Book Festival welcomes Booker-longlisted Turkish author and activist Elif Shafak

Elif Shafak

Shafak will be speaking with Virago Press publisher Lennie Goodings about her latest book

Award-winning novelist Elif Shafak writes in English and Turkish and her books have been translated into more than 50 languages. A political scientist, commentator and women's and LGBT rights activist, Shafak's writing blends myth and storytelling with an astute deconstruction and examination of contemporary issues.

She will be at Edinburgh International Book Festival on 23 August speaking with Virago Press publisher Lennie Goodings about her latest book, 10 Minutes and 38 Seconds in This Strange World. Currently longlisted for the Booker Prize 2019, this absorbing novel describes the memories of a sex worker, Tequila Leila, in the handful of minutes her brain continues functioning after death.

The years that led up to Leila's murder are richly scented and described with deep humour and tenderness, creating a sensual journey through the life of a character often voiceless or consigned to the periphery. Themes of sexual harassment, gender violence and child abuse are handled with grace and described with unflinching clarity.

Shafak's choice of material has provoked social media attacks and legal difficulties (2006's The Bastard of Istanbul resulted in a legal trial against her for 'insulting Turkishness'). In 10 Minutes and 38 Seconds, she reminds us why some voices should never be removed from the narrative – no matter what the cost.

Charlotte Square Gardens, 23 Aug, 10.15am, £12 (£10).

Elif Shafak

Studies of bodies shortly after death suggest brain activity may continue for minutes after the blood supply has stopped. This lies behind Elif Shafak’s intriguing novel 10 Minutes and 38 Seconds in This Strange World, which chronicles the ebbing thoughts of a murdered Turkish woman. Surprisingly funny and deeply moving…

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