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Elif Shafak speaker

Elif Shafak

London, UK

Turkey's best-selling female author

Knowledgeable and inspirational speaker on issues of equality, identity, new humanism and spirituality in the 21st century, the politics of Turkey, the Middle East and Europe

Influential social media activist with over 1.7 million Twitter followers

Elif Shafak is Turkey’s most-read woman writer and an award-winning novelist. She writes in both English and Turkish, and has published fifteen books, ten of which are novels, including: The Bastard of Istanbul, The Forty Rules of Love, Honour, The Architect’s Apprentice and her genre-crossing memoir Black Milk. Her books have been translated into more than forty languages.

Elif blends Western and Eastern traditions of storytelling, bringing out the voices of women, minorities, subcultures, immigrants and global souls. Defying cliches and transcending boundaries, her work draws on different cultures and cities, and reflects a strong interest in history, philosophy, culture, mysticism, intercultural dialogue and gender equality.

Elif is regularly invited to give talks at major universities, corporations, international organisations, festivals and charities both in the UK and across the world.

As well as being an acclaimed novelist, she is also a political scientist and commentator. She holds a degree in International Relations, a master’s degree in Gender and Women’s Studies and a PhD in Political Science. She has taught at various universities in the UK, USA and Turkey.

Elif has written for several international daily & weekly publications, including The Financial Times, The Guardian, The New York Times, Die Zeit, La Repubblica,The Independent, Newsweek and Time.

She is a TED Global speaker, a member of Weforum Global Agenda Council on Creative Economy and a founding member of ECFR (European Council on Foreign Relations).

Honours and awards include: International Rising Talent, 2009; Ambassador of Culture Action Europe Campaign, 2010; Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Lettres; longlisted for the Orange Prize (2008); longlisted for MAN Asian Prize (2012); shortlisted for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize; longlisted for the IMPAC Dublin awards. She sat on the judging panel for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize (2013); for the 10th Women of the Future Awards (2015); two consecutive years for the Sunday Times Short Story Award (2014, 2015), and FT/Oppenheimer Funds Emerging Voices Awards (2015, 2016). In 2016 Elif sits on the judging panel for The Baileys Women’s Prize For Fiction.


Our Comment

"An eloquent and deeply inspiring speaker, Elif has a powerful way of weaving world affairs into the art of storytelling. She engages with different audiences remarkably well, moving from personal-human stories to intellectual, political and sociological analyses. Creativity, innovation, storytelling, coexistence, multiculturalism, "east meets west", a new spirituality in a new age, women, and the future of Turkey, the Middle East and Europe are among the many themes she talks and writes about."

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