Elif Shafak

Elif Shafak

Profile

Elif Shafak was born in Strasbourg, France, in 1971. She is an award-winning novelist and the most widely read woman writer in Turkey. Critics have named her as “one of the most distinctive voices in contemporary Turkish and world literature”. Her books have been translated into more than forty languages and she was awarded the honorary distinction of Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters.

Shafak has published twelve books, eight of which are novels. She writes fiction in both Turkish and English. Shafak blends Western and Eastern traditions of storytelling, bringing out the myriad stories of women, minorities, immigrants, subcultures, youth and global souls. Her work draws on diverse cultures and literary traditions, as well as deep interest in history, philosophy, Sufism, oral culture, and cultural politics. Shafak’s writing breaks down categories, clichés, and cultural ghettoes. She also has a keen eye for black humor.

Shafak's first novel, Pinhan (The Mystic) was awarded the "Rumi Prize" in 1998, which is given to the best work in mystical literature in Turkey. Her second novel, Şehrin Aynaları (Mirrors of the City), brings together Jewish and Islamic mysticism against a historical setting in the 17th century Mediterranean. Shafak greatly increased her readership with her novel Mahrem (The Gaze), which earned her the "Best Novel-Turkish Writers' Union Prize" in 2000. Her next novel, Bit Palas (The Flea Palace), has been a bestseller in Turkey and was shortlisted for the Independent Best Fiction Award.

Shafak wrote her next novel in English. The Saint of Incipient Insanities was published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Her second novel written in English is The Bastard of Istanbul, which was the bestselling book of 2006 in Turkey and was longlisted for the Orange Prize. The novel, which tells the story of an Armenian and a Turkish family through the eyes of women, brought Shafak under prosecution but the charges were ultimately dismissed.

Following the birth of her daughter in 2006 she suffered from post-natal depression, an experience she addressed in her first autobiographical book, Black Milk. In this book Shafak explored the beauties and difficulties of being a writer and a mother. The book was received with great interest and acclaim by critics and readers alike, being an instant bestseller.

Shafak's next novel focused on Love–East & West, past & present, spiritual & mundane, all in the light of Rumi and Shams of Tabriz. The Forty Rules of Love sold more than 600 000 copies, becoming a best-seller in Turkey and in France awarded with the Prix ALEF - Mention Spéciale Littérature Etrangère.

Her latest novel, Iskender (Honour), topped the Turkish best-seller lists and has been acclaimed by both critics and readers of various ages and backgrounds. The novel has opened up a vivid debate in Turkey about family, love, freedom, redemption and the construct of masculinity.

In addition to writing fiction, Shafak is also a political scientist, having graduated from the program in International Relations at Middle East Technical University. She holds a Masters degree in Gender and Women's Studies and a Ph.D. in Political Science. Her thesis on "Islamic Mysticism and the Circular Understanding of Time" was awarded by the Social Scientists Institute. Today Shafak continues to write for Haberturk, a major newspaper in Turkey, as well as several international daily & weekly publications, including The Guardian website. She has been featured in major newspapers and periodicals, including the Washington Times, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, The Economist and The Guardian.

Her nonfiction covers a wide range of topics, including belonging, identity, gender, mental ghettoes, daily life politics, multicultural literature and the art of coexistence. These essays have been collected in three books, Med-Cezir (2005), Firarperest (2010) and Semspare (2012).

She also writes lyrics for rock musicians in her country.

She lives with her husband and two children and divides her time between Istanbul and London.

Current Publishers
Albanian
World
Bota Shqiptare
Arabic
World
Dar al-Adab
Armenian
World
Antares Media Holding
Azerbaijani
World
Qanun
Bosnian
World
BuyBook
Bulgarian
World
Egmont Bulgaria Publishing House
Catalan
World
Ara Llibres
Chinese Complex
Taiwan
YE-REN Publishing House
Chinese Simple
Mainland China
Shanghai 99
Croatian
World
Hena Com
Czech
World
Agite/Fra
Czech
World
Egmont Books
Danish
World
Underskoven
Dutch
World
Uitgeverij De Geus
English
US & Canada
Penguin
English
UK
Viking
Estonian
World
Verb Publishing House
Finnish
World
Gummerus Publishers
French
World
Flammarion
Georgian
World
Palitra Media
German
World
Kein & Aber
Greek
World
Papadopoulos Publishing
Hebrew
World
Hakibbutz Hameuhad - Sifriat Poalim Publishing Group
Hungarian
World
Europa Konyvkiado
Icelandic
World
Bjartur
Indonesian
World
KPG (Kepustakaan Populer Gramedia)
Italian
World
Rizzoli Editore
Kannada
World
Inamaste/Peak Platform
Korean
World
Random House Korea
Latvian
World
Zvaigzne ABC Publishers
Lithuanian
World
Tyto Alba
Macedonian
World
TRI Publishing Centre
Malayalam
World
Norwegian
World
Aschehoug & Co
Polish
World
Wydawnictwo Literackie
Portuguese
Portugal
Jacarandá
Romanian
World
Editura Polirom
Russian
World
Atticus Publishing Group
Serbian
World
Laguna
Slovak
World
Slovart spol
Slovene
World
Sanje Publishers
Spanish
World
Lumen
Swedish
World
2244 / Bonnier Forlag
Turkish
World
Dogan ve Egmont
Urdu
World
Jumhoori Publications