Posts From Author: turkey

One Simple Rule

After hearing from our six guest writers in April on the subject “One Simple Rule”, you might think we’d have some pretty solid advice for you. We don’t. Write what you know? Well, sometimes it’s best not to. Everyone should know CPR? Granted; hard to argue. Back up your work? Phew, yes, we’d all have saved ourselves some stress by following that one. Break all of the rules, always? We don’t like to be too prescriptive here… Well, we’ll leave you to judge, as you enjoy the wit and wisdom of Elif Shafak, Tom Rob Smith, Amber Tamblyn, Lisa Robinson, Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, and Beau Willimon. Elif Shafak was first up to the mic. An industrious author, Shafak has published several novels, numerous articles, and a collection of nonfiction. She’s a TED Talker. She’s Turkey’s most widely read female writer. She’s perplexed, then, by what she perceives to be a cult of idleness among many Middle Eastern men. “All across the Middle East, if you travel,” she said, “you will come across thousands and thousands of men — and always men — just sitting, playing backgammon, chatting — smoking, mostly — until it’s time to go home.” These men are not the subjects of her work, though. “What I’m interested in […]
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The Argument From Design

The Architect’s Apprentice by Elif Shafak Viking, 2014; 432pp In a world of inter-religious conflict, plague, and natural disasters, the most elegant teleology may be found in architecture. This is Elif Shafak‘s proposition in her ambitious new novel, The Architect’s Apprentice. Shafak is the mostly widely read female writer in Turkey, has 1.7 million Twitter followers, and in 2010 she was made a chevalier of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. She writes regularly for the Guardian on feminism, human rights, and the state of democracy in Turkey. Although The Architect’s Apprentice is a historical novel, set mostly in the sixteenth century in Istanbul, its author’s very contemporary concerns flow through it. Inspired by an image in Gulru Necipoglu’s The Age of Sinan: Architectural Culture in the Ottoman Empire, Shafak sets out to imagine the world and the people outside the frame of official history. As she describes it in her author’s note: it was a painting of Sultan Suleiman, tall and sleek in his kaftan. But it was the figures in the background that intrigued me. There was an elephant and a mahout [elephant tamer] in front of the Suleimaniye Mosque; they were hovering on the edge of the picture, as if ready to run away, unsure as […]
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