10 Minutes 38 Seconds in this Strange World

Elif Shafak

Chair: Sam Leith

07/03/2020 7:15 pm
Kings Place, Hall 2

Dubbed ‘one of the best writers in the world today’ by author Hanif Kureishi, novelist Elif Shafak has produced a work of great power and beauty. Sex worker Leila is dying, her body abandoned in a rubbish dump. In the last ten minutes 38 seconds of her life she recollects precious memories: spiced goat stew; bubbling vats of lemon and sugar; the cardamom coffee she shares with a handsome student in the brothel where she works. Each fading memory evokes her bittersweet life. Elif discuses worlds fictionalised and real with Sam Leith.

Elif Shafak


Elif Shafak is an award-winning British-Turkish novelist and the most widely read female author in Turkey. She writes in both Turkish and English, and has published seventeen books, eleven of which are novels. Her work has been translated into 50 languages. Her latest novel 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in this Strange World was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and chosen Blackwell’s Book of the Year. Her previous novel, The Forty Rules of Love was chosen by BBC among 100 Novels that Shaped Our World. Shafak holds a PhD in political science and she has taught at various universities in Turkey, the US and the UK, including St Anne's College, Oxford University, where she is an honorary fellow. She is a member of Weforum Global Agenda Council on Creative Economy and a founding member of ECFR (European Council on Foreign Relations). An advocate for women's rights, LGBT rights and freedom of speech, Shafak is an inspiring public speaker and twice TED Global speaker, each time receiving a standing ovation. Shafak contributes to major publications around the world and she has been awarded the title of Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. In 2017 she was chosen by Politico as one of the twelve people “who will give you a much needed lift of the heart”. Shafak has judged numerous literary prizes, and chaired the Wellcome Prize and is presently judging the Orwell Prize. www.elifshafak.com

Sam Leith


Sam Leith is literary editor at the Spectator, a columnist at the Financial Times and Prospect, and his work appears regularly in the Guardian, The Times and the TLS among others. His books include You Talkin' to Me? Rhetoric from Aristotle to Obama.

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