University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

Traveling the Silk Road Today


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Film Description:A Conversation with 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.

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.
Video Category:Lecture
Video Date:03/26/2011
Contributor: Colin Thubron
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