Film, Democracy & Dissent

Elif Shafak

Elif Shafak is an award-winning novelist and the most widely read female writer in Turkey. She is also a political commentator and an inspirational public speaker. She writes in both Turkish and English, and has published 15 books, 10 of which are novels, including the bestselling The Bastard of Istanbul and The Forty Rules of Love. Her books have been translated into 47 languages, and she has been shortlisted for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize and RSL Ondaatje Prize. Shafak's passion for film began as a child in Ankara, where an abandoned cinema across the street had become a home for gypsies, forever linking film with the forbidden in her mind. From Turkish director Yilmaz Güney’s Umut to Terry Gilliam’s Brazil, she considers cinema—and stories told by writers—to be the antidote to political indifference and a powerful, non-aggressive weapon against authoritarian societies.