Ali, Sabahattin

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Ali, Sabahattin

Sabahattin Ali, 1907–48, Turkish fiction writer. During his lifetime he was best known for his popular and realistic short stories, many of which were concerned with the plight of Turkey's poor. His story collections include Değirmen [the mill] (1935) and Kağni [the oxcart] (1936). He also wrote novels, poetry, and newspaper articles and edited a satirical magazine. The left-wing beliefs embodied in his work made it controversial, and his political writings caused him to be imprisoned a number of times; he was murdered near the Bulgarian border as he fleeing Turkey. His semiautobiographical novel, Kürk Mantolu Madonna (1943, tr. Madonna in a Fur Coat, 2016), the story of a sensitive young Turkish man in 1920s Berlin and the independent and unsentimental woman he loves, touched a nerve in 21st-century Turkey, becoming an improbable best seller.

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