Recognized by UNESCO as “one of the most important intellectuals of our time,” Livaneli has contributed to the cultural accumulation of Turkey and the world through various media such as music, literature and cinema. The prolific author’s novels and books of thought have been published in 41 countries and have been bestsellers in China, Korea and Germany. Books such as The Last Island, Happiness, Serenade, Serenade and Restlessness, which attracted the attention of the world’s press and international cultural circles, have been well received by American readers.
Zülfü Livaneli’s novels have received many prestigious national and international awards such as the Book of the Year Award in Italy and France, the Barnes and Noble Award, the Balkan Literature Award in the USA, the Yunus Nadi Novel Award, the Orhan Kemal Novel Award and the White Seagull Honor Award in Turkey.
His novels have been used as textbooks at the University of Missouri, and he has given lectures and conferences at universities such as Columbia, Harvard, Princeton, Shanghai, St. Petersburg, and Kazan, as well as at various Turkish universities. Outside of Turkey, master’s and doctoral theses have been written on him at the universities of Moscow, Kazan, and Krakow.
He was a founding member of the Issyk-Kul Forum, organized by Cengiz Aitmatov, with the participation of 20th century literary geniuses and thinkers such as Arthur Miller, Peter Ustinov, James Baldwin and Yaşar Kemal.
In the 1980s, when Turkish-Greek relations were going through a difficult period, Livaneli, an intellectual-artist who was accused of his ideas in 1972, sentenced to prison and lived in exile for many years, became one of the founders of the Turkish-Greek Friendship Association under the influence of the political atmosphere of the time. Between 1996 and 2016, he was a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador. Between 2002 and 2006, he was a member of the Turkish Grand National Assembly.
Zülfü Livaneli, who has an indispensable place in Turkey’s music, culture, ideas and politics, continues his intellectual and literary production in Bodrum, where he still lives.