Behiç Ak was born in 1956 in the city of Samsun on Turkey’s Black Sea coast. He is a well-known cartoonist and author. He has also directed documentary films. Ak studied architecture at İstanbul Yıldız University and İstanbul Technical University. Architectural education helped him to develop a better awareness and deep understanding of people, social life, and the world we are living in. His different way of looking at people, nature, urban space, buildings and objects – in short, everything that surrounds us – is reflected with a humorous and responsible style throughout his works. Since 1982 Behiç Ak has been drawing a daily comic strip, “Kim Kime Dum Duma” (Everybody for himself!), for the well-known newspaper Cumhuriyet. His comic books have been published in Turkey and Germany.
His comic strips have been exhibited in several cities throughout Turkey as well as in the Netherlands, Switzerland and Germany. Ak has been writing and illustrating children’s books since 1986. His large collection of children’s books includes children’s novels as well as colorfully illustrated story books for early readers. He has so far written and illustrated 38 children’s books all of which are attracting attention with their philosophical background and are continuously making re-prints. His children’s books are being published in Turkey by the leading children’s and YA fiction publisher GÜNIŞIĞI KİTAPLIĞI. He also has a picture book collection of 6 titles published by CAN YAYINLARI. His illustrated children’s books are not only published in Turkey but also in Japan, Korea, Germany and China. Being a talented and successful cartoonist, Ak’s illustrations are as powerful and colorful as his stories. Some of his picture books were first published in Japan by well-known Japanese publishing houses such as GAKKEN, FUKIANKAN SHOTEN, KAGYUSHA. To date, Ak is the bestselling Turkish author in Japan.
In addition to his books, his cartoon strip story Mau Mio Mi has also been published for a year by GAKKEN Publishing House in Yoiki No Gakhuşu Journal, Japan. Bilingual editions of some of his children’s books have been published in Turkish-German, German-English and German-Russian versions. Behiç Ak has written a number of plays, the internationally most well-known being Fay Hattı (Fault Line), staged by both state and private theatres in many cities throughout Turkey and also outside Turkey, in cities such as Stuttgart, Munich, Berlin / Germany, New York / USA, Nicosia / Cyprus, Athens /Greece, Zürich / Switzerland, Antwerp / Belgium and Amsterdam/The Netherlands. The documentary film he produced and directed in 1994, named Türk Sinemasında Sansürün Tarihi – Siyahperde (The History of Censorship in Turkish Cinema – Black Screen) received the “Best Documentary Film” award in the same year at Ankara Film Festival.
In 2012, the 30th year of Ak’s career, he was awarded with the “Achievement and Contribution in Architecture Prize” given by The Union of Turkish Engineers and Architects for the consistent support he has given to environmental and architectural issues through his comic strips, books and plays. Same year, Günışığı Kitaplığı, published a selection of his comic strips about children in a special album crowning the artist’s 30th year as a cartoonist. Behiç Ak, voiced his love for Istanbul in a documentary named “Behiç Ak and the City at the Tip of His Pen”, shoot by İZ TV, the most important documentary channel of Turkey. (2013, “Faces of İstanbul” Documentary Series) He supports the preservation of historical values of the mega-city (Bosporus Ferries, Haydarpaşa Train Station, transportation to and on the Princess Islands, etc.) with an activist enthusiasm and through his children’s books, he cares about making his young readers also to think about these values. Ak, worked on printmaking at IMOGA in 2018.
In 2019, Behiç Ak was honored by Ankara – Çankaya Municipality as an important cultural figure of Turkey, with a big exhibition opened in Zülfü Livaneli Cultural Center, covering examples from his works. Ak is nominated by IBBY Turkey for Astrid Lindgren Memorial Awards in 2014 and 2021, as well as Hans Christian Andersen Award for 2022, which are the most prestigious international children’s and young adult literature awards.