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This event is part of our online Book Club series, in which we’ll be delving between the covers to examine the merits of a carefully chosen and remarkable book. You are invited to join in, as host Alex Clark settles down with a writer or fellow book lover for an entertaining evening of sparkling chat. If possible, do read the book in advance for maximum enjoyment.  

‘Today, more than ever before, literature has to be not only about stories but also about silences and the silenced. It has to become a sanctuary for the disempowered and the marginalised across the world.’ – Elif Shafak 

In 2019, Elif Shafak was threatened with a trial for obscenity for daring to write about gender violence and child abuse in her moving and urgent novel 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in this Strange WorldYet whilst shining a light on social issues, told from the point of view of a fatally injured sex worker, and considered controversial by the Turkish regime, this tender book is a love letter to Istanbul 

Join our ever-brilliant honorary patron Elif for March’s Book Club event, where she’ll be in conversation with writer and broadcaster Alex Clark to explore this extraordinary novel. 

Further Reading Recommendations:

  • How to Stay Sane in an Age in Division, Elif Shafak 
  • The Bastard of Istanbul, Elif Shafak 
  • The Forty Rules of Love, Elif Shafak 
  • ‘We need to tell different stories, to humanise the other’, Elif ShafakThe Guardian 
  • Collection of Elif’s articles online here

Author Biography

Elif Shafak is an award-winning British-Turkish novelist. She has published 18 books, 11 of which are novels. Her work has been translated into 54 languages. Her latest novel 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in this Strange World was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and RSL Ondaatje Prize; and chosen Blackwell’s Book of the Year. Shafak holds a PhD in political science and she has taught at various universities in Turkey, the US and the UK, including St Anne’s College, Oxford University, where she is an honorary fellow. 
Shafak is a Fellow and a Vice President of the Royal Society of Literature. An advocate for women’s rights, LGBTQ+ rights and freedom of speech, Shafak is an inspiring public speaker and twice TED Global speaker. In 2017 she was chosen by Politico as one of the twelve people “who will give you a much needed lift of the heart”. Shafak has judged numerous literary prizes, chaired the Wellcome Prize, and is judging the PEN Nabokov Prize.