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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