Why Subscribe?

When I started this newsletter, in June 2023, I had spent much of the previous year promoting my second novel, Either/Or—a sequel to my first novel, The Idiot—and, having begun work on a third book in the series, was wondering how many years it would be until I would once again experience the material reality and time-bound existence of actual living readers.

Since then, the connection with you people has felt so sanity-inducing, and the formal possibilities of Substack have started to seem so interesting, that I’ve decided to turn The Elif Life into a weekly publication. In order to be able to put this kind of time into these letters, I’m making a special call for paid subscriptions.

The most straightforward way to boost paid subscriptions is to paywall the weekly posts. I’m not doing this, at least not now, because it’s important for me for the weekly letters to be accessible to students and others with limited means. However: if that is not you—if you can afford 17 cents a day, and if you find these letters meaningful—I am asking you to take out a paid subscription. In return, I have added some special benefits for paid subscribers and Founding Members.

Paid subscribers will now receive, in addition to the free weekly newsletter:

  • Full access to The Elif Life archives

  • Bonus Q/A posts

  • Bonus monthly posts about what I'm working on

  • The ability to comment on posts (I will comment back when I can)

Founding Members will also receive:

  • A quarterly Founding Members’ Zoom Q&A/ group therapy session

  • Periodic photo mini-essays of interesting things I’ve seen lately

Thank you for reading, and for inhabiting consensus reality with me! I’m so happy to not be in here without you!

Subscribe to The Elif Life

Weekly dispatches


Elif Batuman 

I write books slowly.