In 2015, writer Rebecca Lowe, driven by a desire to understand the Middle East and Islam, set off an 11,000km bike ride from London, through Turkey, Lebanon, Egypt, Sudan and the Gulf, to Iran. ISIS was at its height. Her mother begged her not to go. Her fascinating journey is recounted in her recently published book, The Slow Road to Tehran: A Revelatory Bike Ride through Europe and the Middle East.

Meanwhile, Tharik Hussain’s travels through Muslim European lands (Western Balkans) with his wife and young daughters are the subject of his critically acclaimed travelogue, Minarets in the Mountains: A Journey into Muslim Europe. As he explores a region home to three Muslim European countries and the largest indigenous Muslim population on the continent, where Islam has shaped places and people for more than half a millennium, he also unpicks the reasons Europe struggles to embrace its Muslim self.

The authors come together in this special event to discuss the books their journeys produced, offering insights into a disappearing cultural heritage and the effects of conflict and political turmoil on regions steeped in history. 

Join us for a contemporary look at travel and travel writing on a journey through Muslim lands.

About The Authors

Tharik Hussain is speaking at Bradford Literature Festival 2022.

Tharik Hussain

Tharik Hussain is an author, travel writer and journalist who specialises on Muslim heritage and culture. His book Minarets in the Mountains: A Journey into Muslim Europe, was longlisted for the 2021 Baillie Gifford Prize in Non Fiction and shortlisted for the 2022 Stanford Dolman Travel Book of the Year award. It was also named a Book of the Year by the Times Literary Supplement, New Statesman and Prospect Magazine, and a Travel Book of the Year by the Washington Post and Newsweek.

Tharik is the creator of Britain’s first Muslim heritage trails and has produced award-winning radio for the BBC on America’s earliest mosques and Muslim communities. His work has been published across the globe for many of the world’s leading media brands and Tharik is also the author of several travel guides for Lonely Planet, including Saudi Arabia (shortlisted for a Travel Media Award), Bahrain and Thailand. He has been named one of the UK’s most inspiring British Bangladeshis and is a Fellow at the University of Groningen’s Centre for Religion and Heritage.

Rebecca Lowe Headshot

Rebecca Lowe

Rebecca Lowe is a freelance journalist from London who specialises in human rights and the Middle East. During her career, Rebecca has written for publications including the BBC, Guardian, Independent, Huffington Post, Economist, Sunday Times Magazine, Daily Mail, Evening Standard and The Spectator.