Author Elif Shafak Shares Her Delight In Collaborating With Queen Camilla

Author Elif Shafak Shares Her Delight In Collaborating With Queen Camilla

Award-winning Turkish-British author Elif Shafak is excited to join a lineup of celebrated authors including Sir Ian Rankin, Lee Child, and Kate Mosse, as well as actresses Miriam Margolyes, Helena Bonham Carter, and Dame Harriet Walter next month for the Queen’s Reading Room Festival.

This follows the success of last year’s inaugural festival, which drew over 8,000 visitors to Hampton Court Palace from around the world.

“The Queen genuinely loves literature and the art of storytelling,” says Elif, 52. “She loves supporting poets and writers and honours the work, the craftsmanship and the art of storytelling.”

Known as Turkey’s most renowned female writer, Elif Shafak has called London her home for the past 14 years, residing with her Turkish-born husband, who works in film and TV, and their two teenage children.

She has had the honor of meeting the Queen on several occasions, most recently at Windsor Castle in January, where she joined a group of writers in creating a miniature book for the library in Queen Mary’s Dolls’ House.

“It was so difficult and my handwriting is quite messy,” she says of the Lilliputian challenge. “I really struggled.”

Their paths have also crossed at Booker Prize meetings and literacy campaigns and Elif considers Her Majesty’s support to be “massively important”.

“It’s so good to have a champion like her, someone who understands the power of literature and is a reader herself. It’s not an easy world for writers and poets,” she adds. “We are living in an age of hyper-information and very short attention spans. The culture surrounding us tells us to consume everything very fast. 

“Books do the exact opposite. You need to slow down and go inwards and connect with the story of someone else. And you realise their dreams are very similar; their joys are very similar. Literature helps us go beyond the boxes we are put into in this life.”

During the festival, she will delve into her latest novel, “There are Rivers in the Sky,” which traces the path of a single droplet of water linking three characters across continents, cultures, and centuries. Her upcoming months are filled with literary events, book signings, and festivals, marking her emergence into the spotlight as her next novel takes shape.

“I always have stories in my mind, but right now, I’m reading and trying to listen to what the universe is telling me so I don’t rush immediately to the next book. As writers, we’re always miserable when we’re writing. But we’re always more miserable when we are between books,” she adds with a smile.

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