Elif Shafak’s ‘The Architect’s Apprentice’ chosen by Duchess of Cornwall for new book club

The Turkish-British writer is among five authors the royal has championed for her online literary salon, the Duchess of Cornwall’s Reading Room

A novel by Turkish-British writer Elif Shafak has been chosen as one of five reads in the Duchess of Cornwall’s new virtual book club.

This week, Camilla took to Instagram to launch the Duchess of Cornwall's Reading Room, her own book club which aims to delve "into some of Her Royal Highness's favourite books", as well as feature in-depth interviews with authors.

Set in Istanbul at the height of the Ottoman empire, the Duchess calls Shafak's The Architect's Apprentice, "a magical, colourful tale", which revolves around Mimar Sinan, a celebrated Ottoman architect.

Shafak, who writes in both Turkish and English, has so far published 17 books, of which 11 are novels. She has won numerous literary awards and accolades over the years, including the Rumi Prize and the prestigious Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in her native France.

The Architect's Apprentice is her 10th novel, with Shafak praised by The New York Times Book Review as: "[Having] a particular genius for depicting backstreet Istanbul, where the myriad cultures of the Ottoman Empire are still in tangled evidence on every family tree."

"I am so happy and truly honoured to see the Duchess of Cornwall choosing The Architect's Apprentice as one of the first four picks for her online book club to explore and celebrate world literature," Shafak, 49, wrote on Instagram.

Officially launched on Friday, January 15, the Duchess has been updating her lockdown reading list, which so far includes five books, as well as posting videos in which she talks about her own love of reading.

“To me, reading is a great adventure. I’ve loved it since I was very small and I’d love everybody else to enjoy it as much as I do,” she said. “You can escape and you can travel and you can laugh and you can cry. There’s every kind of emotion that humans experience in a book.”

Among her first recommendations are acclaimed children's book The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse by Charlie Mackesy; The Mirror & the Light by Hilary Mantel; Delia Owens's Where The Crawdads Sing, which was also chosen by Reese Witherspoon as her book club pick, with the A-lister working to adapt it for the big screen; and Restless by William Boyd, which Camilla described as "a wartime thriller featuring a resourceful woman in grave danger ... a great read."