Stanford Dolman Travel Book of the Year in Association with the Authors' Club 2021

Stanford Dolman Travel Book of the Year, in association with the Authors’ Club was awarded to Taran Khan for her debut book Shadow City (Chatto & Windus). 


The judging panel consisted of explorer Benedict Allen, authors Colin Thubron, Julia Wheeler, Nick Hunt, Monisha Rajesh, Lois Pryce, Lucy Popescu and Bee Rowlatt.


Shadow City takes the reader on a journey through the streets of Kabul as Khan walks around the city and uncovers a place quite different from the one she anticipated. Lost in its labyrinthine streets Khan reads the city more closely, excavating the ghostly iterations of Kabul past and its layers of forgotten memories – unearthing a city that has been brutally erased and redrawn as each new war sweeps through.


Lucy Popescu, chair of the Authors’ Club, commented, “Taran transports us to Kabul. This is a profound, beautifully written meditation on an ever-changing city, scarred by war, its people ever hopeful of a better future. It moved me to tears.” 


Julia Wheeler, chair of the Stanford Dolman judges said, ’We enjoyed the weaving of Khan’s personal and family story with her observations and clear affection for the city.  That Khan’s journeys were made over several years allows the myriad faces of Kabul to emerge and her interactions with individuals create meaningful and memorable pictures for the reader.’


You can view the Stanford Dolman shortlist at