California State University, Long Beach
Inside CSULB Logo

Acclaimed Writer, Historian William Dalrymple to Deliver the 10th Annual Solanki Lecture Thursday, March 1, in The Pointe at Cal State Long Beach

Published: September 29, 2011

Acclaimed writer and historian William Dalrymple will deliver the 10th annual Uka and Nalini Solanki Foundation Lecture on Thursday, March 1, beginning at 7 p.m. in The Pointe of The Walter Pyramid at California State University, Long Beach (CSULB).

Dalrymple will discuss “The Return of a King: Shah Shuja, the Great Game and the First Anglo-Afghan War, 1839-42.” There will be a reception with light refreshments before the lecture and a book-signing featuring Dalrymple following the lecture.

History Professor Tim Keirn, a co-coordinator of CSULB’s Yadunandan Center for India Studies, applauded the selection of Dalrymple. “He is a world-renowned travel writer as well as a historian and founder co-director of the Jaipur Literary Festival, the largest literary festival outside of Western Europe,” he said. “His journalism through such prize-winning radio and TV documentaries, among them ‘The Long Search’ and ‘Indian Journeys’ give him a high profile.

“He is also a regular correspondent and contributor to newspapers around the world, including The Guardian, The Hindu and the New York Times.,” he added. “His (lecture) will connect the 21st century Afghan struggles with the 19th century’s first Afghan war.”

In addition to founding/co-directing the Jaipur Literary Festival, Dalrymple is the author of seven books about India and the Islamic world. In fact, all of his books have won major literary awards, including “City of Djinns” (Thomas Cook Travel Book Award and Sunday Times Young British Writer of the Year Prize), “White Mughals” (Wolfson Prize for History and SAC Scottish Book of the Year Prize), “The Last Mughal” (Duff Cooper Prize and Crossword Vodafone Award for Non-Fiction) and “Nine Lives: In Search of the Sacred in Modern India” (Asia House Literary Award).

Currently, Dalrymple is working on a history of the First Anglo-Afghan War, and he just recently completed work on a major show of Mughal art for the Asia Society in New York City that opened earlier this month.

The Solanki Lecture is an endowed lecture series established by Uka and Nalini Solanki with the express intention of inviting a distinguished individual to discuss South Asia related topics.

“The Solanki lectures have had quality speakers from day one,” said Arnold Kaminsky, senior coordinator for the Yadunandan Center. “From the very first speaker, Bhagwati Professor of Economics at Columbia Arvind Panagariya, who spoke in 2003 on comparative development issues between China and India, we’ve had the best. The fourth Solanki lecture in 2006 featured Sam Pitroda, chair of India’s National Knowledge Commission. We’ve had a range of outstanding people. Every one of the Solanki lecturers has been formidable from distinguished scholars to successful journalists.”

Kaminsky believes the Solanki Lectures reflect the mission of the Yadunandan Center, which is dedicated to the impartial study of India’s cultures, peoples and history.

“The center takes a leadership role in establishing and hosting a Southern California network for the development of India awareness among universities and colleges,” he said. “Students, faculty and the broader Indian community are the center’s prime audience, and it is a diverse audience. The lectures have become one of the center’s main events every year. It brings together those three audiences in a dynamic fashion.”

Admission and parking to the Solanki Foundation Lecture are free, but because of limited seating, reservations are necessary. Those interested in making reservations can RSVP by calling 562/985-7010 or by e-mailing For more information, visit the Yadunandan Center website or e-mail Professor Keirn at