Famous Authors Series – Elif Shafak

Many years ago, I read The Forty Rules of Love by the author of today’s post ‘Famous Authors Series – Elif Shafak’.

Famous Author photo for post Authors Series Elif Shafak

Elif Shafak (born 25 October 1971) is a Turkish-British writer. Her surname is an anglicised version of the Turkish (Şafak).

Cultural diversity coloured Elif’s childhood and teenage years. She was born in Strasbourg to Turkish parents, returned to Ankara (capital of Turkey), after her parents separated, and spent her teenage years there and in Madrid, Amman (capital of Jordan) and Istanbul. She now lives in London.

Elif writes in Turkish and English. She has published 17 books. Her books have been translated into 53 languages and she has won multiple awards.

The 40 Rules of Love

A beautiful, lyrical novel about the transformational power of love, this is one of those books that stays with you, even many years after reading it. Two parallel narratives reveal themselves in the story, one of them set around the Persian poet and Sufi mystic of the thirteenth century, Rumi, the other around a contemporary reader for a literary agent, 40-year-old Ella Rubenstein.

Dissatisfied and unhappy with her role as a mother and wife, Ella is drawn to Aziz, the writer of the novel she is reading. She intuits a deep connection between them that she cannot explain logically. They agree to meet and fall deeply in love. Their relationship transforms her life – in an unexpected way. I won’t spoil it for you!


Elif has a degree in International Relations, a master’s degree in Gender and Women’s Studies and a Ph.D. in Political Science.

In her writing, teaching and speaking career, Elif is an outspoken critic of anti-intellectualism and anti-feminism. In 2006, she was charged with ‘insulting Turkishness’ for a reference to the Armenia genocide in her famous novel, The Bastard of Istanbul. Fortunately, she was acquitted, but she remains the target of malicious attention on social media. And the Turkish police continue to investigate the content of her books.

Loud music to write by

If there’s one thing that’s a constant among writers, it’s that there are no constants! Speak to 20 different writers about how and where they write, and they’ll give you 20 different answers. They start a book differently. Have different writing routines. Find different times of the day best for their writing. Work best in different environments. Some plan their books in a very structured way; others just write, simply going with the flow.

How does listening to loud, aggressive music on repeat sound? Well, this is Elif Shafak’s ‘thing’ when she’s writing her novels! I like a quiet, soothing environment with the minimum of distractions!

A lift of the heart

Inspirationally, the American political journalism company Politico chose her as one of 12 people who will ‘give you a much needed lift of the heart’.

Istanbul is a city of dreams… but it also has scars and wounds



Elif Shafak, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elif_Shafak, Accessed 22 Jan. 21

Elif Shafak: ‘Istanbul is a city of dreams… but it also has scars and wounds’, The National: Arts and Culture, https://www.thenationalnews.com/arts-culture/books/elif-shafak-istanbul-is-a-city-of-dreams-but-it-also-has-scars-and-wounds-1.927677, Accessed 22 Jan. 21

Worldwise: Turkish-British Novelist Elif Shafak’s Favorite Things, https://www.barrons.com/articles/worldwise-turkish-british-novelist-elif-shafaks-favorite-things-01565190821, Accessed 22 Jan. 21

Photo: Middle Eastern Beauties, https://www.pinterest.com.au/pin/557531628840714969/, Accessed 22 Jan. 21

Hope you’ve enjoyed this post ‘Famous Authors Series – Elif Shafak’.

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