> Skip to content
  • Published: 1 December 2016
  • ISBN: 9781784703745
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 368

Memed, My Hawk

A classic of Turkish literature, originally published in 1955, this novel won the Varlik Prize, the highest literature award of Turkey

Memed grows up a serf to a vicious overlord on the thistle-clad plains of Turkey’s Taurus region. When his plan to escape is dashed, and the young woman he loves murdered, Memed makes for the mountains to become an outlaw. Before long he has transformed from a young rebel to an infamous bandit, the scourge of corrupt oppressors and hero to the poor. With vividness and simplicity, Kemal's classic novel evokes the fierce beauty of his country and the struggles of its oppressed people.

  • Published: 1 December 2016
  • ISBN: 9781784703745
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 368

About the author

Yashar Kemal

Yashar Kemal (1923 - 2015) was born on the cotton-growing plains of Chukurova, which feature in his The Wind from the Plain trilogy. His championship of poor peasants lost him a succession of jobs, but he was eventually able to buy a typewriter and set himself up as a public letter-writer in the small town of Kadirli. After a spell as a journalist, he published a volume of short stories in 1952, and then, in 1955, his first novel Memed, My Hawk won the Varlik Prize for best novel of the year. His highly distinguished literary career continued in this vein; his work won countless prizes from all over the world and has been translated into several languages. Kemal was a member of the Central Committee of the banned Workers' Party, and in 1971 he was held in prison for 26 days before being released without charge. Subsequently, he was placed on trial for action in support of Kurdish dissidents. Among the many international prizes and honours he received in recognition of his gifts as a writer and his courageous fight for human rights, were the French Légion d'Honneur and the Prix du Meilleur Livre Etranger, as well as being nominated for the Nobel Prize for Literature. Kemal was Turkey's most influential living writer and, in the words of John Berger, "one of the modern world's great storytellers".

Also by Yashar Kemal

See all

Praise for Memed, My Hawk

A beautiful novel in the old, glorious tradition of heroic storytelling.


'A masterpiece'.

New Statesman

'A tale that assumes epic proportions and gathers speed to rush to a spectacular climax'.

Daily Telegraph

It has that insiders feelings for man, the oppressed, labouring animal ... you might find in Tolstoy, Hardy or Silone. The author never loses his freshness, an ability to pick on details as though see for the first time.


Yasham Kemal achieves the Russian quality - an intimacy of detail which makes his etching indelible, more selected, and therefore more obvious than life ... the book is a small, sharp, moving epic of Turkish soil

Sunday Telegraph

'Here again is that directness and that fierce poetry which one knew in the old heroic stories, and a hero in whom one can have such faith and trust that one can bear to read his torments knowing that he is strong enough to endure them. This is a beautiful and passionate book. It has been most ably translated'.

Glasgow Herald

One of the great modern epics


[Kemal was] trying to find, to create, in his own country, a language for millions and millions of people whom no one's ever heard of, whom no one has ever spoken for, and who cannot speak

James Baldwin

'A remarkable novel, reminiscent of Hardy in its power and scope'.




Related titles