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Empathy in an Age of Division

  • Free
  • Discussion
  • Audio described
  • Auto-captioned

Watch a recording of novelist and activist Elif Shafak in conversation with nurse and novelist Christie Watson. They talk about the power of stories and explore how listening to each other can nurture democracy, empathy, and optimism about the future.  Elif and Christie talk for 30 minutes, followed by 30 minutes of questions from the audience.

Please note that the audio description is not an additional track; instead the host and speaker describe themselves and any key visual elements they refer to. The event was live captioned by StageText.

Elif Shafak’s new book ‘How to Stay Sane in an Age of Division’ is out now in paperback and as an audio book.  

This event was originally livestreamed on Thursday 8 October.



Need to know

Audio described

The host and speakers will describe themselves and key visual elements they refer to. There will not be a separate audio description track.


There will be auto-generated captions for this event.

For more information, please visit our Accessibility page. If you have any queries about accessibility, please email us at access@wellcomecollection.org or call 0 2 0. 7 6 1 1. 2 2 2 2

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About your contributors

Colour photograph of Christie Watson

Christie Watson


Christie Watson is an award-winning, bestselling writer. She has been a nurse for over 20 years. ‘The Language of Kindness’ was published in 2018 and was a number-one Sunday Times bestseller, and her latest book ‘The Courage to Care’ was published in September 2020. Her first novel, ‘Tiny Sunbirds Far Away’, won the Costa First Novel Award and Waverton Good Read Award, and her second novel, ‘Where Women Are Kings’, also achieved international critical acclaim. Christie holds an honorary Doctor of Letters for her contribution to nursing and the arts, and is Patron of the Royal College of Nursing Foundation. She is Professor of Medical and Health Humanities at the University of East Anglia.

Colour photograph portrait of Elif Shafak

Elif Shafak


Elif Shafak is an award-winning British-Turkish writer, storyteller, essayist, academic, public speaker and activist. She writes in both Turkish and English, and has published 17 books, 11 of which are novels. Her work has been translated into 50 languages. Her latest novel, ‘10 Minutes 38 Seconds in this Strange World’, was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and RSL Ondaatje Prize, and chosen as Blackwell’s Book of the Year. An advocate for women’s rights, LGBT rights and freedom of speech, Shafak is an inspiring public speaker and twice TED Global speaker, each time receiving a standing ovation. In 2017 she was chosen by Politico as one of the 12 people “who will give you a much-needed lift of the heart”.