Elif Shafak: Most-Read Female Author in Turkey

On Thursday, Jean Feraca will talk with Elif Shafak, an acclaimed Turkish writer. Shafak, who writes in English and Turkish, is the author of ten books, eight of which are novels.  Her novels have been translated into more than 30 languages. In her works, Shafak explores a number of issues. She writes about the East and West, motherhood,  feminism, tradition, rationalism, Sufism, and cultural ghettos.  Morever, she addresses the different aspects of her identity that include being a woman, a Muslim, a Turk, an author, and a mother. For Shafak, literature, specifically, can play in important role in breaking through cultural walls to help us recognize and embrace our differences.

Shafak’s work is not without controversy. The Bastard of Istanbul, her second novel in English, became a bestseller in Turkey and brought her under prosecution. The allegations against her maintained that she insulted “Turkishness” when one of the characters in the novel refers to the death of Armenians in 1915 as a genocide. If she had been found guilty, she would have faced up to three years imprisonment.  The charges were dismissed.

Her most recent novel The Forty Rules of Love, written in English  and published in 2010, has become a record bestseller in Turkey. Elif Shafak is considered to be the most-read female author in Turkey.

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One thought on “Elif Shafak: Most-Read Female Author in Turkey

  1. I respect your initiative to take Islamic women and Islamic people * the word Muslim is not exactly from any source close to Islamic * to try to break the cycle and the tags which have been put on my religion.It seems the overall notion is that Islam is a religion stuffed with mysterious religious zealots who even if didn’t plant a bomb,have a general alienation to society.And even more strange out of nowhere belief is that well,unlike all people under other religions in the world,we are dogmatically religious,and we don’t have people who like liberal talks and basically that Islam defines all our understanding of culture *if i died my hair pink and spiked it up, people will generally believe its impossible I am a Muslim,the irony*.What people also forget is that we are a large amount of people from different nations.Pakistan and middle east don’t just make up all the Muslims in the world.Our religion is part of our heritage,pretty much like i could be a Christian if my dad was.It doesn’t necessarily mean,as a teenager I’m enrolled in with a mullah in a religious school till I am 12,and having a poster of osama bin laden as a rock star*just saying,for example*.At the same time,that does not make me any special to say I am a “liberal Muslim” and so I am different than the others.I don’t get it.There are pastors who are technically fundamental pretty much how a mullah would be for Islam, doesn’t mean the guy supports terrorism.At the same time being a Muslim women for me,does mean its impossible that i could have a bon jovi t-shirt and blue hair.People forget we are one-fourth of the population in the world,and we are people.We have friends,life,crushes,famous bands we idolize,and just because all of us cannot possibly be shown on t.v , doesn’t mean we don’t represent Islam.Why do people forget this?

    We existed before 2001.We have lives apart from what terrorism may be on and up to.We don’t like being assumed as creatures of outer space.Yes, Islam is part of my heritage,i grew up with it,and i have no problems with my religion. Doesn’t mean I’m “different” than the rest because i happen to look more out of a punk band magazine than a terrorist report in Afghanistan.If i don’t support female mutilation and terrorism, don’t have any issues with not wearing a hi jab,does not mean I’m not an Islamic follower.Does not mean I am any different than the one- fourth population of the world or similar.I am a human being. I’m no more or less special.Why aren’t Muslims all over the world apart from Saudi Arabia or Pakistan allowed to have a voice?why a mad psychopath can claim great knowledge of Islam,and make it sound like a brainwashed sect of people on one ideology, is willing to be heard and accepted,whatever his status but a woman like me with a thousand things that make up her life including Islam and she is proud of it will never be given a voice because it doesn’t fit the genre?I feel like a Jew in Germany during Hitler’s time.And no,i have no trouble with Jews, Christians or atheists or any label we may live under,there is more to us.We are people.

    BTW,the main reason i commented was if i could help.I can help in writing,getting information and giving understanding of regular joes under Islam. I appreciate your initiative,and this seems to have much more authority than any blog i could write on.This of course will be out of pure volunteering and under your terms.So,can i help?

    farooquishireen@gmail.com