Elif Shafak in Conversation

Turkish author and activist Elif Shafak will discuss her 2019 Booker nominated novel 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World.


Wednesday 5th August, 2020 @ 7:00 pm

  • In Conversation
  • Online event
  • Questions & Answers
  • Reading


About the Event

Turkish author and activist Elif Shafak will discuss her 2019 Booker nominated novel 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World.

The novel tells the story of sex worker Tequila Leila, reflecting on her life in the moments after her brutal murder. The narrative offers an intricate, profound and often moving account of the lives of Leila and her five cherished outcast friends. Like many of her other novels, its themes include violence against women, the massacre of Armenians, and the erosion of secularism and rise of religious sects in Turkey.

As well as writing fiction, Shafak writes and speaks about international politics, far-right populism, pluralism and democracy. She is an outspoken critic of the Turkish government, and a passionate champion of women’s rights and free speech. Last year her novels became a target for “crimes of obscenity”; fearing arrest, Shafak has since been living in self-imposed exile in London.

Join her in conversation with Guardian and Observer senior foreign correspondent, Emma Graham-Harrison.

Running time: 60 minutes

If you live in the UK, you can purchase a ticket with a paperback copy of 10 Minutes 38 Seconds In This Strange World at checkout for the special combined price of £13 including postage and packing (RRP £8.99).*

About the Book

10 Minutes 38 Seconds in this Strange World
10 Minutes 38 Seconds in this Strange World

Elif Shafak

Publisher:Penguin Books Ltd

Publication date:6 Jun 2019


4.04 out of 5
9 reviews
"a vibrant evocation of a hidden Istanbul in the middle of the 20th century"
Financial Times
"teases beauty and humour from a grim tale"
The Times
"A powerful novel from a writer under fire from the Turkish authorities"
The Sunday Times
"sensual but frustrating"
The Observer
"a profound and unflinching look at sexual violence"
The Guardian
"fuelled by a vivid, sensual passion"
Irish Times
"evoke[s] vivid memories"
The Spectator
"stark, intimate and complex"
New Statesman
"Shafak’s novel chronicles the spirit"
Daily Mail

'In the first minute following her death, Tequila Leila's consciousness began to ebb, slowly and steadily, like a tide receding from the shore. Her brain cells, having run out of blood, were now completely deprived of oxygen. But they did not shut down. Not right away...' For Leila, each minute after her death brings a sensuous memory: the taste of spiced goat stew, sacrificed by her father to celebrate the long-awaited birth of a son; the sight of bubbling vats of lemon and sugar which the women use to wax their legs while the men attend mosque; the scent of cardamom coffee that Leila shares with a handsome student in the brothel where she works. Each memory, too, recalls the friends she made at each key moment in her life - friends who are now desperately trying to find her. . .