As a woman traveling alone in the early 1990s, Kathleen Jamie had exceptional access to the people inhabiting the remote Northern Areas of Pakistan: She befriended not only the men, but the purdah-observing Shia Muslim women who rarely appear in public. In the isolated mountain villages, she met locals balancing their traditions with the inevitable encroachment of tourism. When Jamie returned to the area after September 11, 2001, she was the only foreigner in the area. In an extensive epilogue, she observes how her friends and the area have changed as a result of war, tourism, and the passage of time. This intimate narrative reveals how Western women's freedoms are perceived. One explains: "Your lifestyle is very strange and very difficult to us. " Meanwhile, Jamie is surprised to discover that they have never been to the public bazaar that she wanders through so casually. As Jamie discusses arranged marriage, divorce, children, education, travel, and attitudes toward freedom and risk with them, she draws a compelling and lively portrait of their lives and offers important insights for Americans seeking to better understand this remote part of the world.
Among Muslims has been shortlisted for the Thomas Cook Award. "Illuminated throughout with a vision that sees beneath surfaces. "Norman Lewis "...a wonderfully sensual study of the land and its people which feels more timeless than topical. "The Observer (London) "The publication of [Among Muslims], with its plea for understanding and tolerance, couldn't have been better timed. "The London Times (London)"
Kathleen Jamie is one of the U.K.'s foremost poets and has published four books of poetry; She has won several prestigious poetry awards, including the Somerset Maugham, Forward, Creative Scotland Award, and Geoffrey Faber Memorial award (twice). As well as poetry, Jamie writes for the London Review of Books and is a frequent writer and presenter of travelogues for Radio Four. She currently teaches Creative Writing at St. Andrews University and lives in Fife, Scotland.