What Keeps Orhan Pamuk Up at Night
Orhan Pamuk is a Turkish novelist who in 2006 won the Nobel Prize in Literature. He is the author of novels including The White Castle, The Black Book, The New Life, My Name Is Red, Snow, The Museum of Innocence, and A Strangeness in My Mind.\r\n
He is the Robert Yik-Fong Tam Professor in the Humanities at Columbia University, where he teaches writing and comparative literature. Pamuk holds honorary doctorates from the Free University of Berlin, Tilburg University, Boğaziçi University, and Georgetown, and his books have been translated into more than fifty languages.\r\n
Question: What keeps you up at night?
Orhan Pamuk: That...is it beautiful? Is it good enough? Is that chapter good? Now, unfortunately, will the museum be good enough? Is it good? It's always the idea that -- it's self-criticism worries me. Most of the time, and I mean... is it good enough? Is it interesting enough? Am I addressing -- am I telling the truth? Am I authentic, or am I posing? This kind of thing upsets me. I'm very worried about being pretentious or inauthentic, or just writing for the sake of writing. So I am also a dreadful maniac; I write all the time. Whenever I have a nervousness or tension, I pull out a notebook and write some things in it. I like that, and it calms me down. Sometimes I draw, sometimes I write, and that makes me happy.
A gnawing habit of sense-criticism and anxiety over authenticity keep the Nobel Prize winner up at night.
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