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Two Wings of a Nightingale: Persian Soul, Islamic Heart- On the Road in Iran

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Author: Jill Worrall

Paperback: 394 pages
Publisher: Exisle Publishing (April 1, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1459618688
ISBN-13: 978-1459618688

Product Description

Iran is probably the most misunderstood country in the world, and its people are among the most feared. Award-winning travel writer Jill Worrall, with her friend Reza Mirkhalaf, a leading tour manager from Tehran, describe an Iran the world has forgotten about. Few people in the west know anything about the Iranian people beyond their current politics and religion.

TWO WINGS OF A NIGHTINGALE uses the threads of Iran’s silk road heritage as a basis for a road trip travelogue. Many of the places visited have rarely been written about by westerners, and in writing this book Jill benefited from Reza’s expert knowledge on Iran’s history, religion, culture and architecture.

During their journey, Jill and Reza explore the caravanserai that were once a vital part of the silk routes that once crossed Persia, while also encountering many ordinary Iranians. In writing this book, Jill wanted to write about Iran in a way that would give readers a greater insight into the landscapes, landmarks and people of the country at a grassroots level.

The title reflects the fact that they were two people of different sexes, different religions and cultures travelling together, yet keeping their travels harmoniously on course. It also refers to the many dichotomies of Iranian life. In the course of their travels, Jill and Reza visit the holiest city in Iran, Mashhad, paddle in the Persian Gulf, pass close by the borders of both Afghanistan and Iraq, stay with local families, play in the snow near Mt Ararat, pray in mosques, read poetry in Shiraz and eat ice creams in Isfahan.

Having worked as a journalist for more than 20 years, Jill Worrall decided in 2004 to become a freelance writer specialising in travel writing. She has a special love for the Islamic world and anywhere out of the ordinary, and has visited and led tour parties to such countries as Bhutan, India, Uzbekistan, Libya, Syria and Jordan. She has visited Iran about six times, and to research this book she travelled over 8000km on one trip alone. She has won several awards for her travel writing.

Words From the Writer

Two Wings of A Nightingale - Persian Soul, Islamic Heart is a road trip through Iran. Along with the 8000 kilometers plus that I travelled through the country before I wrote the book, it’s felt like I’ve trudged another few thousand kilometers to see the manuscript transformed into a book that’s actually now for sale!

I’ve travelled through Iran seven times now - I love it. So, as my attachment to Iran grew with each visit so too did that compulsion that urges all travel writers to head for their laptop. Of course, it pays to do some research first before one inflicts a manuscript on an unsuspecting world. What I discovered was that it seemed that the majority of books on Iran were weighty tomes covering history, architecture and politics. There are some fantastic books out there, but where were the road trips, the depictions of the regions of Iran far removed from political and religious hotspots, the snapshots of daily life?

There was also another largely untold tale from Iran: the reminders of the passage of the silk roads that linked China and Europe. So much has been said and written about these historic trade links through China and Central Asia, but not so much about Iran. Yet, scattered throughout the country are hundreds of caravanserai, the fortified equivalent of a modern-day motor inns where traders, travellers, pilgrims and their camels loaded with precious cargo would find shelter from the searing heat or biting cold and the threat of bandits. During our epic 8000-kilometre journey around Iran, my traveling companion Reza and I visited many of these caravanserai where the romance of their origins still seems to seep from their walls.

When people ask me if Iran is dangerous, I tell them that the biggest risks they run in the country are eating too much food and drinking too many cups of tea! I never cease to be impressed with how genuinely friendly and hospital Iranians are ... I’ve never had so many impromptu invitations to tea, to dinner, to stay overnight, from people I’ve only just met!

Press TV: Worrall unveils Iran travelogue

Award-winning writer Jill Worrall's travel book about Iran has been unveiled during a ceremony held at the Iranian Embassy in New Zealand.

Two Wings of a Nightingale: Persian Soul, Islamic Heart was unveiled during a ceremony attended by Iran's Ambassador to New Zealand Seyyed Majid Tafreshi, several kiwi parliamentarians and Worrall in Wellington.

According to Mehr News Agency, a number of Islamologists and scholars interested in Iranian culture and arts also attended the ceremony.

The event displayed photos and slides taken by the author during her trip to Iran.

Tafreshi stressed that travelling to Iran is one of the best ways to learn about the country and Persian culture.

He encouraged Worrall to write a sequel and present a full introduction on Iran.

“Few people in the West know anything about Iranian people except their religion and current political situation,” said Worrall. “Iran is probably the most misunderstood country in the world.”

Although a true image of Iran is not presented to tourists, most people who travel to Iran are satisfied with their trip and its expenses, Worrall said.

During more than 20 years as a journalist Worrall won two Qantas Media Awards (New Zealand's most prestigious print media awards) for feature writing, was twice named NZ Newspaper Travel Writer of the Year and finally NZ Travel Writer of the Year.

She has been a finalist in a number of other writing awards, including the Commonwealth Press Awards. Her first travel book, A Blonde in the Bazaar, was runner-up best travel book published in New Zealand in 2005.

She now works as a freelance writer, international tour guide, editor and publicist.

About the Author

Jill Worrall is a New Zealand-based writer who has a passion for travel. Having worked as a journalist for more than 20 years, she decided in 2004 to become a freelance writer specialising in travel writing. She has a special love for the Islamic world and anywhere out of the ordinary, and has visited and led tour parties to such countries as Bhutan, India, Uzbekistan, Libya, Syria and Jordan. She has visited Iran about six times, and to research this book she travelled over 8000km on one trip alone. She has won several awards for her travel writing, including her previous book, A Blonde in the Bazaar (2003).

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