Stories and Silences
‘Today, more than ever before, literature has to be not only about stories but also about silences and the silenced. It has to become a sanctuary for the disempowered and the marginalised across the world.’ So wrote Elif Shafak earlier this year, after she was threatened with a trial for obscenity for daring to write about gender violence and child abuse in her new novel 10 minutes 38 seconds in this strange world. Yet this is a tender book of cherished friendships and a love letter to Istanbul. Shafak, an award-winning novelist and advocate for women’s rights, LGBT rights and freedom of speech, was chosen by Politico in 2017 as one of the twelve people who would make the world better. Welcoming her to the Festival will certainly make Cambridge better this Sunday.
In conversation with Erica Wagner, author, critic and New Statesman contributing writer