The Shift LIVE: Elif Shafak on intersectionality, identity and finding the courage to come out in her 40s

In the run up to Christmas I'll be dropping two special live episodes recorded live at the Birmingham Literature Festival earlier this autumn. The first conversation is with one of the most thoughtful people I’ve ever interviewed: the activist, author and academic, Elif Shafak.

The author of 19 books, including the novels Ten minutes 38 seconds in this strange world which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and her latest, The Island Of Missing Trees which was shortlisted for the Women’s Prize, amongst many others. Elif is an advocate for women's rights, LGBTQ+ rights and freedom of expression.

The bestselling female novelist in Turkey, Elif has been unable to return to her homeland for several years, since she was charged with insulting Turkishness based on the behaviour of her characters in her bestselling The Bastard of Istanbul.

Elif joined me in front of a live audience at the Birmingham Rep to talk about the changing face of protest and the inspirational young women on the frontline, why we need to be aware not just of the glass ceiling but the glass walls that keep us apart, intersectionality and the alarming backlash against women’s and LGBTQ+ rights. She also talked about feeling like an outsider, getting the courage to come out in her 40s, learning self-compassion and how she's evolved as she's aged.

This is Elif's second time on The Shift with Sam Baker. You can hear the first here.

* You can buy all the books mentioned in this podcast at, including The Island of Missing Trees by Elif Shafak and the book that inspired this podcast, The Shift: how I lost and found myself after 40 - and you can too, by me. Elif's recommendation, Poetry Unbound by Padraig O'Tauma is available from amazon.

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The Shift (on life after 40) with Sam Baker is created and hosted by Sam Baker and edited by Emily Sandford. If you enjoyed this podcast, please rate/review/follow as it really does help other people find us. And let me know what you think on twitter @sambaker or instagram @theothersambaker.

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