Elif Shafak’s Blackwell’s Lecture at the Sheldonian, Oxford

Posted on 28/10/2019

On Thursday evening we were honoured to be invited by Blackwell’s to their Annual Lecture, given this year by British-Turkish writer activist, Elif Shafak, whose latest Booker-shortlisted novel, Ten Minutes Thirty-Eight Seconds In This Strange World, was called “a masterpiece” by our very own Peter Frankopan.  Speaking eloquently on politics, identity, feminism, and narratives of otherness, the resounding message of Shafak’s address was one of international connection and open dialogue through storytelling. ‘It worries me that we are becoming so divided,’ she noted, ‘but we can bridge those gaps through stories.’ It was an important reminder for all those listening that it is the stories we choose to tell and to publish, and the openness with which we, as readers, listen to them that can help enact social and political change.  ‘We need less information and more wisdom,” she said. ‘We need books.’