“…the best travel book in a long time. Because it is a courageous project, it tells fascinating stories, it connects form and content in a terrific way, and it is a declaration of love to the art of travelling: to be spontaneous, to follow the moment, to open one’s eyes widely, to get involved with the country and above all the people.”  

“…Henneken looks behind the scenes, behind the scarf, behind the official images.

“Iranians live for the moment and don’t plan enough, is Henneken once told. Germans in contrast plan too much and miss the moment. So much for the clichés. With her tour, Helena Henneken has shown that it can be different, on both sides.”

Kulturradio RBB, 10.04.2014


“…the book shows a very different picture of Iran than what we know from the media.”

1LIVE Plan B, 14.04.2014


“‘they would rock’ is a laid-back account of a journey in an exceptional country which is primarily about hospitality…

“Reading the book is as fascinating as the narrated text, even though it goes from right to left, from back to front, which takes a bit of getting used to at first. Added enthralling photographs and funny statistics make it a perfect read.

Neue Westfälische, 14.05.2014


“…an amazing book, because this way of travelling is not possible in Europe any more.”

Again and again the conversations touch sensitive topics: human rights, the role of women, the lack of political freedom, the atomic bomb. ‘Maybe first of all I should listen’, says Helena Henneken at the beginning of the book (…). This does not mean, though, that she lets herself be lulled. But that this attitude towards her travels allows for things to be seen differently. A smart strategy, since this prevents her of drawing a black-and-white picture of Iran. She rather shows the diversity of this society and the number of contradictions many individuals have to cope with.

Henneken’s curiosity and openness give the reader an unseen perspective on the country, whose majority of inhabitants are unexpectedly free thinking and more progressive than the obstinate elite.”

Süddeutsche Zeitung, 18.06.2014


The travel report ‘they would rock’ is printed in Persian reading direction, for our perception back to front, and this basic idea is not only consequent – after all the author is travelling in Iran – but also symbolic for the whole concept. The author Helena Henneken turns quite a lot upside down and approaches things from the other side.”

After reading how many books can one say, that he is not sure any more what’s the other way around and what’s not, what’s backwards and what’s in front? By all means: an exceptional experience for a travel book.”

Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung, 22.06.2014


“In her exceptional travel diary, Helena Henneken describes the Iranians’ hospitality with open eyes and an open heart. One follows her in Persian reading direction, and thanks to great snapshots and anecdotes, gets right into the middle of her Persian love-rock-song!”

BÜCHERmagazin, 04/2014


“Page by page, which read the Persian way from right to left, the author manages to provide the reader an exclusive access to a country, of which one hasn’t heard much good news lately...

“…personal insights into encounters and situations, which are granted to the reader, make ‘they would rock’ a treasure among the travel diaries that entraps the desire to experience such adventures as well.”

StadtlicHH #15, 06/2014


Nomination for “börsenblatt Young Excellence Award”

“The world behind the scarf: Helena Henneken (…) is not afraid of adventures. Pure curiosity made her leave for Iran in April 2013. When she set off into the unknown with her backpack, two guidebooksand a crash course in the national language Farsi she didn’t even expect that an inspiring ‘explorer’s book’ would arise out of this trip: ‘they would rock. 59 Days in Iran’ (Gudberg). Henneken has met capital city dwellers and Kurdish villagers, mullahs and anar-chisticstudents, police officers and artists. People who are proud of their homeland, connected with the world via internet – but seldom get the chance to develop themselves freely. A courageous project that rocks.”

Börsenblatt, 04.09.2014
Börsenblatt Film


Globetrotter of the Year Award

“She was voted Globetrotter of the year, but could also have won the Globetrotter travel book award: The 37-year Helena Henneken from Hamburg travelled on her own through Iran for 59 days returning with a moving story.

Globetrotter: 4-seasons, 08.09.2014 (interview in English)