Google Doodle honors the 86th birthday celebration of Turkish critic Oğuz Atay, a pioneer of the modern novel in Turkey with his first novel, Tutunamayanlar (The Disconnected) in 1972, on October 12, 2020.
Who was Oğuz Atay?
Oğuz Atay was born on October 12, 1934, in the Turkish town of Inebolu, a coastal town on the Black Sea in Kastamonu province of Turkey. His most famous novel Tutunamayanlar was published in 1971-72, and his second novel Tehlikeli Oyunlar was published in 1973. The secondary literature, generally in Turkish yet also in German and English, is broad.
Oğuz Atay went to elementary and middle school in Ankara, finished his secondary school education at Ankara Maarif Koleji, and his undergraduate degree at ITU School of Civil Engineering. In 1960 he joined a similar university as a faculty member and became a lecturer at the Istanbul State Engineering and Architecture Academy, yet it was the fiction he wrote in his downtime that came to characterize his heritage.
At the same time, Oğuz Atay proceeded with his teaching career and became an Associate Professor in 1975.
Never republished in Oğuz Atay’s lifetime and controversial among critics, Tutunamayanlar (The Disconnected) has become a best-seller since a new edition came out in 1984. Oğuz Atay’s “Tutunamayanlar” was recognized by UNESCO in 2002 as a significant literary work needing an English translation. It has since been translated into English, Dutch, and German, opening Atay’s fundamental novel to non-Turkish readers around the world.
Indeed three translations have so far been published: into Dutch, as Het leven in stukken (Athenaeum-Polak & v Gennep, 2011); into German, as Die Haltlosen (Binooki, 2016); into English, as The Disconnected, translated by Sevin Seydi: an extract from this won the Dryden Translation Prize in 2008.
Oğuz Atay wrote a few plays, short stories, and a biography. He won the 1970 TRT Novel Award with Tutunamayanlar (The Disconnected) novel. Kastamonu Valiliği has been giving Oğuz Atay Literature awards since 2007.
Oğuz Atay died of a brain tumor on December 13, 1977, before he could finish his last extraordinary project “Türkiye’nin Ruhu”.
On October 12, 2020, Google Doodle, represented by Istanbul-based visitor artist Enes Diriğ, celebrates Oğuz Atay’s 86th Birthday.