Elif Shafak: Biography highlights

Elif Shafak is an award-winning novelist and the most widely read female writer in Turkey. She is also a women’s rights activist and an inspirational public intellectual and speaker.

Known for:

Authors
TED Speakers

Languages spoken:

English

Full biography of Elif Shafak

She writes in both Turkish and English and has published 16 books, 10 of which are novels, including the bestselling The Bastard of Istanbul, The Forty Rules of Love and her most recent, Three Daughters of Eve. Her books have been published in 50 languages. She is published by Penguin in the UK and represented by Curtis Brown globally.

Shafak is a TED Global speaker, a member of Weforum Global Agenda Council on Creative Economy and a founding member of ECFR (European Council on Foreign Relations). She has been awarded the title of Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres in 2010 by the French government.

She has been featured in and contributes to major newspapers and periodicals around the world, including the Financial Times, the Guardian, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Der Spiegel and La Repubblica.

Shafak holds a degree in International Relations, a masters’ degree in Gender and Women’s Studies and a PhD in Political Science and Political Philosophy. She has taught at various universities in Turkey, the UK and the USA, including the University of Michigan and University of Arizona. She is an Honorary Fellow and the 2018 Weidenfeld Visiting Professor in Comparative European Literature at St. Anne’s College, Oxford University.

In addition to her work for freedom of speech and literacy, Shafak is known as a women’s rights, minority rights and LGBT rights advocate. Shafak has been longlisted for the Orange Prize, MAN Asian Prize; the Baileys Prize and the IMPAC Dublin Award and shortlisted for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize and RSL Ondaatje Prize.

She sat on the judging panel for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize (2013); Sunday Times Short Story Award (2014, 2015), 10th Women of the Future Awards (2015); FT/Oppenheimer Funds Emerging Voices Awards (2015, 2016); Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction (2016); Man Booker International Prize (2017) and The Goldsmiths Prize (2018). Shafak chairs the Wellcome Book Prize 2019 judging panel.

Chronological list of awards and special recognition

– Chair of the Wellcome Book Prize 2019 judging panel.
– Honorary Fellow at St. Anne’s College, Oxford University.
– Patron of National Centre For Writing in Norwich, UNESCO City of Literature
– Weidenfeld Visiting Professor in Comparative European Literature at Oxford
– Berggruen Prize Juror for Philosophy & Culture
– Judge for The Goldsmiths Prize 2018
– 1.7M Twitter followers
– Future Library Author 2017, Oslo, Norway
– Caravan Award for Peacebuilding Through the Arts, 2017
– Prize for Tolerance in Thinking and Acting, Prize of Honour of the Austrian Booksellers, 2017
– Judge for The Sunday Times/Peters Fraser & Dunlop Young Writer of the Year Award, 2017
– Member of Berggruen Prize Award Committee
– WOW committee member
– Lahore Literary Festival Lifetime Achievement Award, 2016
– Granted the Seal of the City and Certificate of Commendation by the City of Milan, 2016
– 2016 GTF Award for Excellence in Promoting Gender Equality
– Judge for 2017 Man Booker International Prize
– Judge for FT/Oppenheimer Funds Emerging Voices Awards, 2016
– Judge for the 2016 Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction
– Cultural Leader; Member of Weforum Global Agenda Council on Creative Economy, Davos 2016
– Judge for the 10th Women of the Future Awards, 2015
– Judge for FT/Oppenheimer Funds Emerging Voices Awards, 2015
– Asian Women of Achievement Awards 2015: Global Empowerment Award
– The Ar chitect’s Apprentice, shortlisted for RSL Ondaatje Prize, 2015
– The Architect’s Apprentice, longlisted for Walter Scott Historical Novel Prize, 2015
– Judge for Index on Censorship Freedom of Expression Awards, 2015
– Board Member of Free Word Centre, which promotes literacy, literature and freedom of expression
– Member of English PEN
– Cultural ambassador for The Ottoman Orient in Renaissance Art/ BOZAR
– Member of the judging panel for the Sunday Times EFG Private Bank Short Story Award two consecutive years (2014, 2015)
– Cultural Leader; Member of Weforum Global Agenda Council on Creative Economy, Davos 2014
– Member of the Folio Academy
– Women To Watch Award, March 2014, Mediacat & Advertising Age
– Honour (Crime d’honneur, Phébus), Prix du livre Lorientales 2014
– Honour (Crime d’honneur, Phébus) le prix Escapades, 2014
– Honour, Nominated (longlisted) for International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, 2013
– Turkish American Society Young Society Leader, 2013
– Honour (Crime d’honneur, Phébus), 2013 Prix Relay des voyageurs, France 2013
– Honour, Longlisted for Women’s Prize for Fiction, 2013
– Member of Weforum Global Agenda Council on The Role of Arts in Society
– Member of the 2013 judging panel for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize.
– Honour, Longlisted for the Man Asian Literary Prize, 2012
– The Forty Rules of Love, Nominated (longlisted) for International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, 2012
– The Forty Rules of Love (Soufi, mon amour, Phébus), Prix ALEF
– Mention Spéciale Littérature Etrangère, France 2011
– Marka 2010 Award, Turkey
– Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Arts et Lettres, France, 2010
– TED Global speaker
– Ambassador of Culture Action Europe Campaign, 2010
– Special Envoy, EU-Turkey Cultural Bridges Programme, 2010
– Turkish Journalists and Writers Foundation “The Art of Coexistence Award-2009”
– International Rising Talent, Women’s Forum – Deauville, France 2009
– The Bastard of Istanbul, Longlisted for Orange Prize for Fiction, London 2008
– Founding member of ECFR (European Council on Foreign Relations)
– The Gaze, Longlisted for Independent Foreign Fiction Prize, United Kingdom

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Watch Elif in action

Playlist
1/5 videos
1
Elif Şafak TED conference (Türkçe Altyazı)
Elif Şafak TED conference (Türkçe Altyazı)
05:38
2
The revolutionary power of diverse thought | Elif Shafak
The revolutionary power of diverse thought | Elif Shafak
21:59
3
ELIF SHAFAK | TURKEY AND THE LOSS OF DEMOCRACY | 2017
ELIF SHAFAK | TURKEY AND THE LOSS OF DEMOCRACY | 2017
15:56
4
ELIF SHAFAK | IN CONVERSATION WITH PHILIPPA THOMAS: TURKEY AND THE LOSS OF DEMOCRACY  |  OFFinNY
ELIF SHAFAK | IN CONVERSATION WITH PHILIPPA THOMAS: TURKEY AND THE LOSS OF DEMOCRACY | OFFinNY
22:18
5
Elif Shafak on multiculturalism, the power of stories and making the political personal
Elif Shafak on multiculturalism, the power of stories and making the political personal
44:33

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