A Conversation with Elif Şafak

Turkish novelist Elif Şafak (pictured below) ties her diversity of experiences and her background into her storytelling. Writing in both Turkish and English, Şafak’s writing is rich with history: her last novel, The Bastard of Istanbul, received several glowing reviews. Her latest novel, The Forty Rules of Love, tells the tale of a discontent 40-year-old Jewish woman, weaving her story in with that of Rumi and his relationship with Shams of Tabriz, his spiritual mentor. I had the opportunity to a … [Read more...]

Abeer Esber: For Wrong Reasons, Easier for Arab Women to Publish

This was written by M. Lynx Qualey and originally appeared at Arabic Literature (In English).After all the kerfuffle about how many Arabic Booker nominees use the girls’ room instead of the boys’ (and how this is proof of literary discrimination), I appreciate Syrian author Abeer Esber, writing on Qantara:“In my view, this gender discussion has nothing to do with good literature.”Well, perhaps not nothing, but the links are certainly more complicated than “fewer women on your prize list” = … [Read more...]

Shortlist for “Arab Booker”: Where are the women?

This is a slightly edited version of an article written by Susannah Tarbush. A complete version originally appeared in the Saudi Gazette.The shortlist of six contenders for the annual International Prize for Arabic Fiction (IPAF,) announced last Tuesday at the Beirut International Book Fair, is arousing much interest, as in the previous two years of the prize’s existence. There is speculation, for example, over whether for the third year running it will be an Egyptian author who gets the p … [Read more...]