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Drinking Arak Off An Ayatollah’s Beard

Venturing around Iran and Afghanistan with a copy of the Shahnameh tucked under his arm, Nicholas Jubber relates what this pivotal introduction taught him about modern people who still love this medieval text.

Jubber explains how The Shahnameh, or Persian Book of Kings, is still very much alive today for many people, even 1000 years after it’s completion.

His book certainly has it’s own style and he visited the Resonance104.4FM studios to explain certain points: from beards to butchers to free motorbikes.

Jubber graduate from Oxford University, and moved to Jerusalem to work as a teacher. He’d only been there two weeks when the intifada broke out and then travelled around the Middle East and East Africa. This led to his first book, The Prester Quest, winner of the Dolman travel book award.

“This is the best sort of travel book….Jubber’s cast is made up not of government officials or clerics, but of bruised but unbowed ordinary people, whose Persian spirit is kept alive by the flame of poetry… It is important to understand this aspect of the Persian character, and Jubber has touched the heart of the matter in a lively and readable way.”

Journal of the Royal Society for Asian Affairs

This show was originally broadcast on 2nd August, 2010


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