of TL 15,000 and a statuette designed by sculptor Handan Börüteçene.
Previous recipients of the prize include poets Gülten Akın and Şavkar Altınel as well as novelist İhsan Oktay Anar.