Author and activist Elif Shafak joins Festival of Politics line up


The Scottish Parliament’s Festival of Politics will close with an ‘in conversation’ event between award-winning Turkish-British writer and activist Elif Shafak and the Presiding Officer, Rt Hon Ken Macintosh MSP.

The event will conclude three days of free, online debate and discussion. It will look at Elif Shafak’s latest non-fiction book, How to Stay Sane in an Age of Division – a ninety-page book written during the pandemic, reflecting on this period of political polarization, anger and apathy, and pleading for conscious optimism.

Viewers can also expect to hear about Elif Shafak’s advocacy on issues including women’s rights, LGBT rights and freedom of speech. Running in partnership with the Edinburgh International Culture Summit Foundation, the author will speak about how she draws on her own memories and delves into the power of stories to bring people together.

Speaking as the event was announced, the Presiding Officer, Rt Hon Ken Macintosh MSP, said:

“We are very excited by the diverse programme of events we have in our Festival of Politics this year, which for the first time will be online and entirely free.
“Elif Shafak is a tremendous addition to the festival’s line up, and this event will ensure we close on a thought-provoking high.
“I would encourage everyone to have a look online to see our full programme of events and to sign up to watch for free.”
The programme and events can be viewed at The Festival runs from Thursday 19 – Saturday 21 November.  Elif Shafak’s event will be at 7:30 on Saturday evening.


This year’s Festival is in partnership with the Parliament’s in-house think tank, Scotland Futures Forum.

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