Lila Azam Zanganeh in Columbia Magazine:
In 2005 Pamuk was already one of Turkey’s most prominent writers, a novelist whose cherished writing routine was blissfully uninterrupted by the trappings of his modest literary fame. In February of that year, in the course of an interview with a Swiss newspaper, he said, “Thirty thousand Kurds and 1 million Armenians were killed in these lands, and nobody but me dares to talk about it.” It was a fateful remark. Four months later, under a new law, Pamuk was retroactively charged in his native Istanbul with “insulting Turkishness.” He risked up to three years in prison. The case provoked worldwide outrage, especially in the European Union, and under increasing pressure, a Turkish court dropped the charges in February 2006. By then, Pamuk had become an international figure, known more for his free-speech battle than for books like Snow (2002), praised by John Updike as having taken “the courage that art sometimes visits upon even its most detached practitioners,” or Istanbul: Memories and the City (2003), a reflection on the soul of his birthplace. In May 2006 he appeared on the “Time 100: The People Who Shape Our World” list in Time magazine, under the category “Heroes and Pioneers.” Then, in October — just when it seemed his political profile might forever outstrip his artistic one — he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.