TED Talk: Elif Şafak on The Politics Of fiction

September 23, 2010 by · 2 Comments
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Elif Şafak present this TED talk about fiction and storytelling. I confess I put off listening to it, I listened to it last when other items on my iPad had run out. TED Talks, after all, are about hard science, data, controversy. I wasn’t planning to listen to a TED talks discussion of fiction.

When I did finally listen, I was in awe. If you watch rather than listen you will see Elif receive a much deserved standing ovation for her presentation on the power of fiction to change the world. Her hypothesis is that that fiction can overcome identity politics. Her advice to writers is that you should not write what you know, you should write what you dream, whatever you can conceive, write beyond the comfort zone about what you feel.

Though I have not read her fiction, I am sold on her passionate view of it. It is the extraordinary, the imaginative in fiction that has a draw for me. Is that why science fiction, at its best, is worthy of my limited time?

She begins with the image of a circle and her personal story. She discusses the importance of connecting with people outside our own circles. “Communities of the like-minded is one of the greatest dangers of today’s globalized world.” She believes fiction can best dispel cultural stereotypes; fiction can end elitism. And, she proves it.

Posted by Elaine Willis