Elif Shafak (born 25 October 1971) is a Turkish-British writer, storyteller, essayist, academic, public speaker, and women’s rights activist.
Shafak writes in Turkish and English, and has published 17 books, 11 of which are novels, including 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in this Strange World, The Bastard of Istanbul, The Forty Rules of Love, and Three Daughters of Eve.
Her books have been translated into 53 languages, and she has been awarded Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.
Shafak is an activist for women’s rights, minority rights, and freedom of speech. She also writes and speaks about a range of issues including global and cultural politics, the future of Europe, Turkey and the Middle East, democracy, and pluralism.
She has twice been a TED Global speaker, a member of the Weforum Global Agenda Council on Creative Economy and a founding member of European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR).
In 2017, she was chosen by Politico as one of the twelve people that will „give you a much needed lift of the heart“.
Every true love and friendship is a story of unexpected transformation. If we are the same person before and after we loved, that means we haven’t loved enough.
How can love be worthy of its name if one selects solely the pretty things and leaves out the hardships? It is easy to enjoy the good and dislike the bad. Anybody can do that. The real challenge is to love the good and the bad together, not because you need to take the rough with the smooth but because you need to go beyond such descriptions and accept love in its entirety.
Hell is in the here and now. So is heaven. Quit worrying about hell or dreaming about heaven, as they are both present inside this very moment. Every time we fall in love, we ascend to heaven. Every time we hate, envy, or fight someone, we tumble straight into the fires of hell.
Real filth is the one inside. The rest simply washes off. There is only one type of dirt that cannot be cleansed with pure waters, and that is the stain of hatred and bigotry contaminating the soul. You can purify your body through abstinence and fasting, but only love will purify your heart.
Mourning is like virginity. You should give it to the one who deserves it most.
Don’t ask yourself what kind of love you should seek, spiritual or material, divine or mundane, Eastern or Western.
Divisions only lead to more divisions.
Love has no labels, no definitions.
It is what it is, pure and simple.
Love is the water of life and a lover is a soul of fire!
The universe turns differently when fire loves water.
For despite what some people say, love is not a sweet feeling bound to come and quickly go away. In many ways the twenty-first century is not that different from the thirteenth century. Both will be recorded in history as times of unprecedented religious clashes, cultural misunderstandings, and a general sense of insecurity and fear of the Other. At times like these, the need for love is greater than ever. Because love is the very essence and purpose of life.
The end of childhood comes not when a child’s body changes with puberty, but when her mind is finally able to see her life through the eyes of an outsider.
Creativity is contagious. And so is banality. Criticism is an art in itself. Don’t let the dullness around destroy the creativity within. T.S. Eliot said, “honest criticism and sensitive appreciation is directed not upon the poet but upon the poetry.” Good to remember…
There were many odd things about human beings. They thought insects were disgusting but felt lucky when a ladybird landed on their fingers. They detested rats but loved squirrels. While they found vultures repulsive, they thought eagles impressive. They despised mosquitoes and flies, but were fond of fire-flies. Even though copper and iron were medicinally important, it was gold that they worshiped instead. They took no notice of the stones under their feet but went mad for polished gems.
When women survive an awful marriage or love affair, and all that shit, they generally avoid another relationship for quite some time. With men, however, it is just the opposite; the moment they finish a catastrophe they start looking for another one. Men are incapable of being alone.
If you carry a sword, you obey the sword, not the other way round. Nobody can hold a weapon and keep their hands clear of blood at the same time.
I cannot prevent people from destroying. All I can do is keep building.
Destiny does not mean that your life has been strictly predetermined. Therefore, to leave everything to fate and to not actively contribute to the music of the universe is a sign of sheer ignorance. The music of the universe is all-pervading and it is composed on… different levels. Your destiny is the level where you will play your tune. You might not change your instrument but how well you play is entirely in your hands.
God is a meticulous clock-maker. So precise is His order that everything on earth happens in its own time. Neither a minute late nor a minute early. And for everyone without exception, the clock works accurately. For each there is a time to love and a time to die.