Elif Shafak

Literary Birthday – 25 October – Elif Shafak

Happy Birthday, Elif Shafak, born 25 October 1971.


  1. History has shown that it doesn’t start with concentration camps or mass murder, or civil war or genocide. It always starts with words: stereotypes, clichés, tropes. The fight against dehumanisation, therefore, also needs to start with words. Stories. (via)
  2. The art of storytelling is one of our last remaining democratic spaces. Now it must become one of our main acts of resistance against dehumanisation. (via)
  3. If you want to experience eternal illumination, put the past and the future out of your mind and remain within the present moment.
  4. The words that come out of our mouths do not vanish but are perpetually stored in infinite space, and they will come back to us in due time.
  5. Creativity is contagious. And so is banality. Criticism is an art in itself. Don’t let the dullness around destroy the creativity within.
  6. Stories cannot demolish frontiers, but they can punch holes in our mental walls, and through those holes we can get a glimpse of the other and sometimes even like what we see.
  7. Isn’t connecting people to distant lands and culture one of the strengths of good literature?
  8. When I am writing political op-eds, I do think carefully about the impact of my words. When I am writing fiction, it’s a different story. In my fiction I am more reckless. I don’t care about the real world until I am done with the book.

Elif Shafak is a Turkish-British writer, storyteller, essayist, academic, public speaker, and women’s rights activist. She writes in Turkish and English, and has published 18 books, 11 of which are novels, including 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in this Strange World, The Bastard of Istanbul, and Three Daughters of Eve. The Forty Rules of Love was chosen by BBC among 100 Novels that Shaped Our World. Her books have been translated into 53 languages.

Source for image


Acthom123, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

source for quotes

 by Amanda Patterson

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Posted on: 24th October 2020