Elif Shafak: Writing the World’s Wrongs
‘As the world becomes increasingly polarized, beset with anxiety, anger and tribalism, it’s time for us to turn to the art of storytelling for wisdom, connectivity and much-needed empathy.’ These are the words of Elif Shafak about her latest non-fiction text, How to Stay Sane in an Age of Division, and they demonstrate the bestselling novelist’s faith in stories to help improve lives.
As a Booker Prize-shortlisted writer whose novels have been translated into over 50 languages, Shafak has risen to astonishing international recognition. Nevertheless, in her native Turkey, Shafak has also seen just how politicised a story can become: following the publication of her novel The Bastard of Istanbul she faced legal action by the Turkish government for ‘insulting Turkishness.’ More recently, her novel 10 Minutes and 38 Seconds in this Strange World was a tender account of the life of a Turkish prostitute. Today Shafak reflects on her work and ideas in a typically wide-ranging and enriching discussion.