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20 December 1915
|Died||6 July 1995 (aged 79)|
|Occupation||Writer and humorist|
|Vedia Nesin (m. 1939-48)|
Meral Çelen (m. 1956-67)
Aziz Nesin (pronounced ['aziz 'ne.sin ]; born Mehmet Nusret,¶ 20 December 1915 – 6 July 1995) was a Turkish writer, humorist and the author of more than 100 books. Born in a time when Turks did not have official surnames, he had to adopt one after the Surname Law of 1934 was passed. Although his family carried the epithet "Topalosmano?lu", after an ancestor named "Topal Osman", he chose the surname "Nesin". In Turkish, Nesin? means, What are you?.
Generally going by the name "Aziz Nesin", the name "Aziz" was originally his father's nickname, used by Nesin for the pseudonym under which he started publishing. He wrote under more than fifty noms de plume, such as the pseudonym "Vedia Nesin", his first wife's name, which he used for love poems published in the magazine Yedigün.
Nesin was of Crimean Tatar origin. He was born in 1915 on Heybeliada, one of the Princes' Islands of Istanbul, in the days of the Ottoman Empire. After serving as a career officer for several years, he became the editor of a series of satirical periodicals with a socialist slant. He was jailed several times and placed under surveillance by the National Security Service (MAH in Turkish) for his political views.
Nesin supposedly provided a strong indictment of the oppression and brutalization of the common man. He satirized bureaucracy and "exposed economic inequities in stories that effectively combine local color and universal truths". Aziz Nesin has been presented with numerous awards in Turkey, Italy, Bulgaria and the former Soviet Union. His works have been translated into over thirty languages. During latter parts of his life he was said to be the only Turkish author who made a living only out of his earnings from his books.
On 6 June 1956, he married a coworker from the Akbaba magazine, Meral Çelen.
In 1972, he founded the Nesin Foundation. The purpose of the Nesin Foundation is to take, each year, four poor and destitute children into the Foundation's home and provide every necessity - shelter, education and training, starting from elementary school - until they complete high school, a trade school, or until they acquire a vocation. Aziz Nesin donated to the Nesin Foundation his copyrights in their entirety for all his works in Turkey or other countries, including all of his published books, all plays to be staged, all copyrights for films, and all his works performed or used in radio or television.
Aziz Nesin was a political activist. After the 1980 military coup led by Kenan Evren, the intelligentsia was oppressed. Aziz Nesin led a number of intellectuals to rebel against the military government, by issuing the Petition of Intellectuals (Turkish: Ayd?nlar Dilekçesi). He was the President of the Türkiye Yazarlar Sendikas? (Turkish Writers' Union).
He was also a critic on Islam. In the early 1990s, he began a translation of Salman Rushdie's controversial novel, The Satanic Verses. This provoked outrage from Islamic organizations, who were gaining popularity throughout Turkey, who then tried to hunt him down. On July 2, 1993 while attending a mostly Alevi cultural festival in the central Anatolian city of Sivas, a mob organized by Islamists gathered around the Madimak Hotel, where the festival attendants were accommodated. After hours of siege, the intruders set the hotel on fire. After flames engulfed several lower floors of the hotel, firetrucks managed to get close, and Aziz Nesin and many guests of the hotel escaped. However, 37 people were killed. This event, also known as the Sivas massacre, was perceived as censorship, and human rights in Turkey were allegedly disrupted at that time. It also deepened the rift between fundamentalist Muslims and those that they regard as infidels.
He devoted his last years to combating religious fundamentalism. Aziz Nesin died on 6 July 1995 due to a heart attack, after a book signing event in Çe?me, ?zmir. After his death, his body was buried at an unknown location in land belonging to the Nesin Foundation, without any ceremony, as requested in his will.
Several of Nesin's works have been published in English translation.
Istanbul Boy: The Autobiography of Aziz Nesin (Turkish title: Böyle Gelmi? Böyle Gitmez) is a multi-volume autobiography by Turkish writer Aziz Nesin published by University of Texas Press and Southmoor Studios, in English language translation by Joseph S. Jacobson.
Dog Tails is a long story collection by Turkish writer Aziz Nesin republished in 2000 by Southmoor Studios, in Spanish language translation by Joseph S. Jacobson.
Memoirs Of An Exile (Turkish title: Bir Sürgünün Hat?ralar?) is an autobiographical memoir by Turkish writer Aziz Nesin about his exile to Bursa, republished in 2001 by Southmoor Studios, in English language translation by Joseph S. Jacobson.
Hayri the Barber Surnâmé (Turkish title: Surnâme) is a novel by Turkish writer Aziz Nesin republished in 2001 by Southmoor Studios, in English language translation by Joseph S. Jacobson.
Out of the Way! Socialism's Coming! (Turkish title: Sosyalizm Geliyor Savulun!) is a 2001 selection of three stories from a short story collection by Turkish writer Aziz Nesin, published by Milet Books, in a dual of the original Turkish and an English language translation by Damian Croft, as part of its series of Turkish-English Short Story Collections.
The publisher states that, "In these hilarious and entertaining stories, the legendary Aziz Nesin turns his uniquely incisive, satirical wit on shifting ideologies, bureaucracy and the question of who's really (in)sane: the ones locked up or the ones outside."
A review in Write Away states that, "These are thought provoking parables of our time," that, "take the mickey out of bureaucracy and political ideology and hypocrisy," and "should leave readers laughing and thinking."
The volume consists of the stories;
For an English-only edition of the full collection, see below under Socialism Is Coming: Stand Aside.
The Dance of the Eagle and the Fish is a children's book adapted by English writer Alison Boyle from the short story of the same name by Turkish writer Aziz Nesin and published in 2001 by Milet Books, in English language translation by Ruth Christie.
Socialism Is Coming: Stand Aside (Turkish title: Sosyalizm Geliyor Savulun!) is a short story collection by Turkish writer Aziz Nesin republished in 2002 by Southmoor Studios, in English language translation by Joseph S. Jacobson.
The Tales of Nasrettin Hoca (Turkish title: Nasrettin Hoca Hikayeleri) is a short story collection by Turkish writer Aziz Nesin based on the folk tales of Nasrettin Hoca republished in 2002 by Dost Yay?nlar?, in English language translation by Talât Sait Halman.
Laugh or Lament: Selected Short Stories is a 2002 short story collection by Turkish writer Aziz Nesin published by Turkish Ministry of Culture, in English language translation by Masud Akhtar Shaikh, with an introduction by the translator.
The volume consists of the stories;
^¶ According to Nesin's autobiography Memoirs of an Exile: "They named me Nusret. In Turkish, this Arabic word means 'God's Help.' It was a name entirely fitting to us because my family, destitute of any other hope, placed all their hope in God."