Chairperson: Eve Patten
Colin Thubron has been exploring the far-flung corners of our planet for over 40 years, communicating his experiences with quiet erudition, rare humanity and sheer lyrical power. Here he discusses his most personal journey yet — deep into the heart of Tibet.
In his own words Thubron’s writings ‘spring from curiosity about worlds which my generation has found threatening: China, Russia, Islam (and perhaps from a desire to humanise and understand them).’ His earliest explorations were in the Middle East. Then in 1982 he travelled to the Soviet Union (Among the Russians). A series of contemporary travel classics followed, from Behind the Wall: A Journey Through China (1987) to Shadows of the Silk Road (2006). Now, in his new book — To a Mountain in Tibet — Thubron visits the holy Mount Kailas, isolated beyond the central Himalayas and sacred to one fifth of humanity. In an elegiac pilgrimage of his own, Thubron treks around the great mountain, exploring this remotest of topographies and awakening an inner landscape of solitude, love and grief.
"Thubron’s books celebrate the terrible, pitiful, beautiful, human condition … To a Mountain in Tibet … is an elegy for everything that makes us human."
Sara Wheeler, The Guardian