It’s a slight volume but Ahmet Altan’s memoir I Will Never See the World Again packs a powerful punch. Each of its short essays was smuggled out of the prison where Altan serves – and continues to serve – a life sentence.
Ahmet Altan was imprisoned by Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s regime in Turkey, during a period in which writers and anyone critical of the state have been persecuted. The book is a testament to the human spirit, and the spirit of a writer, as Altan is able to return to books held in his memory and to keep writing. The short chapters in this book are wide-ranging, from observations about his life in prison and the corrupt judicial system, to studies of other people that he encounters, their fears, hopes and dreams.
An important book, then, and one which has been championed by author and human rights lawyer Philippe Sands. The book also speaks to other writers, A. L. Kennedy declaring ‘Read this – it will explain why you ever read anything, why anyone ever writes.’
But what did Kate’s book club make of it? Listen in to find out.
- A Strangeness in my Mind by Orhan Pamuk
- A Day in the Life of Yvan Denisovich by Alexander Solyenitzhn
- The Myth of Sisyphus by Albert Camus
- Birds Without Wings by Louis de Bernières
Read more about Ahmet Altan and support the PEN International campaign to free him.
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