Ian Dallas’ ‘The Book of Strangers’: A hero’s journey from the mundane to sacred




Course Introduction

Sometime in the future the head librarian at a great center of learning suddenly disappears, leaving behind a journal that describes his weariness with a world “where people teach but know nothing, where the sentences flow on endlessly but lead nowhere.” His successor in the post becomes more and more intrigued by the vanished man’s fate, until a series of mysterious clues lead him on a journey both inward and outward, to a world that begins where language ends. Within a matter of weeks, he finds himself in the company of powerful dervishes, God-intoxicated nomads whose eyes blaze with love, and ragged beggars with the smile of the Pure One. These men, the followers of an enlightened Shaykh, speak little, but simply to be in their company fills him with ecstasy and knowledge.

In this 5 hours online course, we shall use Campbell’s model to illustrate and explain the different stages of the journey Dallas undertook from the mundane to the sacred. In other words, from the illusory to the Real. 

It will also highlight the crucial stages we experience whilst on our own heroic journey to discover ourselves and a higher purpose in life. We shall use Dallas’ book as the main text, however, we will furnish each of the stages with examples from personal experiences, film, and literature.

The course will be taught in English.

Once registered, a Zoom link for all classes will be emailed to you.

I look forward to embarking on this profound journey with you.

Kind regards,



Teacher Bio

Zulfiqar Awan BA Hons, MA, PGCE

British lecturer, Zulfiqar Awan (BA Hons, MA, PGCE and Ph.D. candidate) has 15 years of teaching experience in the U.K and Cape Town, South Africa. Mr. Awan has also worked as an independent senior lecturer in philosophy, history, and politics on behalf of the British Government. He is the founder of Humanitas LifeLong Learning, where he teaches regular evening classes and short courses directly to the public, and online to an international audience. Mr Awan currently resides in Istanbul, Turkey.

We shall begin the course on Wednesday 25th August 2021 at 21.00 (Istanbul Time). Thereafter, the classes will take place on Wednesdays.