O.Z. Livaneli, one of Turkey’s most prominent and popular authors, will offer two special presentations and book signings during a Jan. 15-16 visit to Missouri Southern State University.

O.Z. Livaneli

O.Z. Livaneli

Livaneli will speak at 9:30 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 15, and again at 10 a.m. Friday, Jan. 16, in Webster Hall’s Corley Auditorium. He will sign books and answer questions from 11 to 11:45 a.m. and 1 to 1:50 p.m. on Thursday by the fireplace on the third floor of Spiva Library; and from 9:30 to 10 a.m. and 1 to 1:50 p.m. Friday in Corley Auditorium.

His 2002 international bestseller, “Bliss,” was selected as the common read for the University Experience 100 course for the 2014-15 year. The novel tells the story of Meryem, a young girl sentenced to death because she is believed to have dishonored her family; Cemal, a soldier who returns from fighting to find that he’s been given the task of killing his cousin; and Professor Irfan, a well-known intellectual in the midst of an existential crisis whose path intersects with the others.

“The novel was relatable in terms of a coming-of-age experience,” said Wendy McGrane, director of Spiva Library. “There were lots of opportunities to develop talking points that were meaningful to a range of students.”

“Bliss” has been published in several countries, including the United States, France, Germany and Italy. Acclaimed Turkish director Abdullah Oguz adapted the novel into a movie in 2007.

Livaneli is considered one of the most outstanding figures in the cultural, artistic and political life of Turkey. His novels have been adapted into films, stage plays and operas. He is also known for his contemporary music – he has composed some 300 songs and in 1997 performed a concert for 500,000 people in Ankara, Turkey.

He has been nationally and internationally active in promoting human rights and the culture of peace. He was appointed as Goodwill Ambassador of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization in 1995; as a member of Parliament in the Republican People’s Party in 2002; and was awarded France’s highest distinction, the Legion d’Honneur, in 2014.

Missouri Southern is only the third university the author has visited. He spoke at Harvard in 2000 and again in 2006, and at Princeton in 2006.