Aziz Nesin

1915 - 1995

Mr. Aziz Nesin, whose real name is Mehmet Nusret Nesin and who represented our country in the world in the field of Turkish Humor Literature, was born in 1915 in Heybeliada island in Istanbul. Mr. Nesin, who has faced great difficulties as well as many awards and successes in his life, wrote many works in the fields of short stories, theater plays, essays, reviews, memoirs and poetry. He died on 6th of July 1995 in Alaçati town of Izmir province, where he went for an interview. The author has married twice and had a total of 4 children.

Aziz Nesin graduated from Military School in 1939 and joined the army as a lieutenant, but was discharged in 1944 on charges of "abuse of duty and authority". He worked as a grocer for a short period and then started journalism in 1945. He published the humor newspaper "Marko pasha" together with Mr. Sabahattin Ali in 1946. In 1947, "Nereye Gidiyoruz?" (Where Are We Going? in turkish) was deemed unsuitable for publication by the authorities hence Nesin was sentenced 10 months in prison and three and half months in exile for this article. He was sentenced to prison again for using a part of the foreword of the book "Marxist Philosophy Lessons" published in the journal "Azizname" in 1948 and "Yeni Bastan" in 1950. Because of the book "Azizname", later he was sentenced again.

Nesin won the Golden Palm Prize with his short story "Kazan Töreni" (Boiler Ceremony) in the International Humor Contest in Italy in 1956. Next year he won this Prize again with the story of "Fil Hamdi" (Hamdi the Elephant).

He established the Nesin Foundation in 1972 in Çatalca district of Istanbul, where it still continues its activities. The purpose of this foundation is to educate orphaned children. All income from the author's books goes to this foundation.

The author also assumed the presidency of the "Turkish Writers' Union" in 1975-1989.

Aziz Nesin survived the Madimak Hotel fire in Sivas city, which was started by an extremist group and 37 people lost their lives while they were attending the Pir Sultan Abdal events in 1993.

According to the world translation bibliography titled Index Translationum published by UNESCO, Aziz Nesin is the fourth most translated Turkish author after Orhan Pamuk, Yasar Kemal and Nazim Hikmet.

The main books of Aziz Nesin, who has more than 100 works, are:

  • Bir Sürgünün Anilari - Memories of an Exile
  • Erkek Sabahat - Sabahat, the Man
  • Fil Hamdi - Hamdi the Elephant
  • Simdiki Çocuklar Harika - Today's Kids Are Great
  • Yasar Ne Yasar Ne Yasamaz
  • Zübük
  • Sizin Memlekette Esek Yok mu? - Is There No Donkey in Your Country?
  • Gol Krali - Goal king
  • Ask Siirleri - Love Poems
  • Çocuklara En Güzel Öyküler - The Best Stories for Children