Traveling the Silk Road Today

Saturday, 26 March 2011 - 2:30pm

Rainey Auditorium, Penn Museum, 3260 South Street

Traveling the Silk Road Today

Colin Thubron

Travel Writer

Take a magic-carpet ride along the length of the most storied of ancient trade routes, the Silk Road, with Colin Thubron, one of the world's greatest living travel writers. Mr. Thubron describes his journey of some 7000 miles—by local bus, truck, car, donkey cart, camel, and foot—out of the heart of China into the mountains of Central Asia, across northern Afghanistan and the plains of Iran into Kurdish Turkey, which led to his bestselling book, Shadow of the Silk Road.

Joining Mr. Thubron in conversation are Richard Hodges, the Williams Director of the Penn Museum, and James English, Director of the Penn Humanities Forum. Mr. Thubron will be available following the event for a book signing.

Colin Thubron is Britain’s most distinguished travel writer, an award-winning author whose books cover Asia and Russia. His first books were about the Middle East—Damascus, Lebanon, and Cyprus. In 1982 he traveled in the Soviet Union, pursued by the KGB. From these early experiences developed his great travel books on the landmass that makes up Russia and Asia: Among the Russians (1983); Behind the Wall: A Journey through China (1987), which won the Hawthornden Prize and the Thomas Cook Travel Book Award; The Lost Heart of Asia (1994); In Siberia (1999), Shadow of the Silk Road (2006); and most recently, To a Mountain in Tibet (2011; click here for video of BBC interview with Mr. Thubron.)

Mr. Thubron has also written several novels, including Emperor (1978), set in A.D. 312; A Cruel Madness (1984), winner of the PEN/Macmillan Silver Pen Award; Falling (1989); Turning Back the Sun (1991), a haunting tale of love and exile; Distance (1996); and To the Last City (2002), which tells the story of a group of travellers in Peru.

A Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature since 1969 and currently its president, Colin Thubron is a regular contributor and reviewer for The Times, the Times Literary Supplement, and The Spectator. In 2007, he was appointed a CBE by Queen Elizabeth.

Cosponsored by the Penn Museum and Penn Humanities Forum as part of Along the Silk Road Culture Day.

Special program in celebration of Penn Museum exhibition, Secrets of the Silk Road.