Elephant Complex: Travels in Sri Lanka

John Gimlette describes his three months of travels in Sri Lanka. Few places are as contradictory. The island is home to over 5,800 wild elephants and yet it’s only the size of Ireland. For the last three decades, it’s hosted not only an alluring tourist industry but also the most savage civil war Asia has ever known (1983-2009). There was once a time when outsiders felt they knew this island. Now, we’re not so sure.

John Gimlette is an award-winning travel writer, having won the prestigious Shiva Naipaul Prize for travel writing in 1997. He is the author of four books: ‘At the Tomb of the Inflatable Pig: Travels in Paraguay’, ‘Theatre of Fish; Travels in Newfoundland and Labrador’, ‘Panther Soup: A European Journey in War and Peace’. ‘Wild Coast; Travels on South America’s Untamed Edge’, launched in February 2011. He also regularly contributes articles and photographs to a wide range of magazines and broadsheet newspapers. All four books have featured on BBC Radio 4, and the first two were nominated by The New York Times as being among the ‘100 Notable Books of the Year’. John’s writing is highly praised by reviewers and readers alike for its originality and elegance. His work draws on wide-ranging research, ambitious itineraries and a keen eye for the curious. ‘As a historian of the absurd,’ wrote one journalist of Gimlette, ‘he is superlative’. His travels have taken him from places as diverse as Laos and Eritrea, and through almost every country in Latin America. Along the way, he’s worked as a ranch hand, taught English, and manned a frontier-post for Bolivian customs. He now lives in London where he also practices as a barrister.



29 June 2016

Where: The Royal Astronomical Society, Burlington House, Piccadilly, London W1

Lecture starts at 1.15pm and ends around 2.30pm. A sandwich lunch is available from 12.30pm and must be booked via the office by 2.30pm the day before.

Tickets: Free. Members and their guests only.

25 OCT


Report back on the Society Tour to Jordan

Where: 7.00 pm start at Royal Asiatic Society, 14 Stephenson Way, London NW1 - between Euston Station and Euston Square tube.

Tickets: Members and their guests only

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