Event Detail

5
Mar
2008

Silk Road

Colin Thubron Dinner
Wednesday, 5 Mar 2008
THE ROYAL GEOGRAPHICAL SOCIETY HONG KONG presents A Dinner Lecture with Colin Thubron, FRSL on
"Shadow of the Silk Road" Wednesday, 5 March 2008
AND
Thursday, 6 March 2008
The Hong Kong Fooll Club, Causeway Bay 6.30pm Drinks Reception
7.30 pm 10.30 pm Lecture and Banquet Dinner This event is being held in conjunction with the Man International Literary Festival In 2004, one of the world's greatest travel writers set off on his longest and most epic journey, a 7,000mile retracing of the route of the Silk Road. In a dinner lecture by perhaps the world's most read travel writer and author of the seminal travel book on China, "Behind the Wall", Colin Thubron presents an original, highly revisionist view of the Silk Road, then and now. This lecture, the culmination of a lifetime's travel, when given at the Royal geographical Society in London made such a sensation that it had to be given three times. Colin Thubron tells of an epic journey through China and central Asia. Through the mountains, deserts and steppes, Mr Thubron brings out elements of travel, history, anthropology, personal experience and quest. The 7,000mile tramp along the ancient trade route from eastern China to Turkey was timely, given the enormous changes in China, the new countries of central Asia and the world's fears of Islam. Mr Thubron took twoyears to travel from Beijing to the Mediterranean port of Antioch in search of all of history, the present, adventure and the hopes of peoples struggling with transition. He tells of cutting through missiletorn Afghanistan and other lands contested by the Taliban. He gives romantic reflections on Tamerlane the Great and other Silk Road titans. He tells of central Asia in perilous upheaval, its five republics, devised by Stalin to prevent a united Muslim bloc in his empire, as a stew of Islamic fundamentalism, gangster enterprise and boozeinflamed nostalgia for the Soviet days. His previous accounts of communist Russia and China "Among the Russians" and "Behind the Wall" narrated the lives of ordinary people trapped by dictatorship. Two decades on, the lecture documents the demise of Soviet ideologies and the rise of more frightening fanaticisms. Stalin closed more than 26,000 mosques in the region but now its restive populations are infiltrated by alQaeda. In the beautiful caravan city of Samarkand, he finds that Tartar silk and gold have been replaced by a clutter of DVDs and other corruptions from the West. Mr Thubron questions, moved into modern capitalism, the likely future of the great Silk Road cities. Mr Thubron delights, as he recounts his journey, in the solitary frisson of travel and, as he attempts to unravel the Silk Road's presentday identity, tells of encounters with everyone from Hunan traders, Uzbek prostitutes to volatile Kurdish Turks. Colin Thubron was educated at Eton, following which he worked briefly for the publishers Hutchinson and as a freelance television filmmaker in Turkey, Japan and Morocco. Mr Thubron soon became an awardwinning travel writer and novelist. His first book, Mirror to Damascus, was published in 1967. He continued to write about the Middle East in The Hills of Adonis: A Journey in Lebanon (1968) and Jerusalem (1969). Among the Russians (1983) describes a journey through western Russia during the Brezhnev era. Probably his masterpiece, Behind the Wall: A Journey through China (1987) won both the Hawthornden Prize and the Thomas Cook Travel Book Award. The Lost Heart of Asia (1994) narrates his travels through the newlyindependent central Asian republics, exploring the effects of the collapse of the Soviet Union on the region. He returned to Russia for In Siberia (1999). Mr Thubron is also the author of several novels, the most recent of which To the Last City (2002), was shortlisted for the Booker Prize, was the first to combine his interest in travel with novelwriting. A Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature since 1969, Colin Thubron is a regular contributor and reviewer for magazines and newspapers including The Times, the Times Literary Supplement and The Spectator. Mr Thubron, among innumerable awards, holds the PEN Macmillan Silver Pen Award, Hawthornden Prize, Thomas Cook Travel Book Award, Royal Scottish Geographical Society Mungo Park Medal and Royal Society for Asian Affairs Lawrence of Arabia Medal. There is a charge for this event of HK$500 for Members and HK$550 for Guests, which includes a threecourse banquet dinner with wine and soft drinks. Prior to dinner, there is a cocktail reception. There is prebooked individual seating, or you may arrange a group at a table, or book a table of 10, 11 or 12 people. Tickets must be reserved by writing to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. followed by cheque or electronic transfer in advance on the attached form. THE ROYAL GEOGRAPHICAL SOCIETY HONG KONG presents A Dinner Lecture with Colin Thubron, FRSL "Shadow of the Silk Road" Wednesday, 5 March 2008 The Hong Kong Fooll Club, Causeway Bay
6.30 pm Drinks Reception
7.30 pm 10.30 pm Lecture and Banquet Dinner I require ____ member ticket(s) at $500 each and ____ guest ticket(s) at $550 each and I enclose a cheque for $_______ Member name:
1 _____________________ 2 _____________________ Guest Name:
1 _____________________ 2 _____________________ 3_____________________ 4______________________ 5_____________________ 6______________________ Please write (v) next to the names of the people who require a vegetarian meal. I/we would like to sit with: ___________________________________ There is prebooked individual seating at a table, or you may arrange a group at a table, or book a complete table of 10, 11 or 12 people. Email address: _______________________________ No tickets will be issued. You will receive confirmation of your booking by email. If you have any questions please phone 2583 9700 or write to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Please make your cheque payable to "Royal Geographical Society HK" and send to RGSHK, GPO Box 6681, Hong Kong. Thank you for attending this event.

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