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Her books have been published in more than 40 countries, [ 4 ] and she was awarded the honorary distinction of Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters in She writes fiction in both Turkish and English. Her writing draws on diverse cultures and literary traditions, reflecting a deep interest in history, philosophy, Sufism, oral culture, and cultural politics.

She incorporated her mother’s first name, which means Dawn, with her own when constructing her pen name. She has lived around the qjaranta -Boston, Michigan, Arizona, Istanbul and London- and her writing has thrived upon these journeys.

Le quaranta porte by Elif Shafak on Apple Books

She sees herself as not just migrating from country to country, city to city but language to language, even in her native Turkish she believes she plays to the vocabularies of different cultures. Through it all she has maintained a deep attachment to the city of Istanbul, which plays an shhafak part in her fiction.

As ,e result, a sense of multiculturalism and cosmopolitanism has consistently characterized both her life and her work.

In the Huffington Post she defended the cosmopolitan ideal as follows: Her second novel in English, The Bastard of Istanbulwas the bestselling book of in Turkey and was longlisted for the Orange prize. If convicted, she would have faced a maximum jail term of three years. According to The Guardian”[ The Bastard of Istanbul ] is perhaps the first Turkish novel to deal directly with the massacres, atrocities and deportations that decimated the country’s Armenian population in the last years of Ottoman rule.


The latent reason is deeper and more complex. I have been active and outspoken on various ‘taboo’ issues, critical of ultranationalism and all sorts of rigid ideologiesincluding those coming from the Kemalist elite, and I have maintained a public presence on minority rightsespecially on the Armenian question. It is a whole package. The book was received with great interest and acclaim by critics and readers alike, and became an instant bestseller.

Her nonfiction work covers a wide range of topics, including belonging, identity, gender, mental ghettoes, daily life politics, multicultural literature and the art of coexistence. She is an active social media figure with 1. She was awarded the honorary distinction of Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters in And in a city like Istanbul they mix intensely, incessantly, amazingly.

You open that, only to see a new doll nesting. It is a hall of mirrors where nothing is quite what it seems. One should be shafam when using categories to talk about Istanbul.

In The Forty Rules of Loveshe tackles the subject head on with a modern love story between a Jewish-American housewife and a modern Sufi living in Amsterdam.

Their unusual story is set against a historical background that narrates the remarkable spiritual bond between Rumi and Shams Tabrizi. She said in an interview given to The Guardian”The more you read about Sufism, the more you have to listen. In time I became emotionally attached. When I was younger I wasn’t interested in understanding the shafaak.


I only wanted to change it, through feminism or nihilism or environmentalism.

But the more I read about Sufism the more I unlearned. Because that is what Sufism does to you, it makes you erase what you know, what you are so sure of.

Le Quaranta Porte – Elif Shafak

And then start thinking again. Not with your mind this time, but with your heart. Her writing has always addressed minorities and subcultures, such post-colonialism and post-feminism, and in particular the role of women in society. Following the birth of her daughter in she suffered from postpartum depression, a period she then addressed in her memoir, Black Milk: First, it deals with postpartum depression and shows that mother’s milk is not always as white and spotless as society likes to think it lle.

Second, out of that depression I was able to get an inspiration; out of that black milk I was able sjafak develop some sort of ink. I want to see this change.

Far beyond that, democracy is a culture of inclusiveness, openness, human rights and freedom of speech, for each and every one, regardless of whichever party they might have voted for.

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Elif Shafak

The New York Times. Motherhood is sacred in Turkey”. The Sydney Morning Herald. Independent Foreign Fiction Prize”. This article may be written from a fan’s point of viewrather than a neutral point of view. Please clean it up to conform to a sgafak standard of quality, and to make it neutral in tone.

Postmodernismhistorical fictionmagic realismliterary fiction.