Elif Shafak, Author, on How Stories Widen the Imagination
Susan notes: Thanks to TED for making TED Talks downloadable and embeddable, and for providing the biographical information that goes along with them.
Listening to stories widens the imagination; telling them lets us leap over cultural walls, embrace different experiences, feel what others feel. Elif Shafak builds on this simple idea to argue that fiction can overcome identity politics.
Elif Shafak is the most-read female author in Turkey, where she is as well known for her descriptions of backstreets Istanbul as she is for her global and multicultural perspective. Her writing is at once rooted in her politically feminist education and her deep respect for and knowledge of Sufism and Ottoman culture.
Her uncommon political stances have not gone without controversy. At the publication of her novel The Bastard of Istanbul, which crosses two family histories, one Turkish, the other Armenian, she faced charges for "insulting Turkishness." The case was later dismissed, and Shafak's role in the rare combination of radical and sentimental writer remains uninterrupted. Shafak also writes song lyrics for well-known rock musicians in her country.