Shah, Tahir 1966-
SHAH, Tahir 1966-
PERSONAL: Born November 16, 1966, in London, England; son of Idries and Cynthia (Kabraji) Shah; married Rachana Devidayal (a graphic designer), October 28, 1995; children: Ariane. Education: U.S. International University, B.A., 1987. Religion: Muslim. Hobbies and other interests: Ethnological studies, photography.
CAREER: Writer, television presenter, documentary maker, lecturer on leadership and motivation.
MEMBER: Royal Geographical Society, Royal Anthropological Institute, Institute for the Study of Human Knowledge.
(Editor) The Middle East Bedside Book, Octagon Press (London, England), 1991.
Cultural Research: Papers on Regional Cultures and Culture Mixing, Octagon Press (London, England), 1993.
Spectrum Guide to Jordan, Camerapix (Nairobi, Kenya), 1993.
(With Mohamed Amin and Duncan Willetts) Journey through Namibia, Struik (Nairobi, Kenya), 1994.
Beyond the Devil's Teeth: Journeys in Gondwanaland, Octagon Press (London, England), 1995.
Sorcerer's Apprentice (travel book), Penguin Books (New York, NY), 1998.
Trail of Feathers: In Search of the Birdmen of Peru, Weidenfeld & Nicolson (London, England), 2001, Arcade Publishing (New York, NY), 2002.
In Search of King Solomon's Mines (travel book), John Murray (London, England), 2002, Arcade Publishing (New York, NY), 2003.
House of the Tiger King (travel book), John Murray (London, England), 2004.
Author of more than 100 monographs, including "Mariscos and the Demise of the Arab Empire in Spain." Contributor of more than 200 articles to periodicals, including International Press. Additionally, has created documentaries Search for King Solomon's Mines, National Geographic TV, 2002; Lost City of Gold, History Channel, 2003; and the cinematic release House of the Tiger King, 2004.
WORK IN PROGRESS: The Caliph's House, forthcoming for Bantam Dell; The Warrior Throne (a book); and a documentary entitled Afghan Gold.
SIDELIGHTS: Writer, editor, and cultural researcher Tahir Shah received a B.A. in international relations through the United States International University of San Diego in London, England. An expert on the origins of ancient culture, Shah has written numerous monographs, including "Mariscos and the Demise of the Arab Empire in Spain."
A world traveler, Shah combines his travel experience with works of antiquity. In The Middle East Bedside Book he blends centuries-old stories with advice for the modern business traveler. A reviewer in the Times Literary Supplement observed that the book has an "amiably old-fashioned feel" that contains "nothing to give one nightmares or to provoke insomnia." Richard J. Holmes, a reviewer in the Bloomsbury Review, appreciated the inclusion of ancient tales as "colorful gems on a golden thread." Holmes stated that "besides their teaching function, the tales evoke settings of Eastern splendor, present richly textured dialogues between characters, and are frequently humorous." Holmes called the book "a welcome literary treasure."
Comments and observations concerning the conflicts of nineteenth-century Great Britain and its interactions with Arab culture are the basis of Shah's editorial effort titled Cultural Research: Papers on Regional Cultures and Culture Mixing. A reviewer in Contemporary Review commended Shah on the inclusion of "a variety of topics covered in twelve papers." Another reviewer in Contemporary Review concurred, calling the selection "wide indeed."
Doris Lessing in the London Times called Shah's Beyond the Devil's Teeth: Journeys in Gondwanaland a book of "mad landscapes and surreal events." Based upon "true" personal experiences, the book follows Shah's enigmatic journeys. Amit Chaudhuri, a reviewer in the Times Literary Supplement, commented upon Shah's childhood "enthusiasm for the magical arts." Following an adventurous path, Shah goes to extreme lengths to be "instructed" in magic.
Shah told CA: "For me there is nothing so important in life as being deeply interested in whatever you choose to do. As a travel writer, I am fascinated by finding (or looking for) the hidden underbelly of a place. I am not so interested in covering a massive amount of ground as I am in sitting on a street corner and deciphering what's really going on."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Bloomsbury Review, January-February, 1993, Richard J. Holmes, "The Middle East Bedside Book," p. 10.
Contemporary Review, October, 1993, review of Cultural Research: Papers on Regional Cultures and Culture Mixing, p. 224; February, 1994, review of Cultural Research, pp. 111-112.
History Today, October, 1993, review of Cultural Research, p. 57.
Times (London, England), October 15, 1998, Doris Lessing, review of Beyond the Devil's Teeth: Journeys in Gondwanaland.
Times Literary Supplement, July 19, 1991, review of The Middle East Bedside Book, p. 25; August 20, 1999, Amit Chaudhuri, "Learning Painfully," p. 31.
Octagon Press Web site, http://www.clearlight.com/~sufi/ (January 30, 2001).
Sorcerer's Apprentice Web site, http://www.sorcerersapprentice.com/ (January 30, 2001).
Tahir Shah's Web site, http://tahirshah.com (November 22, 2005).