Prominent author Elif Shafak shares her desire to give voice to those disempowered by society and explains why opening up public space to multiplicity and diversity of opinions is vital for democracy.

Elif Shafak

Author, London, UK
Culture and Social Cohesion

Elif Shafak is an award-winning British-Turkish novelist and the most widely read female author in Turkey. She writes both in Turkish and English and has published 17 books, 11 of which are novels. Her work has been translated into 50 languages. Her latest novel 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in this Strange World was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and RSL Ondaatje Prize and chosen as Blackwell’s Book of the Year in 2019. Her previous novel, The Forty Rules of Lovewas chosen by the BBC among 100 Novels that Shaped Our World. Shafak holds a PhD in political science and has taught at various universities in Turkey, the US and the UK, including St Anne’s College, Oxford, where she is an honorary fellow. She is a member of Weforum Global Agenda Council on Creative Economy and a founding member of European Council on Foreign Relations. An advocate for women’s rights, LGBT rights, and freedom of speech, Shafak is an inspiring public speaker and twice TED Global speaker. She was awarded the medal of Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. Shafak has judged numerous literary prizes, chaired the Wellcome Prize and is presently judging the Orwell Prize.