Oya Baydar

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Oya Baydar
Born (1940-01-01) January 1, 1940 (age 77)
Istanbul, Turkey
Occupation Novelist, story writer

Oya Baydar (born 1940) is a Turkish sociologist and writer.[1] For a long time she was involved in socialist politics.

Education and early works[edit]

She studied at Lycée Notre Dame de Sion Istanbul. She published her first novel, inspired by French writer Françoise Sagan, while she was a student in high school.[2] The novel she wrote in the last year of high school, God Has Forgot Children, was published both in the newspaper Hürriyet and as a book. She was almost expelled from her school as a result of writing this novel. After these novels written in high school years, she had a break from writing, interesting herself in politics for a long time, before returning to literature in later life.

She graduated from Istanbul University's Department of Sociology in 1964 and entered this department as an assistant. The Professors' Council of the University twice rejected her doctoral thesis, about the rise of a labour force in Turkey: students held down the University in order to protest that. That was the first university occupation in Turkey. Baydar then became an assistant in Hacettepe University.

Political life[edit]

During the military coup in 1972 she was arrested due to her socialist activity as a member of the Workers Party of Turkey and the Teachers' Union of Turkey and she left the University. Between 1972 and 1974 she worked as a columnist in the newspapers Yeni Ortam ([New Platform]) and Politika ([Politics]). She issued her first journal together with her husband Aydın Engin and Yusuf Ziya Bahadınlı. She was known as a socialist writer, researcher and activist woman.

During the 1980 military coup she went abroad and remained in exile for 12 years in Germany. There she lived in the falling period of socialist system. She told this period in 1991 in her story book called Farewell Alyosha.

Later life[edit]

She returned to Turkey in 1992. She worked as editor for the Istanbul Encyclopedia, a common project of the History Foundation and the Ministry of Culture, and as the editor in chief for The Unionism Encyclopedia of Turkey. She has won many awards for the novels and stories she published after returning to Turkey, and become a beloved writer. Since 2013 she have been writing for T24 online newspaper specially about kurdish problem.



  • Letters of Cats (Kedi Mektupları), 1993
  • Turning to Nowhere (Hiçbiryer’e Dönüş), 1998
  • Hot Ashes Left (Sıcak Külleri Kaldı), 2000
  • (Erguvan Kapısı), 2004
  • The Lost Word (Kayıp Söz), 2007 - Palavra perdida, published in Brazil, 2011, by Sá Editora
  • The General of Garbage Heap (Çöplüğün Generali), 2009


  • Farewell Alyosha (Elveda Alyoşa), 1991


  • Family Albums of the Republic (Cumhuriyetin Aile Albümleri)
  • From Villages to Cities in 75 Years (75 Yılda Köylerden Şehirlere)
  • (75 Yılda Çarklardan Chip'lere)
  • (75 Yılda Çarkları Döndürenler)
  • Changing Life Changing Person in 75 Years - Fashions of the Republic (75 Yılda Değişen Yaşam Değişen İnsan-Cumhuriyet Modaları)
  • Fashions of the Republic (Cumhuriyet Modaları)
  • The Unionism Encyclopedia of Turkey (Türkiye Sendikacılık Ansiklopedisi)


  • Sait Faik Story Award in 1991 (with Elveda Alyoşa)
  • Yunus Nadi Novel Award in 1993 (with Kedi Mektupları)
  • Orhan Kemal Novel Award in 2001 (with Sıcak Külleri Kaldı)
  • Cevdet Kudret Literature Award in 2004 (with Erguvan Kapısı)