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October 2, 2008


NORTHAMPTON, Mass.—Award-winning travel writer Colin Thubron will visit Smith College on Thursday, Oct. 23, to field questions from students enrolled in a travel narratives course and deliver a public lecture.

The lecture, titled “The Travel Writer Today: A Figure in His Own Landscape,” will begin at 7 p.m. in the Neilson Library Browsing Room. A book signing will follow.

Thubron’s most recent novel, “Shadow of Silk Road,” chronicles his 7,000-mile journey from Xian, China, to the Turkish coastal city of Antioch. It is his ninth travel book and one that he began in 2003 at the age of 64.

The novel follows the trails that “the great Chinese inventions made their way west: printing, the crossbow, gunpowder, lock-gates and drive-belts, the mechanical clock, the spinning wheel, iron-chain suspension bridges, equine harnesses and deep-drilling techniques,” according to the New York Times book review.

Reviewer Lorraine Adams described Thubron as a hitchhiker. “He gets drunk with Kyrgyz villagers who drive headlong toward a truck. He camps in a mud hut with workers in the mountains of northern Iran. He equably drinks wine out of paper cups with a Russian beggar. His clothes are dodgy, his rucksack light.”

Born in London and educated at Eton College, Thubron worked briefly for the publishers Hutchinson and as a freelance television filmmaker in Turkey, Japan and Morocco. His first book, “Mirror to Damascus,” was published in 1967.

Thubron is also the author of several novels, including a historical fiction, “Emperor,” set in A.D. 312; “A Cruel Madness,” winner of the PEN/Macmillan Silver Pen Award; “Turning Back the Sun,” a tale of love and exile; and “To the Last City,” the story of a group of travelers in Peru.

Thubron’s lecture is sponsored by the Program in Comparative Literature and the College Lecture Committee.

For information about disability access or to request accommodations, call (413) 585-2407. To request a sign language interpreter specifically, call (413) 585-2071 (voice or TTY) or e-mail All requests must be made at least 10 days prior to the event.

Smith College educates women of promise for lives of distinction. By linking the power of the liberal arts to excellence in research and scholarship, Smith is developing leaders for society’s challenges. Smith is one of the largest undergraduate women’s college in the country, enrolling 2,800 students from nearly every state and 61 other countries.

Office of College Relations
Smith College
Garrison Hall
Northampton, Massachusetts 01063

Marti Hobbes
News Assistant
T (413) 585-2190
F (413) 585-2174

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