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Elif Shafak: 'Turkey is a country of collective amnesia'

In an exclusive interview with Al-Monitor, acclaimed novelist Elif Shafak discusses her new book, literature, politics and identity in Turkey.
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To my delight, Elif Shafak, an established Turkish author, columnist, speaker and academic, spoke exclusively to Al-Monitor about her newly published book in Turkish (to be published in English by Penguin in autumn 2014), on art and politics in Turkey and the region. With 13 books, nine of which are novels, published in more than 40 countries, Elif Shafak is one of Turkey’s best-known authors in the world, but also an active political commentator, columnist and public speaker.

Al Monitor:  In this latest novel, set in the 16th-century Ottoman Empire, you write about Istanbul of the time as a cosmopolitan, diverse place, and you depict lives of various types of people who live in it: from sultans to slaves. One of the main characters you talk about in the book is Mimar Sinan, the architectural master of the Ottoman period. What new did we learn about him or his works, and the process of art production at the time?

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