Anna Badkhen, from Russia to Boquillas

Anna Badkhen in Boquillas

Anna Badkhen in Boquillas

Pictured on August 23, 2014 outside the Park Bar in Boquillas, Mexico is war reporter, author and adventurer, Anna Badkhen.  She had just given book readings in Marfa and Alpine, highlighting her most recent book: The World is a Carpet: Four Seasons in an Afghan Village.

Rory Stewart, author of the popular The Places in Between, also set in Afghanistan, writes: “Badkhen places herself alone, for a year, in rural Afghanistan. This perspective – animated by her love for the country, and her hosts – yields a remarkable account of the rhythms, the wit and the energy of village life.”

Born in Russia, and learning Russian as a first language, Badkhen first came to the USA as an exchange student and later immigrated in 2004. She became a reporter for US newspapers  covering wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Chechnya and Somalia, and then turned to book writing. Her other books are: Afghanistan by Donkey: One Year in a War Zone, Peace Meals: Candy-Wrapped Kalashnikovs and Other War Stories, and Waiting for the Taliban: A Journey Through Northern Afghanistan, which she describes as “part diary entries, part love stories from a land that stole my heart.”

Anna and her son Fyodor.

Anna and her son Fyodor.

 

Crossing the Rio Grande

Crossing the Rio Grande

Badkhen is drawn to remote locations and clearly has a knack of connecting with the people living there in extreme poverty. She describes their lives with writing that reads like poetry. Slight in build and softly spoken, Badkhen holds the listener with the intensity of her quiet delivery and the power of the story. She now lives in Philadelphia, where her son Fyodor attends high school, but visits the Big Bend region regularly since it reminds her of other deserts and does something for her soul.

Her next project is about the nomadic Fulani cattle herders of Mali. She will return soon for a final visit  to a Fulani community she already knows, and then spend a year writing a book. Asked about where she sleeps in the Fulani village, she says “Outside, on the ground with a piece of plastic under me, with my backpack as a pillow.”

 

Carpet Book

Her most recent book

Another story idea she is working on is about Borders. The Boquillas visit gave her the opportunity to ask people on our border what the concept of border meant to them. I think we will see more books by Anna Badkhen, most likely on intriguing subjects and in distant places. I hope so. We don’t often get visiting authors of this depth and power , so here’s hoping she will visit Big Bend again soon. Her web page is:

Anna Badkhen

annabadkhen.com/
Jim Glendinning About Jim Glendinning

I am a Footloose Scot who has traveled to 136 countries. "I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel's sake. The great affair is to move." Robert Louis Stevenson
Read about Jim Glendinning and his book Footloose Scot: Travels In A Time Of Change

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