Elif Shafak is Turkey's most-read woman writer and an award-winning novelist. She writes in both English and Turkish, and has published 13 books, nine of which are novels, including: The Bastard of Istanbul, The Forty Rules of Love, Honour and her nonfiction memoir Black Milk. Shafak blends Western and Eastern traditions of storytelling, bringing out the voices of women, minorities, subcultures, immigrants and global souls. Defying clichés and transcending boundaries her works draws on different cultures and cities, and reflects a strong interest in history, philosophy, culture, mysticism, intercultural dialogue and gender equality. Her books have been translated into more than forty languages. Her new novel The Architect's Apprentice, which was published by Penguin UK in autumn 2014, was shortlisted for RSL Ondaatje Prize and longlisted for Walter Scott Historical Novel Prize in 2015.
Shafak is also a political scientist and a commentator. She has written for several international daily and weekly publications, including The Financial Times, The Guardian, The New York Times, Die Zeit, La Repubblica, The Independent, Newsweek and Time. Her nonfiction writing covers a wide range of topics, including belonging, identity, gender, mental ghettoes, daily life politics, multicultural literature and the art of coexistence. She 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). Her numerous honours and awards include International Rising Talent, 2009; Ambassador of Culture Action Europe Campaign, 2010; Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Lettres. Her novels have been longlisted for the Orange Prize (2008), longlisted for MAN Asian Prize (2012), shortlisted for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize, longlisted for the IMPAC Dublin awards (2012).
Shafak is also an advocate of women's rights, minority rights and freedom of expression. She received the Global Empowerment Award in 2015 for her work. The Global Empowerment Award, given during the Asian Women of Achievement Awards, honors an individual leader whose vision inspires economic and social progress across the world. She has also served as a Special Envoy of the EU-Turkey Cultural Bridges Programme in 2010 and has been a cultural ambassador for The Ottoman Orient in Renaissance Art.
She is an active social media figure with 1.6 million Twitter followers. She is based in London with her two children.