Author Elif Shafak has been announced as the Golding Speaker at the 2021 Marlborough Literature Festival. The Golding speaker opens the festival each year, and is sponsored by William Golding Ltd, in recognition of Golding’s links with the Wiltshire town. Golding grew up in Marlborough, attended Marlborough Grammar School, and later used Marlborough (renamed as Stillbourne) as the setting for his novel The Pyramid.
Shafak has written 20 books, with the most recent, The Island of Missing Trees, receiving rave reviews. My favourite among her novels is 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World, which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize 2019. This book explores the moments after the death of the main character, and her tragic but exhilarating life is told through a series of evocative flashbacks. It shares a connection with Golding’s Pincher Martin, which also details the last moments and death of its protagonist, and his life is revealed through narrative shifts of time.
The Marlborough LitFest is scheduled 30th September–3rd October and will feature a mix of in-person and virtual events. Shafak will appear in a virtual event on Friday 1st October, at 7.30pm. Tickets will be available from 2nd September.