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AKBAL, Oktay

Writer (b. 20 April 1923, İstanbul). He started his primary education at the Saint Assomption College in Kumkapı, and attended the Saint Benoit College at the last grade. As his father died in 1935, he had to quit this school and attended the İstiklâl High School (1942). He entered İstanbul University, Faculty of Law (1944); then transferred to the Faculty of Arts, Department of Philology at the same university (1946); however, he left it and embarked on writing. He worked as a secretary in the review Servet-i Fünun (Wealth of the Sciences, 1943-44), at the İstanbul Publications Directorate of the Ministry of National Education, and at the translation office of the same ministry in Ankara (1944-51). After writing essays, critiques and daily features in the newspapers Yeni Sabah, İkdam, Ulus and Vatan (1951-69), he worked as columnist in the newspapers Cumhuriyet and Milliyet (1991).

He embarked on literature with short stories. His first works were published in the reviews Ateş and Çocuk Duygusu, and in the newspaper Yeni Sabah (1940). Then, his translations appeared in reviews such as Binbir Roman, Çocuk Haftası, and Yıldız. He started professional writing in 1941. He gained fame in the literary world with the short stories Sahil Kahvesi (The Café by the Sea), Önce Ekmekler Bozuldu (First the Bread was Spoiled), Kibrit Alevi (Fire of Match), and İstasyon (Station) which were published in the review Büyük Doğu (1943-44). His later works appeared in the newspapers Vakit (1944-46) and Sanat-Edebiyat (1947), and the reviews Varlık, Gösteri and Türk Dili.

In his short stories and novels, he told about the tales of despair of the heroes who he had selected from the middle class, in search of liberties which were regarded odd by the society, in a poetic language. Autobiographical traces and memories have an important place in these stories. He received the Turkish Language Association’s Novel Award with his book Suçumuz İnsan Olmak (Our Crime is to Be Human, 1957) in 1958, the Sait Faik Short Story Award with the book Berber Aynası (Mirror of Barber, 1958), and the Sedat Simavi Literature Award in 1993 with the same book.

WORKS:

SHORT STORY: Önce Ekmekler Bozuldu (First the Bread was Spoiled, 1946), Aşksız İnsanlar (People without Love, 1949), Bizans Definesi (The Treasure of Byzantium, 1953), Bulutun Rengi (Color of the Cloud, 1954), İkisi (Both of Them, new edition of his first two story books, 1955), Berber Aynası (Mirror of Barber, 1958, by adding the stories in his book Color of the Cloud, 1999), Yalnızlık Bana Yasak (Loneliness is Forbidden for Me, 1967), Tarzan Öldü (Tarzan Has Died, 1969), İstinye Suları (Water of İstinye, 1973), İlk Yaz Devrimi (Revolution Early in Summer, 1977), İki Çocuk (Tho Children, 1979), Karşı Kıyılar (The Shores Across, second edition of his book “Tarzan Died” with new stories, 1979), Hey! Vapurlar Trenler (Oh! Steamers, Trains, 1981), Lunapark (The Funfair, 1983), Bayraklı Kapı (The Gate with a Flag, the first book of the series of “All Stories”, 1986), Akşam Kuşları (Birds of Evening, All Stories, 1988), Ey Gece Kapını Üstüme Kapat (Oh Night, Close Your Door on Me, 1988), Hücrede Karmen (Carmen in a Cell, 1998).

NOVEL: Garipler Sokağı (The Street of Destitute, 1950), Suçumuz İnsan Olmak (Our Crime is to Be Human, 1957), İnsan Bir Ormandır (Man is a Forest, 1975), İki Roman (Two Novels, “Our Crime is to Be Human” and “Man is a Forest” published in one volume, 1982), Düş Ekmeği (Bread of Dream, 1983), Batık Bir Gemi (A Wrecked Ship, 1997).

ESSAY: Konumuz Edebiyat (Our Subject is Literature, 1968), Yazmak Yaşamak (To Write, To Live, 1972), Ölümsüz Oyun (The Immortal Game, 1974), Atatürk Yaşadı mı (Did Atatürk Live?, 1975), Zaman Sensin (Time is You, 1977), Yaşasın Edebiyat (Long Live Literature, 1977), Gençler Bize Bakıyor (The Youth Watches Us, 1978), Temmuz Serçesi (The Sparrow of July, 1978), Yaşamı Yeniden Kurmak (Re-establishing Life, 1979), Atatürkçülük Savaşı (The Fight for Kemalism, 1981), Atatürk Bir Gün Gelecek (Atatürk Will Come Back Some Day, 1981), Önce Şiir Vardı (First, There was Poetry, 1982), Dünyaya Açılmak (Opening out to the World, 1982), Vatan Mahzun Ben Mahzun (The Homeland is Sad, I am Sad, 1983), Yaşayıp Görmek (Seeing by Living, 1984), Geçmişin İçinden (From Inside the Past, 1985), Yarınlar Hesap Sorar (Tomorrows will Ask about This, 1986), Susmak ve Konuşmak mı? (To Shut up and Speak?, 1987), Tarih En Büyük Yargıç (History is the Greatest Judge, 1987), Bir de Simit Ağacı Olsaydı (Wish There Existed Tree of Crisps, 1990), Yüzyıldır Umutsuzluk (Despair for Centuries, 1991), Senin Adın Aşk (Your Name is Love, 1993), Önce Aşk (Love at First, 1993), Güzel Düşlerin Sonu (End of Beautiful Dreams, 1994), Şarkılarına Kadar Mahzun (Sad up to His Songs, 1997), Sözcüklerle Yolculuk (Travel with Words, 1998).

MEMOIR: Şair Dostlarım (My Poet Friends, 1964), Anı Değil Yaşam (Not Memory, But Life, 1985), Kırmızı Tenteli Tramvay/Babıali'de 50 Yıl (The Tram with Red Awning/Fifty Years in Babıali*-the quarter of İstanbul famous with press and publication-, 1993), Şairlere Ölüm Yok (No Death for the Poets, 1994), Şairler ve Ben (Poets and Me, “No Death for Poets” and “Conversations with Poets published in one volume, 1999), Cüce Çeşme Sokağı Nerde? (Where is the Dwarf Fountain Street, memories and album, 2001).

JOURNAL: Günlerde I (In the Days I, 1968), Anılarda Görmek (Seeing in Memories, 1967-1969; 1972), Geçmişin Kuşları (Birds of the Past, Günlerde-In the Days and Anılarda Görmek-Seeing in Memories published in one volume, 1965-1969; 1974), Yeryüzü Korkusu (The Fear of Earth, 1970-1973; 1974), Anılarda Görmek/Günlük I (Seeing in Memories/Diary I, 1965-1967; 1989), Geçmişin Kuşları/Günlük II (Birds of the Past/Diary II, 1968 -1969; 1994), Yeryüzü Korkusu/Günlük III (The Fear of Earth/Diary III, 1970-1975), 80'lerde Bir Yazar/Günlük IV (An Author in the 80's/Diary IV, 1980-1983; 1994).

TRAVEL LITERATURE: Hiroşimalar Olmasın (No Hiroshimas Shall Happen, 1976).

RESEARCH: Dost Kitaplar (Friendly Books, 1967), Çağdaş Dünya Edebiyatçılar Sözlüğü (A Dictionary of Contemporary Men of Letters in the World, 1967).