William Dalrymple is one of Britain's finest travel writers and an expert on India and the Muslim world. His first book, In Xanadu, became a highly acclaimed bestseller and was written when he was only 22. The book won the 1990 Yorkshire Post Best First Work Award and a Scottish Arts Council Spring Book Award and set the course for his future works.
Brought up in Scotland, Dalrymple moved to Delhi in 1989 where he lived for six years while researching his second book, City of Djinns, which went on to win the 1994 Thomas Cook Travel Book Award and the Sunday Times Young British Writer of the Year Award.
From the Holy Mountain followed. This study of the demise of Christianity in its Middle East homeland received similar plaudits, taking the Scottish Arts Council Autumn Book Award for 1997, while a collection of writings on India, The Age of Kali, won the French Prix d'Astrolabe in 2005.
White Mughals, published in 2003, told the story of one of the most colourful, if neglected, times of British colonial rule in India at the beginning of the nineteenth century. This time Dalrymple received the Wolfson Prize for History 2003 and the Scottish Book of the Year Prize. In 2007, its follow up, The Last Moghal, won the prestigious Duff Cooper Prize for History and Biography.
His latest book, Nine Lives: In Search of the Sacred in Modern India, won the Asia House Literary Award and distils 25 years of exploring India and writing about its religious traditions. Billed as a modern Indian Canterbury Tales, it follows the lives of nine extraordinary people, each taking a different religious path, from a Buddhist monk taking up arms to resist the Chinese invasion of Tibet to a prison worker from Kerala who for two months each year becomes a temple dancer and is worshipped as an incarnate deity.
As well as his books Dalrymple also wrote and presented the television series Stones of the Raj and Indian Journeys, picking up the Grierson Award for Best Documentary Series at BAFTA in 2002. Meanwhile, his Radio 4 series, The Long Search, on the history of British spirituality and mysticism won the 2002 Sandford St Martin Prize for Religious Broadcasting.
The Royal Scottish Geographical Society awarded Dalrymple the Mungo Park Medal in 2002 for his ‘outstanding contribution to travel literature' and he has also received a number of honorary degrees and further awards for print journalism. He now divides his time between London and his farm outside Delhi, where he lives with his wife and three children.
William Dalrymple is the author of:
- In Xanadu
- City of Djinns
- From the Holy Mountain
- The Age of Kali
- White Mughals
- The Last Moghal
- Nine Lives