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Julia Keay's Last Book
In November 2013 Farzana: The Tempestuous Life and Times of the Begum Samru was publshed by HarperCollins (India). This was Julia's last book before her death in 2011. It tells the rags-to-riches story of the most remarkable (and arguably the most notorious) woman in eighteenth century India. A milestone in our understanding of this extraordinary character, it carries a foreword by William Dalrymple and an afterword by John Keay.
2014 India Tours
John Keay will be accompanying a tour group in Gujarat and southern Rajasthan for Pettitts in March 2014, and another down the Ganges for Martin Randall Travel in February 2014 and possibly November 2014.
2014 Lectures
As well as appearances in connection with the launch of Midnight's Descendants (the first history of all South Asia since Partition), John will be speaking on The Great Arc at the National Army Museum on 27 March, on Midnight's Descendants at Asia House on 14 May and on The Honourable Company at the Solihull Conference of FIBIS on 16-18 May. Thereafter he will be speaking at 'Ways with Words' (Dartington) on 6 July, Edinburgh Book Festival on 18 August, Henley Book Festival on 30 September, Cheltenham Book Festival on 10 October and Faclan (Stornoway) on 1 November.
ROARR and The Great Arc
For the fourth time, one of Conrad Birch's 'Rhythm of a Road Rallies' is following the Great Indian Arc of the Meridian from Kanya Kumari (Cape Comorin) to Dehra Dun — about 1600 miles. Conrad and his associates now know the topography of the Great Arc as well as anyone. The journey is usually made in a fleet of classic cars with accommodation in a tented sarai that would not have disgraced a Mughal emperor. For the Feb/March 2014 expedition he's using more conventional means of transport but without sacrificing anything in the way of luxury. Visit ROARR's website for more information.
John still reviews for the Literary Review, the Times Literary Supplement, and Slightly Foxed. He recently wrote a piece for Outlook on India in 1818, a year in which very little happened.
India: A History
At long last the current edition of India: A History is available from HarperCollins in ebook form. Quite why it has taken so long to get there is unclear. Nor does it make it a quicker read. But it does take up less room.