A very happy publication day to Isabel Buchanan! Her debut non-fiction book, Trials: On Death Row in Pakistan is in bookshops from today, published by Jonathan Cape.
In 2011, Isabel Buchanan, a twenty-three-year-old Scottish lawyer, moved to Pakistan to work in a new legal chambers in Lahore. The chambers was run by a determined thirty-three-year-old Pakistani lawyer, Sarah Belal, who had finally found her calling in defending inmates on Pakistan’s death row.
Belal and Buchanan struck up an unlikely friendship, forged through working in a system that was instinctively hostile to newcomers – and doubly so if they were female. At Sarah’s side, and with the help of Nasar, the firm’s legendary clerk, Buchanan plunged into the strange and complex world of Pakistan’s justice system. The work was arduous, underfunded, and dangerous. But for a young Scottish lawyer like Buchanan it was an unparalleled education, offering a window onto a much-misunderstood country and culture. Filled with beautifully drawn characters – from blasphemers reading Richard Dawkins in Karachi to Pakistani shepherds caught up in the US war on terror – she creates a narrative brimming with ideas and bursting with humanity. It is a story of Pakistan, but it is also a universal story of the pursuit of justice in an uncertain world.
"This is far more than simply a memoir of one person's work in Pakistan - it is a deft, alert, moving, beautifully expressed and profound reflection on culture, politics, and the individual's experience of the law. I would recommend it to anyone." Rory Stewart
Pick up a copy of Isabel's book in all reputable book shops, or buy online here.