Thursday, December 22, 2005

It looks like Orhan Parmuk's trial may be thrown out. That would be a huge relief. But other Turkish authors/editors/journalists still face imprisonment:
An Istanbul editor is to appear before a court here over a novel by a Greek author that prosecutors say is insulting to the Turkish nation, a spokeswoman for the publishing company said on Wednesday.

Abdullah Yildiz of Literatur publishers risks up to three years in jail for "denigrating the Turkish national identity" by publishing The Witches of Smyrna by Greek novelist Mara Meimaridi, Eylem Ozcimen, the spokeswoman, said.

The novel, which is in its 25th printing since it appeared in Turkish in October 2004, tells the story of a Greek woman who uses magic spells to find suitors and climbs the social ladder in the western Turkish city of Izmir (Smyrna in Greek) during the last years of Ottoman rule.

In our own country, immigration officials have denied a Chinese author, Yiyun Li's, petition to become a permanent US resident. The USCIS rejected the claim that she is an artist of "extraordinary ability," even though she's
had stories published in prestige magazines such as the New Yorker and the Paris Review. She's won the Pushcart Prize and the Plimpton Prize for New Writers. Random House has signed her to a $200,000, two-book contract, which Executive Editor Kate Medina calls -- in what qualifies as a serious understatement -- "most unusual" for a literary writer at this stage of her career. Her first book, a story collection called "A Thousand Years of Good Prayers," was published this fall to wide praise.
She has appealed the USCIS' decision, and should get her answer in a few weeks.
"Things change a lot," as a character in one of Li's stories says. "Within a blink a mountain flattens and a river dries up. Nobody knows who he'll become tomorrow."

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