GUEST EDIT | TARAN KHAN
One reason we wanted a physical ISHKAR shop was so that we could host events, talks, supper clubs, screenings, exhibitions, etc. A place to join with others and explore the cultures in some of the countries where we work. So we’re delighted to announce our first event will be held in two weeks, on the 15th of August, with journalist and writer, Taran Khan, who will be doing a reading and talking to us about her debut non-fiction work, Shadow City: A Woman Walks Kabul.
The reading will fall on the two-year anniversary of the Taliban takeover, an event that dominated the headlines in 2021, with so many attempts to simplify the country into a singular narrative. But Taran’s book is so unlike what the media portrays. She writes about the act of walking and the power of words and interior worlds, of parallels between traveling through reading and about Afghanistan itself as a poem; “I saw the shifting vistas of Kabul, framed by two constant streams - war and poetry."
When? Tues, 15 Aug 2023, 18:30 – 20:30
Where? 94 Columbia Road, E2 7QB
Get your tickets here!
‘Any reader of this book is sure to discover a Kabul so unlike what the media portrays. On her last walk, she (Taran) writes: “to leave Kabul was to take it with you.” This is what happened when I finished reading this book, I took Kabul with me ’ — Raja Shehadeh, author of Palestinian Walks
Taran N. Khan is a journalist and writer based in Mumbai. She grew up in Aligarh and was educated in Delhi and London. From 2006 to 2013, Khan spent long periods living and working in Kabul. Taran's first book, Shadow City, which we're talking about on the 15th, won the Stanford Dolman Travel Book of the Year Award and the Tata Literature Live First Book Award for Non-Fiction.
Taran writes that she learned from her grandparents the art of living a life unburdened by possessions, instead, her gifts would always be ones made from words. But despite that, she did find stories in some of the ISHKAR products that resonated with her. Here were her top picks and why:
I was initially drawn to the Herati glassware. I had bought some when I was in Kabul and their blue gleam always reminds me of the fabulous blue sky of the city. They are enduring examples of the craftsmanship of Afghanistan, each one is flawed in some way and it’s these imperfections that make them unique.
I noticed this kilim straight away. With each handmade piece you’re coming into contact with a whole history of craftsmanship and traditions. Kilims like this also bring back memories of long evenings in Kabul, often sitting on the floor, listening to friends telling stories.
I really like the look of this book, the pop culture images are so every day and so playful. We’re not used to seeing them as art, but why shouldn't every day life not be art?
What to read next?
See more of our writing here
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