Travellers & Explorers – A symposium of travel writers

Travellers & Explorers – A symposium of travel writers

16-18 Nov. 2012

An extraordinary opportunity to hear from some of the greatest travellers and explorers of our time. All are best-selling authors and highly experienced presenters.
With an audience numbering no more than 70, most staying in the same hotel as the speakers, there is plenty of opportunity for continuing conversations and learning more.
Speakers include: Benedict Allen, Tim Butcher, Anne Chisholm (chair), William Dalrymple, John Gimlette, Robin Hanbury-Tenison, Justin Marozzi, Iain Sinclair, Sara Wheeler.

INTRODUCTION
This is an extraordinary opportunity to hear from some of the greatest travellers and explorers of our time. All are best-selling authors and highly experienced presenters.

A remarkably diverse range of subject matter and approaches is covered, with each of the eight speakers giving two half-hour talks. Moreover, in addition to Q&A sessions and two plenary discussions, the speakers are around for the whole weekend, joining the audience for dinner and refreshment breaks.

With an audience numbering no more than 70, most staying in the same hotel as the speakers, there is plenty of opportunity for continuing conversations and learning more.
The residential package includes the excellent breakfasts and dinners at one of the most charming and welcoming hotels in regional England, The Castle at Taunton.

Martin Randall Travel is Britain’s leading specialist cultural travel company, with over 200 tours and events worldwide. In business for 25 years, they have been organising music weekends and symposia at The Castle since 2003.

Speakers:

Benedict Allen. TV presenter, explorer and author, Benedict made television history by being the first to record his arduous exploits without a TV crew. TV work includes the major eight-part reality epic Expedition on Africa (2009) for the History Channel and Travellers’ Century (2008) for BBC4. His six BBC series include Skeleton Coast, Edge of Blue Heaven and Ice Dogs. He has written ten books, including The Faber Book of Exploration and Into the Abyss, and articles for a wide range of magazines and newspapers.

Tim Butcher is a journalist who specialises in awkward places at awkward times. His Blood River depicts and elucidates the chaos of the Congo and Chasing the Devil searches for a whisky-sozzled Graham Greene in post-Charles Taylor Liberia. Gabriel’s Rage, forthcoming, is an account of Archduke Franz Ferdinand’s assassin and the mountainous Balkan terrain, which was the scene of Europe’s most recent war.

Anne Chisholm (chair), is Chairman of the Royal Society of Literature and a biographer whose subjects have included Nancy Cunard (1979), Lord Beaverbrook (1992, written jointly with her late husband Michael Davie), Rumer Godden (1997) and Frances Partridge (2009). She has worked in journalism and publishing in Britain, the United States and Australia, and has written books set in Japan and India.

William Dalrymple (back), born in Scotland and now resident in India, is one of the most celebrated historians and travel writers of our time. His first book, In Xanadu, following Marco Polo from Jerusalem to Mongolia, was published when he was 22. Since 1994 most of his writings have concerned India, beginning with City of Djinns, a study of Delhi, including White Mughals (2003), a revelatory study of the Anglo-Indian intimacy, and the highly acclaimed Nine Lives: In Search of the Sacred in Modern India (2009). He is also a frequent broadcaster. Currently he is working on The Return of a King, about the 1839–42 Anglo-Afghan War.

John Gimlette crossed the Soviet Union by train at 17 and, at 19, travelled through Argentina, Paraguay and Chile during the Falklands War. His first book, At the Tomb of the Inflatable Pig: Travels in Paraguay, appeared in 2001 and, like Theatre of Fish; Travels in Newfoundland and Labrador, (2005), was nominated by The New York Times among its ‘Books of the Year’. Panther Soup is the story of a journey through Europe in the company of an American war veteran, retracing the campaign trail of 1944-45, and his latest book, Wild Coast, follows travels in the Guianas. He practises as a barrister between travels.

Robin Hanbury-Tenison OBE DL is a conservationist, broadcaster, film-maker, author of over 20 books, lecturer, campaigner, farmer and one of the few remaining British explorers who merit the name. He is a Gold Medallist of the Royal Geographical Society, and a Founder and President of Survival International, the organisation supporting tribal peoples. Named as the greatest explorer by the Sunday Times, he has been on over 30 expeditions, including as leader of the Royal Geographical Society’s largest expedition, taking 115 scientists to live for 15 months in the interior of Borneo.

Justin Marozzi is a journalist for the BBC World Service, Financial Times and The Economist and has travelled extensively in the Middle East and Africa, especially the troubled parts. Books include South from Barbary, an account of a 1,200-mile expedition by camel along the slave routes of the Libyan Sahara; Tamerlane: Sword of Islam, Conqueror of the World; and The Man Who Invented History: Travels with Herodotus, based on wanderings in Turkey, Iraq, Egypt and Greece. Baghdad: City of Peace, City of Blood will be published by Penguin in 2013.

Iain Sinclair has lived in Hackney since 1969. His books exploring the myth and matter of London have acquired cult status and include London Orbital (‘sentence for sentence, there is no more interesting writer at work in English,’ Daily Telegraph) and Hackney, That Rose-Red Empire (2009). His novels include Downriver (Winner of the James Tait Black Prize), Radon Daughters, Landor’s Tower and Dining on Stones. He has also written and presented a number of TV documentaries, one of which, Asylum, won the short film prize at the Montreal Festival.

Sara Wheeler. Her books include the worldwide bestseller Terra Incognita: Travels in Antarctica, and Cherry: A Life of Apsley Cherry-Garrard (one of Captain Scott’s sledgers and author of The Worst Journey in the World). The Magnetic North: Notes from the Arctic Circle, was chosen as Book of the Year 2010 by Michael Palin, Will Self, A.N. Wilson and others, and Access All Areas: Selected Writings 1990-2010 followed in 2011. Other titles include travel books on Chile and on the Greek island of Evia. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and a qualified belly-dancer. She is working on a book about Fanny Trollope.

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