Zülfü Livaneli

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Writer, composer, film director.
Member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador
Member of Parliament.

Omer Zülfü Livaneli was born in Ilgin, Turkey in 1946. As a young man, he started a publishing company in Ankara but the political turmoil of the 70's that influenced all intellectuals' lives at the time, reshaped his life too. He was accused for his political views and ideals on a number of accounts. After being held under military detention for three months during the coup of March 12th, he had to leave Turkey and move to Sweden. In Sweden, he studied music and philosophy. After Stockholm, he lived in Paris and Athens, and he returned to Turkey in 1984. Livaneli became one of the most outstanding figures in the cultural, artistic and political life of Turkey. He achieved prominent success not only as a musician but also as a writer and a film director. His compositions, books and films brought him national and international acclaim, and more than 30 international awards. Alongside his brilliant artistic career, Livaneli has been a highly influential political figure for the past thirty years.

Livaneli published his first book 'A Child in Purgatory' (Arafat'ta Bir Çocuk) in 1978. This collection of stories was published in Germany in 1983 and the story that gives the book its title was filmed by Swedish and German televisions. In 2004, Livaneli's stories were published in Iran.
His first novel 'The Eunuch of Constantinople' (Engeregin Gozündeki Kamasma) reinforced his fame as an internationally acknowledged author. It received the Balkan Literary Award in 1997, and it was published in Spain, Korea, Greece, Switzerland and Germany.
In 2001, Livaneli published his second novel 'One Cat One Man One Death' (Bir Kedi, Bir Adam, Bir Olüm) which received the Yunus Nadi Novel Award in Turkey. The book was published in Greece and Serbia in 2002, in Iran in 2004 and in Switzerland in 2005. The publishing rights of the book are held by Gallimard in France and Unionsverlag in Germany.

In 2003, Livaneli published his latest novel 'Bliss' (Mutluluk) which is very well received in Turkey and abroad. It�s recently published in Greece by Patakis and in Sweden by F.Clarkson. It will be published in Italy by Gremese and in France by Gallimard in 2006.
Livaneli has also published a number of books comprising of his short essays and the scores of his compositions. His latest non-fictional work is 'Conversations with Gorbachov on Revolution' (Gorbaçov'la Devrim Üstüne Konusmalar) which consists of his comprehensive interview with Gorbachov and his essays.

In his accomplished musical carrier, Livaneli composed 300 songs, one rhapsody -which was recorded by the London Symphony Orchestra- and one ballet. His songs reached cult proportions on a national scale and they were performed by many internationally known soloists such as Joan Baez, Maria del Mar Bonet, Udo Lindenberg, Maria Farandouri, Haris Alexiu, Kate Westbrook. He also composed 5 theatrical scores and 30 soundtracks including award winning films such as 'The Road' (Golden Palm Award at Cannes Film Festival; Directors: Yilmaz Güney & Serif Goren); 'The Herd' (Directors: Yilmaz Güney & Zeki Okten) and 'Shirin's Wedding' (Director: Helma Sanders Brahms). His albums were released in Spain, USA, Sweden, Germany, Holland and France, and he gave hundreds of concerts all over the world. He produced joint albums and gave concerts with Mikis Theodorakis and Maria Farandouri, and he also worked with Manos Hacidakis, Giora Feidman, Chilean Inti Ilimani and Angel Parra. 'Best Album of the Year' (Greece), 'Edison Award' (Holland), 'Best Album of the Year' (Music Critics Association, Germany), Award for Best Art of Songwriting (San Remo, Italy) are some of the awards that he received.

Livaneli's film career also brought him international success. Livaneli directed three feature films: 'Iron Earth, Copper Sky' (Yer Demir Gok Bakir), 'Mist' (Sis) and 'Shahmaran' (Sahmaran). 'Mist' won him 'The Golden Palm Award for Best Director' at Valencia Film Festival, 'The Golden Antigone' at Montpellier Film Festival, 'The Second Best Film Award' at Antalya Film Festival, and it was nominated as the 'Best Film of Europe' by the European Film Academy. 'Iron Earth, Copper Sky' was selected as 'One of the Best Ten Films of the Year' by the French Critics and it received the OCIC Award at San Sebastian Film Festival. His films were released in many European countries including France, Germany, Switzerland; USA and Japan; and they were sold to many network television companies, among them, the BBC, WDR, Spanish, Canadian and Japanese Televisions.

In accordance with the ideas and ideals that he expressed in his creative works, Livaneli has been nationally and internationally active in promoting human rights, the culture of peace and mutual understanding between people. In 1986, he became one of the founding members of the Issyk Kul Forum initiated by Gorbachov and Chengiz Aitmatov. Being one of the foremost defenders of Turkish-Greek friendship, he founded the Greek-Turkish Friendship Committee together with the Greek composer Mikis Theodorakis. In 1995, he was appointed as a Goodwill Ambassador of UNESCO and the Special Advisor to the Director General in recognition of his contributions to world peace. He still continues to work on UNESCO's Culture of Peace programs worldwide. He gave a series of lectures at the universities of Michigan, Ilinois, Pennsylvania, Stuttgart, Harvard and Princeton.

In 2002, Livaneli was elected as a Member of Parliament from the Republican People's Party (CHP). He is also a member of the Turkish Delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. He is one of the founders of the Turkish-Kurdish peace movement, as well as the initiator of the 'Campaign against Violence' in Turkey, which started in February 1995 and obtained 400.000 signatures within a month. He acted as a mediator during the hunger strikes in prisons in 1996 and 2000. He has been writing editorials for different Turkish dailies since 1989.