ÖMER FARUK: Born in Adana in 1954, Ömer Faruk worked in various jobs unrelated to his education before beginning his literary and publishing career. In 1987, he was awarded the second place prize for his piece on Orhan Pamuk’s Beyaz Kale [White Castle] in the Abdi İpekçi Arts Contest (category: Story and Novel Criticism) organised by Milliyet Sanat magazine. Ömer Faruk’s last stomping ground was Ayrıntı Publishing House, which he co-founded and served as Editor-in-Chief of from 1987 to 2008. During his tenure, he launched a new series that he named ‘underground literature,’ proposing a new conceptualisation of a kind of intellectual violence against conservative values buttressing the establishment. He witnessed with pleasure that this proposal—for the first time in the history of literature—found acceptance. As part of this series, Ömer Faruk published Marquis de Sade’s La Philosophiedans le Boudoir [Philosophy in the Bedroom, Yatak Odasında Felsefe] in Turkish, 207 years after its original publication. However, the copies were confiscated, and the book was put on trial. Ayrıntı Publishing House was handed a court verdict ordering that all copies of the book must be burned. After a lengthy appeals process, the verdict was reversed due to a former procedural error on behalf of the court, and La Philosophiedans le Boudoir gained its freedom on Turkish soil.
After this, Ömer Faruk published Georges Perec’s La Disparition [A Void, Kayboluş], which challenged the disciplinarian grammar of writing. La Disparition had been written without using the letter ‘e’ —the most common vowel in French— and thanks to translator Cemal Yardımcı’s genius, it was translated into Turkish again without using the letter e. This feast of creativity, of which there are few examples in the world, was attacked with impunity by Radikal Newspaper on the front page. The newspaper’s justifications for the attack were both flippant and ignorant. Yet, despite the fact that each and all of its justifications turned out to be baseless, the newspaper did not apologise.
Ömer Faruk again reaped the fruits of his success in publishing when Ayrıntı was selected as Publishing House of the Year by Dünya Kitap magazine in 2000. Additionally, in 2004, Ömer Faruk received Turkish Publishers Association’s Freedom of Thought and Expression Award as Ayrıntı’s Editor-in-Chief. Altogether, he contributed to the publication of more than 500 titles in 20 years and helped in placing millions of books in readers’ hands. Erkal Ünal reviewed this process in the encyclopaedic Modern Türkiye’de Siyasi Düşünce [Political Thought in Modern Turkey]: “Its evaluation depends on how you look at it, but the Publishing House has contributed considerably to the flourishing of a leftist understanding beyond Trotskyism in the sense of an opposition to the Stalinist left—and one which is also in touch with anarchism.”
After parting ways with Ayrıntı Publishing House, he began to on his own works. His book Yarabıçak was awarded a special certificate of appreciation by the essay competition held in memory of Melih Cevdet Anday.
Ömer Faruk’s articles and essays have been published in various magazines and newspapers such as Birikim, Evrensel Kültür, Kızılcık, Milliyet Sanat, Red, Varlık, Birgün, Hürriyet, Radikal and Taraf. He has a daughter and is the author of a children’s book, Defne Ağacı ve Orman Kardeşliği [The Daphne Tree and Friendship in the Forest] (Yapı Kredi Publishing, 2012). He has also published an article titled “Aşk ve Ereksiyon ‘Aşk’ı” [Love and Erection ‘Love’] (published in Haneke Huzursuz Seyirler Diler; ed. NilgünTutal, Exlibris, 2014); a collective work on Michael Haneke, one of the most anomalous, uncompromising, contrarian directors of European cinema; Yarabıçak – Banka Soymuş Bir Devrimcinin Samimi İtirafları [Yarabıçak—Confessions of a Revolutionary Who Robbed A Bank] (İthaki Yayınları, 2014), a collection of essays; as well as the articles “Don’t Fall in Love with the Power!” and “Desert as the Presence of an Absence,” both of which were included in Dışarıdan Düşünmek [Thinking from the Outside] (ed. Ömer Faruk, Chiviyazıları, 2016), a collective work on philosophy, politics and art from the perspectives of Deleuze and Guattari.