William Dalrymple at Bowood Hotel

Just two days after the launch of his latest book, prize winning and best selling historian William Dalrymple will be over in the UK from India and heading to Wiltshire for the first in the 2013 calendar of ‘The Library Talks at Bowood Hotel’ on Wednesday 6 February. Here he will provide an outline of ‘Return of a King: The Battle for Afghanistan’ , explaining what prompted him to right this story and the research he undertook. Over English Afternoon Tea at the 43 bedroom Bowood Hotel (between Calne and Chippenham. www.bowood-hotel.co.uk), he will also chat to his Bowood audience about his career as a writer and historian.

The new book, “Return of a King” (published by Bloomsbury in hardback on 4 February) is a history which resonates with contemporary politics and reads like a richly drawn novel. Using previously undiscovered Afghan sources, here for the first time is the full picture of Britain’s disastrous adventure in Afghanistan, which asks: have we learnt anything from history?

In the spring of 1839, British forces invaded Afghanistan for the first time. Led by lancers in scarlet cloaks and plumed shakos, nearly 20,000 British and East India Company troops poured through the high mountain passes and re-established on the throne Shah Shuja ul-Mulk.

William Dalrymple is the bestselling author of’In Xanadu’, ‘City of Djinns’, ‘From the Holy Mountain’, ‘The Age of Kali’, ‘White Mughals’, ‘The Last Mughal’ and, most recently, ‘Nine Lives’. He has won the Thomas Cook Travel Book Award, the Sunday Times Young British Writer of the Year Award, the French Prix d’Astrolabe, the Wolfson Prize for History, the Scottish Book of the Year Award, the Duff Cooper Memorial Prize, the Asia House Award for Asian Literature, the Vodafone Crossword Award and has three times been long-listed for the Samuel Johnson Prize. In 2012 he was appointed Whitney J. Oates Visiting Fellow in Humanities at Princeton University. William lives with his wife and three children on a farm outside Delhi.

Following his talk, William Dalrymple will take questions from the floor and then there will be a book signing and sales session organised by The Corsham Bookshop. Tickets to attend the English Afternoon Tea talk – starting at 3.30pm – are priced at £17.50 per person and reservations should be booked in advance with Bowood Hotel’s Reception. (Tel: 01249 822228) For further details on these and other Bowood Hotel events visit: www.bowood-hotel.co.uk/events