Homelands and Heartlands

Saturday 14 May 2022
3:30 PM - 4:45 PM
Assembly Rooms
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A conversation between two literary giants, this festival highlight features the Tanzanian-born Nobel Prize winner, Abdulrazak Gurnah, and the eminent Turkish-British novelist and activist, Elif Shafak. They form this unique pairing to discuss their prolific body of work alongside notions of home, Britishness, international fiction and post-colonial legacies. Chaired by journalist and editor, Boyd Tonkin.

Abdulrazak Gurnah was born in 1948 in Zanzibar, Tanzania. He is the author of the highly acclaimed novels Memory of Departure, Pilgrims Way, Dottie, Paradise – which was shortlisted for the 1994 Booker Prize – Admiring Silence, By The Sea, Desertion, The Last Gift, and Gravel Heart. His latest book, Afterlives is published by Bloomsbury. Abdulrazak teaches English Literature at the University of Kent in Canterbury, where he lives. Abdulrazak won the Nobel Peace Prize in literature in 2021 “for his uncompromising and compassionate penetration of the effects of colonialism and the fate of the refugee in the gulf between cultures and continents.”

Elif Shafak is an award-winning British-Turkish novelist. She has published 19 books, 12 of which are novels, including her latest The Island of Missing Trees, shortlisted for the Costa Novel Award. She is a bestselling author in many countries around the world and her work has been translated into 55 languages. Elif is a Fellow and a Vice President of the Royal Society of Literature and has been chosen among BBC’s 100 most inspiring and influential women. She was a member of Weforum Global Agenda Council on Creative Economy and a founding member of ECFR (European Council on Foreign Relations). An advocate for women’s rights, LGBTQ+ rights and freedom of expression, Elif is an inspiring public speaker and twice TED Global speaker.

Abdulrazak Gurnah: ‘A remarkable novel, by a wondrous writer, deeply compelling, a thread that links our humanity with the colonial legacy that lies beneath, in ways that cut deep’ – Philippe Sands

‘Effortlessly compelling storytelling…You forget that you are reading fiction, it feels so real’ – Leila Aboulela

Elif Shafak: ‘A wise novel of love and grief, roots and branches, displacement and home, faith and belief. The Island of Missing Trees is balm for our bruised times’ – David Mitchell

‘A writer of important, beautiful, painful, truthful novels’ – Marian Keyes

Website: www.elifsafak.com
Twitter: @Elif_Safak
Instagram: @shafakelif
Facebook: @Elif.Shafak