The Dance of Faith and Doubt
Elif Shafak, Alice Shalvi
Chair: Shoshana Boyd Gelfand
Turkish-British writer Elif Shafak is an awarded novelist, a public intellectual and an outspoken activist for women’s rights and LGBT rights. Alice Shalvi, scholar, educator, women’s rights activist, seeker of justice and proponent of peace, is one of Israel’s most admired figures. These two iconic women have much in common. Together, Elif and Alice discussed their lives, their work and their hopes with Rabbi Shoshana Boyd Gelfand.
Sponsored by Abraham Initiatives
Elif Shafak is an award-winning British-Turkish novelist. She writes in both Turkish and English, and has published 18 books, 11 of which are novels. Her work has been translated into 54 languages. Her latest novel 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in this Strange World was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and RSL Ondaatje 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. Shafak is a Fellow and a Vice President of the Royal Society of Literature. 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, LGBTQ+ rights and freedom of speech, Shafak is an inspiring public speaker and twice TED Global speaker. Shafak contributes to major publications around the world and she was awarded the medal of Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. 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 PEN Nabokov Prize www.elifshafak.com
Shoshana Boyd Gelfand
Born in Essen, Germany in 1926, Alice Shalvi and her family escaped Nazi Germany and established themselves in London. She read English at Cambridge and later emigrated to Israel in 1949, where she became enormously influential in women’s education, promoting women’s status, peace dialogues and challenging conventional religious practice. Her name is synonymous with social activism and achievement.
Shoshana Boyd Gelfand is Director of Jhub, an operating programme of the Pears Foundation. She presents regularly on BBC Radio 2’s Pause for Thought and is the author of The Barefoot Book of Jewish Folk Tales.