“10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World” is a gripping novel by acclaimed Turkish writer Elif Shafak. Released in 2019 by Viking Press, the book tells the powerful story of Tequila Leila, a sex worker in Istanbul. This novel has been translated into Farsi by Ali Salami.
The title of the book is a reference to the last moments of Leila’s consciousness as she moves from life into death, with the first half of the novel describing her thoughts during this transition. Through Leila’s story, Shafak explores themes of life, death, and the complexities of the human experience.
This book has received numerous accolades, including being shortlisted for the prestigious Booker Prize. The Booker Prize is one of the most respected awards in literature, and is awarded annually to the best novel written in English.
The prize is known for endorsing books that may not have been widely read otherwise, and this year’s finalists included a range of diverse and exciting works. “10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World” was a standout finalist, praised for its bold and subversive exploration of important themes.
Elif Shafak is a Turkish-British novelist, essayist, public speaker, political scientist, and activist. She has written 19 works in both Turkish and English, including The Bastard of Istanbul, The Forty Rules of Love, Three Daughters of Eve and 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World. Shafak’s novels often explore themes related to Eastern and Western culture, the roles of women in society, and human rights issues, and they have been translated into 55 languages and nominated for numerous literary awards.
Despite being described by the Financial Times as “Turkey’s leading female novelist,” some of Shafak’s politically challenging works have been met with legal action from Turkish authorities, leading her to emigrate to the United Kingdom. Shafak is a vocal advocate for women’s and minority rights, as well as freedom of speech. She holds a PhD in political science and is a regular contributor to various media outlets.
Elif Shafak is a Turkish author who has received numerous literary accolades throughout her career. Her debut novel, Pinhan, was honored with the Rumi Prize in 1998, a prestigious literary award in Turkey. Shafak continued to garner recognition for her work with her 1999 novel Mahrem (The Gaze), which was awarded “Best Novel” by the Turkish Authors’ Association in 2000.
In 2002, Shafak’s novel Bit Palas (The Flea Palace) was shortlisted for the Independent Best Foreign Fiction award. She then made her English-language debut with the release of The Saint of Incipient Insanities in 2004. Shafak’s second English-language novel, The Bastard of Istanbul, was long-listed for the Orange Prize and addressed the Armenian genocide, a subject that is taboo in Turkey. Shafak faced charges of “insulting Turkishness” in 2006 for her discussion of the genocide in the novel, but was ultimately acquitted.
Shafak’s novel The Forty Rules of Love (Aşk in Turkish) became a bestseller in Turkey upon its release, breaking previous sales records. The novel was also awarded the Prix ALEF* – Mention Spéciale Littérature Etrangère in France and nominated for the 2012 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. In 2019, it was recognized as one of the “most inspiring” novels by the BBC and one of the “100 novels that shaped our world”.
Shafak continued to receive accolades for her work with her 2012 novel Honour, which was nominated for the Man Asian Literary Prize and the Women’s Prize for Fiction in 2013. She followed this up with The Architect’s Apprentice in 2014, a historical fiction novel about a fictional apprentice to the renowned Ottoman architect Mimar Sinan.