Taran Khan wins Stanford Dolman Travel Book of the Year prize for ‘Shadow City’

Indian author Taran Khan on Friday won the 2021 Stanford Dolman Travel Book of the Year Award for her debut, Shadow City: A Woman Walks Kabul.

The award, given in collaboration with the Authors’ Club, is one of two awards at the Edward Stanford Travel Writing Awards. It was named after Edward Stanford, who published the Stanford Guide Travel Guides, and is funded by Stanford, a travel book and map shop founded in England in 1901.

Shadow City takes the reader on a journey through the streets of Kabul as Khan walks around the city and discovers a place very different from what he expected. It tells many stories, about 3,000 years old ruins and poems, others from 2013 to 2013 about beauty salons, Parisian wedding halls and the lives of Afghan filmmakers.

Read an excerpt from “Shadow City” here

Khan Shadow City was among eight entries shortlisted for the award. This included The Border by Erika Fatland, Never Reaching Paolo Cognetti Summit, Wanderland by Jini Reddy, Traveling While Black by Nanjala Nyabola, The Lost Pianos of Siberia by Sophy Roberts, Along the Amber Route by CJ Schuler and Owls of the Eastern Ice by Jonathan Slaght.

Lucy Popescu, president of the Writers’ Association, described Hahn’s work as “deep, beautifully written meditation in an ever-changing war-torn city, its people hoping for a better future.” “Taran is taking us to Kabul,” Popescu added. “It moved me.”

Julia Weller, president of the Stanford Dolman Judges, said: “We enjoyed weaving Hahn’s personal and family history with her remarks and her clear love for the city. The fact that Khan traveled for several years allows the myriad faces of Kabul to appear, and her interactions with individuals create important and memorable images for the reader.

The Stanford Dolman Travel Book of the Year is one of the two major annual travel book awards in the UK, and the only one open to all authors. The other prize is the British Guild of Travel Writers, but is limited to writers who are members of the Guild.

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