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The University of Southampton

Celebrity lecture to tell the tragic story of the fall of an Indian dynasty

Published: 18 June 2008

William Dalrymple, internationally-acclaimed writer of travel books, historian and broadcaster, will tell the dramatic and tragic story of the Indian mutiny of 1857, when he gives the Royal Geographical Society (RGS) Celebrity Lecture at Southampton's Turner Sims Concert Hall on Tuesday 17 June at 8pm.

William Dalrymple is no ordinary travel writer. At the tender age of 21 he travelled 19,000 kilometres in the footsteps of Marco Polo, from Jerusalem to the fabled land of Xanadu in eastern China. On completion he published the best-selling and universally lauded 'In Xanadu: A Quest'. Since then his projects have included basing himself in Delhi for six years writing 'City of Djinns', which won him the Thomas Cook Travel Book award and retracing the path of the sixth-century monk John Moschos from Mount Athos in Greece to the deserts of Egypt.

On a rare visit to the UK from India he retells his powerful story of the last days of the great Indian Mughal capital, Delhi. This is the subject of his latest book, 'The Last Mughal: The Fall of a Dynasty, Delhi, 1857', recently awarded the prestigious Duff Cooper Prize for History and Biography 2007. He will recount stories of one of the bloodiest upheavals in history, a dramatic yet tragic story of the largest uprising the British empire ever had to face.

William Dalrymple's painstaking research brings to a wider view first-hand accounts from Indian and Pakistani sources (including the last Emperor's) which have not been acknowledged by Western historians before. The resulting story captures the grand sweep of events spiced with vignettes about each of the key personalities and testaments to their characters.

William Dalrymple is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and of the Royal Asiatic Society, and is the founder and co-director of the Jaipur Literature Festival.

He wrote and presented the television series 'Stones of the Raj' and 'Indian Journeys', which won the Grierson Award for Best Documentary Series at BAFTA in 2002. His Radio 4 series on the history of British spirituality and mysticism, 'The Long Search', won the 2002 Sandford St Martin Prize for Religious Broadcasting and was described by the judges as 'thrilling in its brilliance... near perfect radio.'

Tickets are on sale now from the Turner Sims box office on 023 8059 5151.

Notes for editors

  • About the Turner Sims Concert Hall

    The Turner Sims Concert Hall opened in 1974 and is located on the University of Southampton's main Highfield campus. Today, the Concert Hall hosts more than 60 concerts a year and attracts international performers in classical, jazz, folk and world music. It is also used by local groups and societies for concerts and rehearsals, and by businesses for conferences, seminars and corporate events. The University of Southampton hosts lectures, seminars and graduation ceremonies at the venue.

  • About the University of Southampton

    The University of Southampton is a leading UK teaching and research institution with a global reputation for leading-edge research and scholarship.

    This is one of the country's top institutions for engineering, computer science and medicine, and home to a range of world-leading research centres, including the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton, the Institute of Sound and Vibration Research, the Optoelectronics Research Centre, the Centre for the Developmental Origins of Health and Disease, and the Mountbatten Centre for International Studies.

    We combine academic excellence with an innovative and entrepreneurial approach to research, supporting a culture that engages and challenges students and staff in their pursuit of learning.

    As one of the UK's top 10 research universities, we offer first-rate opportunities and facilities for study and research across a wide range of subjects in humanities, health, science and engineering.

    We have over 22,000 students, around 5000 staff, and an annual turnover in the region of £325 million.

  • For further information contact:

    Glenn Harris, Communications, University of Southampton, 023 8059 3212

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