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Maureen Freely

Maureen Biography

Maureen Freely is a writer with seven novels to her name and many other strings to her bow. Well known as a translator of the Turkish Nobel Laureate Orhan Pamuk into English, she has also translated several classics and works by Turkey’s rising stars. For many years she worked as a journalist in London, writing about literature, social justice, and human rights. As chair of the Translator’s Association and more recently as President of English PEN, she has campaigned for writers and freedom of expression internationally. She is truly, madly, deeply committed to young and emerging writers and translators in this country and involved in a number of initiatives to pave their way into the profession.


  • Current president of English PEN, the founding centre of PEN International.
  • Elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 2012.


She is the author of seven novels:

  • Sailing Through Byzantium (2013)
  • Enlightenment (2008)
  • The Other Rebecca (2000)
  • Mother's Helper (1982)
  • The Stork Club (1995)
  • What About Us (1996)
  • The Parent Trap (2002)
  • Under the Vulcania (1994)
  • The Life of the Party (1986)

The translator of five books by the Turkish Nobel laureate Orhan Pamuk, she is active in various campaigns to champion free expression. She also works with campaigns aiming to promote world literature in English translation. She has been a regular contributor to the Guardian, the Observer, the Independent and the Sunday Times for two decades, writing on feminism, family and social policy, Turkish culture and politics, and contemporary writing.