Turkish author Elif Shafak has changed her book tour for safety reasons. Accused in her native country of "insulting Turkishness" because of a line uttered by one of her characters in her current novel, Bastard of Istanbul, Shafak is one of a number of writers being prosecuted and persecuted in Turkey for speaking out about the government. According to Paul Slovak at Viking, which published Istanbul in the U.S. in January, Shafak was given a police escort after Turkish-Armenian author and editor Hrant Dink—also charged with the same crime as Shafak (violating article 301 of the Turkish penal code)—was killed last week.
"Virtually everyone tried under the law, convicted or not, has drawn public threats and hate mail from ultranationalists in Turkey," Slovak said via e-mail. Under advice to "limit her movements," both here and abroad, Shafak has reduced her six-city author tour drastically, now planning to make only one public appearance, next week in New York. Slovak said that, despite the constraints, Shafak will be going ahead with press planned for various outlets including interviews on Fresh Air and with, among other papers, the Los Angeles Times and Boston Globe. Shafak's sole public reading is scheduled for February 5 at 7 p.m. at the Astor Place Barnes & Noble.
Tuesday, January 30, 2007
Security Concerns for Elif Shafak
In light of my recent glowing comments about Elif Shafak's The Bastard of Istanbul, I thought this article from Publishers Weekly might be of interest: