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Yaşar Kemal Gökçeli was born in 1923 in Hemite, a hamlet in the province of Adana, in southern Turkey. In 1950 he became a reporter for Istanbul's most important daily newspaper, Cumhuriyet. His articles, which were of an entirely new kind for the Turkish press and have since been published in book form, caused a sensation and won the annual Journalist's Association prize. His first book of stories was published in 1952 under the title Yellow Heat. He then wrote İnce Memed (Memed, My Hawk), which was published in 1955. This first novel was an event both in Turkey and abroad. In Turkey it obtained the newly established Varlık Prize for the best novel of the year and was also chosen as the best-liked novel in a referendum among readers all over Turkey. Abroad the Pen Club International recommended the book to UNESCO who sponsored a French translation. Since then his work has won several awards all over the world and has been translated into many languages. Yaşar Kemal was a member of the Central Committee of the banned Turkish Workers Party. In 1971 he was held in a military prison for twenty-six days, then released without being charged. More recently he was again placed on trial for writing in support of the Kurdish problem.