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for Transformation through the Arts


The CARAVAN Award goes to an individual of artistic, literary, academic, faith or philanthropic distinction who has used the arts in exceptional ways for transformational purposes.

The first CARAVAN Award was presented in August 2017 at St. Martin-in-the-Fields, Trafalgar Square in London, U.K. to Elif Shafak, best-selling novelist, public intellectual, cultural commentator, shortlisted for the 2019 Booker Prize.
CARAVAN was honored present this award to Elif Shafak, whose storytelling has profoundly transcended Eastern and Western boundaries of faith and culture. Elif writes in both Turkish and English, and has published 16 books, 11 of which are novels, including the bestselling The Bastard of Istanbul, The Forty Rules of Love and Three Daughters of Eve.  As the most widely read women writer in Turkey, her books have been translated into 47 languages and she has been awarded the prestigious Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres.

Elif Shafak with CARAVAN Founder, Paul G. Chandler

This first CARAVAN award was a work of original art - a donkey sculpted and painted by the noted Egyptian artist Dr. Reda Abdel Rahman. The donkey symbolizes peace in both the Christian and Islamic traditions (i.e. the stories of Jesus and Omar Ibn El Khatab, the second caliph, coming into Jerusalem on a donkey...saying “I come in peace”). In the Middle East, the donkey also symbolizes “compassion,” as a beast of burden most often used by the poorest of the poor.  Through Elif Shafak's work, she has demonstrated that the only way forward is “in peace and with compassion”.

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