Abasiyanik is considered the Mark Twain of Turkish literature

Turkey remembers Sait Faik Abasiyanik, a pioneer of modern Turkish literature, on Monday on the 66th anniversary of his death.

Abasiyanik was born on November 18, 1906 in the northwest of Sakarya province to businessman Mehmet Faik and Makbule Hanim.

While attending primary school in Sakarya, Abasiyanik continued his education at the Boys High School in Istanbul and then in Bursa Province in the northwest.

He wrote his first short story titled Silk Handkerchief and two other pieces as a student.

After graduating in 1928, Abasiyanik returned to Istanbul and submitted his news to various newspapers and magazines.

From September 9 to 23, 1923, some of his stories were published in the Hur newspaper.

His short story, Kites, was published in the Milliyet newspaper on December 9, 1930. Abasiyanik did not collect any of these pieces in a book.

He enrolled in the Department of Turcology at Istanbul University in 1928 but under pressure from his father went to Switzerland to study economics in 1930. He left school and lived in France from 1931 to 1935.

After returning to Turkey, he taught Turkish at the Armenian Halicioglu School for Orphans. Following his father’s wishes, he went into business but failed.

During this time his Memories of France were published in Varlik magazine in 1936. He also published his first history book titled Semaver in the same year with financial support from his father.

In 1939, Abasiyanik published his second book titled Cistern, which consisted of 16 stories. In the book, he wrote about his childhood and adolescence in Adapazari and Bursa and observations on his life in Istanbul and abroad.

Spending quite idle years, Abasiyanik wrote a few plays between 1940 and 1948.

In 1948 he published a book called Redundant Man, which consists of short stories mainly about his idle years.

Abasiyanik’s style, his later life and death

Abasiyanik was diagnosed with cirrhosis in 1948. Although he consulted doctors often, he decided to travel to France in 1951 for treatment after his illness worsened.

He returned to Istanbul soon after.

The renowned author enjoyed the most productive days of his writing career during his illness. That same year, his books Cloud in the Air, Company and Poolside were published.

The theme of death begins to appear in his writings. He published Last Birds in 1952.

In 1953, his novel, In Search of a Missing Person, and a book of poetry called It’s Time to Love, were published.

In 1954, There was a serpent in Alemdag was published as well as his translated book entitled Act of Passion by Georges Simenon.

He became an honorary member of the International Mark Twain Society of St. Louis, Missouri on May 14, 1953.

“This means that from now on, a local short story writer will be selected from all corners of the world to join a company created to commemorate world-class short story writers,” he said of the award.

Abasiyanik died on May 11, 1954 in Istanbul.

Abasiyanik, author of many short stories, novels, poems, translations and interviews, has merged all these genres with his unique style.

He had a style that reflected his immediate ambitions, creating a milestone in modern Turkish literature.

Influenced by names such as French writer André Gide, poet Comte de Lautréamont and novelist Jean Genet, Abasiyanik created his own original language and served as a guide for many Turkish writers.

A history prize is also awarded each year in the name of the author, whose house on the island of Burgaz near Istanbul was turned into a museum after his death.

This article has been adapted from its original source.

Ann G. Starbuck