Travels in a Dervish Cloak: Journeys in Pakistan, with Isambard Wilkinson

Ebenezer welcomed Isambard Wilkinson with his new book Travels in a Dervish Cloak (Shortlisted for the 2018 Stanford Dolman Travel Book of the Year)


Spellbound by his grandmother’s Anglo-­‐Indian heritage and the exuberant annual visits of her friend the Begum, Isambard Wilkinson became enthralled by Pakistan as an intrepid teenager, eventually working there as a foreign correspondent during the War on Terror. Seeking the land behind the headlines, Bard sets out to discover the essence of a country convulsed by Islamist violence. What of the old, mystical Pakistan has survived and what has been destroyed? His is a funny, hashish-­‐ and whisky-­‐scented travel book from the frontline, full of open-­‐hearted delight and a poignant lust for life.


Isambard Wilkinson was born in 1971. As a young boy in Ireland, he listened to family stories of adventurous botanists and artists, sailors and soldiers who travelled through China and Africa, India and Albania. It fired an urge to roam.

Expelled from school at 15, after university he worked for Country Life magazine before leaving to travel throughout Pakistan, an ambition curtailed by kidney failure. After a stretch on dialysis and his first kidney transplant, he became a foreign correspondent for the Daily Telegraph in Spain, and then in Pakistan, where he completed his travels, the subject of this book. Following a second transplant, he worked for AFP in Hong Kong and is now a freelance foreign correspondent.


William Dalrymple: ‘A discursive, funny, moving portrait of Pakistan, one of the most opaque and difficult and complex of countries, but here rendered in bright chiaroscuro and with obvious affection. It’s a brilliant debut by a major new talent.’

2018Martin Keeley