The Places in Between

The Places in Between is a travel narrative by British writer and Member of Parliament Rory Stewart, detailing his solo walk across north-central Afghanistan in 2002.

Cover of Rory Stewart's The Places in Between
Cover of 2005 Picador ed.
London Illegal Wildlife Trade (IWT) Conference 2018 (37331372894)
Rory Stewart


Stewart arrives in Afghanistan in January 2002, beginning his journey in Herat and proceeding on foot to Kabul. He is initially accompanied by two armed guards, Qasim and Abdul Haq, at the insistence of Governor Yuzufi but travels without human company for most of his walk, accompanied only by his dog, Babur. On his journey, Stewart encounters many of Afghanistan’s most notable historical sites, including the Minaret of Jam, the Dome of Chist-e-Sharif and the Buddhas of Bamiyan, which were destroyed by the Taliban. Afghanistan is particularly hazardous during the winter and, while walking across landscape covered by nine feet of snow, he is physically assaulted, shot at and attacked by wolves.[1]

Stewart's account of seeing the Minaret of Jam was of significant, wider importance. Prior to his visit it was uncertain whether the tower was still standing. The Society for the Preservation of Afghanistan's Cultural Heritage had not heard a reliable report on its condition for some eight months, and there were concerns that the Taliban might have blown it up, as they did with the Bamiyan Buddhas. Though Stewart found the Minaret still standing, he encountered villagers who were conducting excavations of what they believed to be the lost city of the Turquoise Mountain, selling their finds to traders from Herat. Upon his return to the United Kingdom, Stewart contacted UNESCO to try to inform them of the scale of the damage being done by these unauthorised excavations, and confronted Professor Andrea Bruno at the British Museum in an attempt to raise awareness of its looting. He writes that he "was told that an archaeologist would begin work on the site in April 2003, sixteen months after my visit and long after the villagers had removed everything they could".[2] An account of his visit to the Minaret was published in The New York Times in August 2002.[3]

Stewart's travels roughly mirror those of Babur, the first Emperor of Mughal India, and quotes from his diary occur throughout the book.


Minaret of Jam in 2008
The Minaret of Jam

The Places in Between was critically applauded, winning the Royal Society of Literature Ondaatje Prize, a Scottish Arts Council prize and the Spirit of Scotland award in 2005. It was short-listed for the Guardian First Book Award and the John Llewlyn Rhys prize. The New York Times named it one of the top-ten books of 2006, a distinction the newspaper rarely gives to travel books.[4] It was a New York Times bestseller for thirteen weeks and has been translated into nine languages.[5]


The book was first published as a hardcover by Picador in the UK on 4 June 2004 (ISBN 0330486330). A second revised edition was published as a paperback in the UK on 1 April 2005 (ISBN 0330486349). On 8 May 2006 a further revised American paperback edition was published by Harvest Books (ISBN 0156031566). An audio recording was made in 2006 narrated by Rory Stewart while he was in Kabul and published by Recorded Books (ISBN 1428116702), based on the Harvest Books edition.


The Places in Between was dramatised by writer Benjamin Yeoh in a 45 minute radio play of the same name directed by Steven Canny, first broadcast on BBC Radio 4's Afternoon Play on 15 February 2007.[6] The play was the radio pick of the day in both the Guardian[7] and The Times.[8]


  1. ^ "THE PLACES IN BETWEEN - Rory Stewart". Rory Stewart. Retrieved 2018-11-02.
  2. ^ Stewart, Rory (2005). The Places In Between. London: Picador. pp. 130–58.
  3. ^ "The Looting of Turquoise Mountain - Rory Stewart". Rory Stewart. 2002-08-25. Retrieved 2018-11-02.
  4. ^ "The 10 Best Books of 2006", from The New York Times Book Review
  5. ^ "THE PLACES IN BETWEEN - Rory Stewart". Rory Stewart. Retrieved 2018-11-02.
  6. ^ BBC – Afternoon Play – The Places In Between
  7. ^ Guardian Radio Pick of the Day
  8. ^ Times Pick of the day, Chris Campling

External links


2014 Scottish independence referendum

A referendum on Scottish independence from the United Kingdom took place on Thursday 18 September 2014. The referendum question was "Should Scotland be an independent country?", which voters answered with "Yes" or "No". The "No" side won, with 2,001,926 (55.3%) voting against independence and 1,617,989 (44.7%) voting in favour. The turnout of 84.6% was the highest recorded for an election or referendum in the United Kingdom since the introduction of universal suffrage.

The Scottish Independence Referendum Act 2013, setting out the arrangements for the referendum, was passed by the Scottish Parliament in November 2013, following an agreement between the devolved Scottish government and the Government of the United Kingdom. To pass, the independence proposal required a simple majority. With some exceptions, all European Union (EU) or Commonwealth citizens resident in Scotland aged sixteen years or over could vote, which produced a total electorate of almost 4,300,000 people. This was the first time that the electoral franchise was extended to include sixteen and seventeen-year-olds in Scotland.

Yes Scotland was the main campaign group for independence, while Better Together was the main campaign group in favour of maintaining the union. Many other campaign groups, political parties, businesses, newspapers and prominent individuals were also involved. Prominent issues raised during the referendum included the currency an independent Scotland would use, public expenditure, EU membership, and North Sea oil. An exit poll of voters revealed that for "No"-voters, the retention of the pound sterling was the deciding factor, while for "yes"-voters, the biggest single motivation was "disaffection with Westminster politics".

Atlantic City High School

Atlantic City High School (ACHS) is a public high school in Atlantic City, New Jersey, United States. It is part of the Atlantic City School District.

The current school building opened in 1994 and holds approximately 2,500 students. Students from Brigantine, Longport, Margate City and Ventnor City attend the school as part of sending/receiving relationships with their respective school districts.

Benjamin Yeoh

Benjamin Yeoh (born 1978) is a British Chinese playwright.


Buzkashi (بزکشی, literally "goat pulling" in Persian) is a Central Asian sport in which horse-mounted players attempt to place a goat or calf carcass in a goal. Similar games are known as kokpar, kupkari and ulak tartysh, in Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan and as kökbörü and gökbörü in Turkey, where it is played mainly by communities originally from Central Asia.


Firozkoh (Persian/Pashto: فیروزکوه, Fīrōzkōh), or Turquoise Mountain, is the lost capital of the Ghorid dynasty, in the Ghor Province of central Afghanistan. It was reputedly one of the greatest cities of its age, but was destroyed by Tolui, son of Genghis Khan, in the early 1220s after a siege and lost to history. Firozkoh was used as a summer capital, as the leadership of the Ghorid sultanate were semi-nomadic.It has been proposed that the magnificent Minaret of Jam, in Shahrak District, Ghor Province, is the only standing remains of the city. It is also believed that the ancient city was the home of a Jewish trading community, documented by inscriptions on tombstones found in the 1950s. The scholar Walter Fischel published an article reviewing the finds and establishing the connections of the Firozkoh community with other Jewish communities in early Medieval Afghanistan.

Ghor Province

Ghōr (Pashto/Persian: غور‎), also spelled Ghowr or Ghur, is one of the thirty-four provinces of Afghanistan. It is located in Hazarajat region in central Afghanistan, towards the north-west. The province contains ten districts, encompassing hundreds of villages, and approximately 657,200 settled people. Firuzkoh, (called Chaghcharan until 2014) serves as the capital of the province.

Guardian First Book Award

The Guardian First Book Award was a literary award presented by The Guardian newspaper. It annually recognised one book by a new writer. It was established in 1999, replacing the Guardian Fiction Award or Guardian Fiction Prize that the newspaper had sponsored from 1965. The Guardian First Book Award was discontinued in 2016, with the 2015 awards being the last.

John Llewellyn Rhys Prize

The John Llewellyn Rhys Prize was a literary prize awarded annually for the best work of literature (fiction, non-fiction, poetry, drama) by an author from the Commonwealth aged 35 or under, written in English and published in the United Kingdom. Established in 1942, it is one of the oldest literary awards in the UK.Since 2011 the award has been suspended due to funding problems. The last award was in 2010.

Kuchi dog

The Kuchi or Afghan Shepherd is an Afghan livestock guardian dog, taking its name from the Kuchi people of Afghanistan. It is a working dog following the nomads, protecting caravans and flocks of sheep, goats, camels and other livestock from wolves, big cats and thieves. It is sometimes known as just a local variant of the Central Asian Shepherd Dog and its status as a distinct breed is disputable.

Sage Kuchi or Sage Jangi is the standard Persian name and the Pashto name is De Kochyano Spai or Jangi Spai, meaning "Dog of the Nomads" and "Fighter Dog". It is found around the central and northern parts of Afghanistan, Pakistan and the surrounding regions in Central Asia. This mountain dog shares similar genetic background to the Central Asian Ovtcharka (CAO).

Because the dog is intricately associated with nomad life in remote and rugged regions where Western breeding techniques are not used, it is difficult to identify a "true" Kuchi type dog. Warfare and general unrest in the region has also affected the Kuchi people, of whom many have settled around cities, creating ample opportunity for the Kuchi to interbreed with other dogs. There is no organizing body for dogs in Afghanistan and some Kuchi dogs have been exported to Europe.

Long-distance trail

A long-distance trail (or long-distance footpath, track, way, greenway) is a longer recreational trail mainly through rural areas used for hiking, backpacking, cycling, horse riding or cross-country skiing. They exist on all continents except Antartica.

Many trails are marked on maps. Typically, a long-distance route will be at least 50 km (30 mi) long, but many run for several hundred miles, or longer.

Many routes are waymarked and may cross public or private land and/or follow existing rights of way. Generally, the surface is not specially prepared, and there are often rough ground and uneven areas, except in places such as converted rail tracks or popular walking routes where stone-pitching and slabs have been laid to prevent erosion. In some places, official trails will have the surface specially prepared to make the going easier.

Minaret of Jam

The Minaret of Jam is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in western Afghanistan. It is located in a remote and nearly inaccessible region of the Shahrak District, Ghor Province, next to the Hari River. The 65-metre (213 ft) or 62-metre (203 ft) high minaret was built around 1190 entirely of baked bricks and is famous for its intricate brick, stucco and glazed tile decoration, which consists of alternating bands of kufic and naskhi calligraphy, geometric patterns, and verses from the Qur'an. Since 2002, the minaret has remained on the list of World Heritage in Danger, under serious threat of erosion, and has not been actively preserved. In 2014, the BBC reported that the tower was in imminent danger of collapse.

Ondaatje Prize

The Royal Society of Literature Ondaatje Prize is an annual literary award given by the Royal Society of Literature. The £10,000 award is for a work of fiction, non-fiction or poetry that evokes the "spirit of a place", and is written by someone who is a citizen of or who has been resident in the Commonwealth or the Republic of Ireland.The prize bears the name of its benefactor Christopher Ondaatje. The prize incorporates the Winifred Holtby Memorial Prize, which was presented up to 2002 for regional fiction.

Outdoor literature

Outdoor literature is a literature genre about or involving the outdoors. Outdoor literature encompasses several different subgenres including exploration literature, adventure literature, mountain literature and nature writing. Another subgenre is the guide book, an early example of which was Thomas West's guide to the Lake District published in 1778. The genres can include activities such as exploration, survival, sailing, hiking, mountaineering, whitewater boating, geocaching or kayaking, or writing about nature and the environment. Travel literature is similar to outdoor literature but differs in that it does not always deal with the out-of-doors, but there is a considerable overlap between these genres, in particular with regard to long journeys.

Pankaj Mishra

Pankaj Mishra (born 1969) is an Indian essayist and novelist. He is a recipient of the 2014 Windham–Campbell Prize for non-fiction.

Rory Stewart

Roderick James Nugent "Rory" Stewart (born 3 January 1973) is a British politician serving as Secretary of State for International Development since 2019. A member of the Conservative Party, he has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for Penrith and The Border since 2010. Stewart is a candidate for Leader of the Conservative Party in the 2019 leadership contest.

After having chaired the Defence Select Committee from 14 May 2014 to 12 May 2015, he served in the Cameron Government as Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs until 17 July 2016 and in the May Government as Minister of State at the Department for International Development (2016–2018) and Minister of State for Africa at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (2017–2018). Following the 2018 cabinet reshuffle, Stewart was appointed Minister of State at the Ministry of Justice. On 1 May 2019, he succeeded Penny Mordaunt as International Development Secretary.

Stewart was a coalition official in Iraq in 2003–2004. He is known for his book about this experience, Occupational Hazards or The Prince of the Marshes, as well as for his 2002 walk across Afghanistan (part of a larger walk across Iran, Pakistan, India and Nepal), which served as the basis for his bestseller, The Places in Between. He later worked in cultural development in Afghanistan as executive chairman of the British charity Turquoise Mountain Foundation.

Sidney Drell

Sidney David Drell (September 13, 1926 – December 21, 2016) was an American theoretical physicist and arms control expert.

At the time of his death, he was professor emeritus at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC) and senior fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution. Drell was a noted contributor in the fields of quantum electrodynamics and high-energy particle physics. The Drell–Yan process is partially named for him.

Vivid Live

Vivid LIVE is an annual contemporary music festival held by Sydney Opera House as part of Vivid Sydney. Taking place across all six venues at the Opera House, it features a bill of local and international artists, specially commissioned works and the hallmark Lighting of the Sails. It stands as the centrepiece of the Sydney Opera House's contemporary music program.

At the forefront of each lineup are influential artists performing their most impactful works. Over the years this has included The Cure’s Reflections (2011); Kraftwerk’s retrospective, The Catalogue 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 in 3D (2013); Brian Eno’s Pure Scenius (2009); Lou Reed & Laurie Anderson (2010) and the Pixies (2014).

Unique projects have ranged from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs' Karen O in Stop The Virgens (2012); Sufjan Stevens, Bryce Dessner & Nico Muhly in Planetarium (2012) to Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon, Megafaun and Fight the Big Bull in Sounds of the South (2013).

Vivid LIVE has also seen Australian premieres and exclusive performances from the likes of Ms. Lauryn Hill (2014); Amon Tobin’s ISAM (2012); Chris Cunningham (2011); Bat For Lashes (2011); The Gurrumul Project (2013) and the late Bobby Womack (2013). Most notably, it has showcased a series of emerging artists who have since established themselves at the forefront of contemporary music—including Nils Frahm (2014), St Vincent (2014), Danny Brown (2013), Flume (2009) and Jon Hopkins (2009).

Vivid LIVE was the winner of the Helpmann Award for Best Contemporary Music Festival in 2015.

In 2018 the festival will celebrate its tenth anniversary.

Warp (video gaming)

A warp, also known as a portal or teleporter, is an element in video game design that allows a player character instant travel between two locations or levels. Specific areas that allow such travel are referred to as warp zones. A warp zone might be a secret passage, accessible only to players capable of finding it, but they are also commonly used as a primary mean of travel in certain games. Warps might be deliberately installed within puzzles, be used to avoid danger in sections of a game that have been previously accomplished, be something a player can abuse for cheating or be used as a punishment to a player straying from the "correct" path.In some games, a player can only use warps to travel to locations they have visited before. Because of this, a player has to make the journey by normal route at least once, but are not required to travel the same paths again if they need to revisit earlier areas in the game. Finding warp zones might become a natural goal of a gaming session, being used as a checkpoint.Though it is unclear which video game first made use of teleportation areas or devices, the element has been traced back to MUDs, where it allowed connected rooms to not be "topologically correct" if necessary. The element was later popularized by Super Mario Bros., in which secret areas referred to within the game as warp zones allowed players to skip forward through the game.

William Simpson (artist)

William Simpson (28 October 1823 – 17 August 1899) was a Scottish artist, war artist and war correspondent.

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