Theoriginal name of Ya?ar Kemal is Kemal Sad?k Gökçeli. His family from thevillage of Ernis (today Ünseli) near the lake of Van, and he was born in theHemite village of the Kadirli township of Osmaniye in 1926, where he settledafter a long migration due to the Russian occupation of the First World War.His birth year is 1923 in some biographies.
After leaving the secondary school asa senior student, he became an inspector in the field of windlass, wrestling,teacher training, library officer, tractor driving, paddy fields. In thebeginning of the 1940s, he established relationships with left-leaning artistsand writers such as Pertev Nairi Boratav, Abidin Dino and Arif Dino; when hewas 17 years old, he experienced his first detention because of politicalreasons. In 1943 he published his first book, A??tlar, a forklore compilation.
After his military service, he worked as a gas control officer in a French GasCompany in istanbul, where he was in 1946. In 1948, he returned Kadirli, for awhile he was still in control of the rice fields, then served as a prosecutor.He arrested in 1950 because of the assertion about propaganda of Communism.After leaving prison in 1951, he went to Istanbul. Between 1951-63worked as ananecdote and interview writer in the republican newspaper. In 1952, the firstbook of the story Sar? S?cak was published, and in 1955, the novel ?nce Memedwas published which had been translated into more than forty language.
In 1962,he worked as a general board member and a member of the executive board of theTurkish Workers’ Party. He has been prosecuted several times because of hiswritings and political activities. In 1967 he was one of the founders of theweekly political magazine Ant. He participated in the foundation of the Unionof Turkey Writers and assumed the first general presidency between 1974-75.
Hebecame the first president of PEN writers Association which is founded in 1988.He was tried and enforced at The State Security Court in Istanbul because of anarticle he wrote in Der Spiegel in 1995. He was sentenced to 1 year and 8months in prison because another post in Index on Censorship in the same year,but his sentence was postponed. Ya?ar Kemal is the leading name not only in theTurkish novel but also in world literature with his imagination, understandingof the depths of the human soul, and the poetry of his narration.
He hasreceived many awards and honorary doctoral prizes abroad as well as the awardshe has received in Turkey such as International Cino del Duca prize, Legiond’Honneur Grand Officer degree by French Republic and etc. Finally, he had the”Bjorson Prize” of Norwegian Academy of Literature and Freedom of Expressionwhich is given the name of Norwegian famous national poet Bjornstjerne Bjornsonin November, 2013. On February 28, 2015, Ya?ar Kemal died in ?stanbul.