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Orhan Pamuk, Nobel Laureate, Lies Low at Columbia

Orhan Pamuk — Turkish novelist, soon-to-be visiting Columbia professor — won the Nobel Prize in literature this morning. As with last year's crowning of vehemently anti-Bush Harold Pinter, the Swedes seem to be making a sidelong political point: Pamuk was put on trial last year for — of all things — "insulting Turkishness" after giving an interview in which he mentioned the Armenian genocide and discussed the plight of Turkey's Kurds. Actually, the award is a bit of a boon for Turkey, which in January dropped the charges against Pamuk as a show of the "social progress" needed for membership in the European Union. But it's an even bigger boon for Columbia, where Pamuk has been working and studying, and where he'll start teaching classes next year.