Speaker: Tim Mackintosh-Smith
Respondent: Bernard Haykel, Princeton University
Tim Mackintosh-Smith is a fan of Arabic travel literature, and the author of several books of his own travels. Of these, his trilogy on Ibn Baṭṭūṭah (Travels with a Tangerine, The Hall of a Thousand Columns, and Landfalls) retraces the Moroccanʼs wanderings around three continents. Timʼs work has earned him the 1998 Thomas Cook/Daily Telegraph Travel Book Award and, appropriately, the Ibn Baṭṭūṭah Prize of Honour, awarded in 2010 by the Arab Centre for Geographical Literature. He has also co-written and presented a BBC TV series on Ibn Baṭṭūṭah, described by the Guardian as ‘marvellous, memorable television’. Tim has delivered the Hamilton A.R. Gibb Lectures at Harvard, and his writing has been anthologized in a number of collections, from The Picador Book of Journeys to The Howard Marks Book of Dope Stories. His most recent work, published by Yale University Press, is Arabs: A 3,000-Year History of Peoples, Tribes and Empires – ʻa book,ʼ according to the Spectator, ʻof vast scope and stunning insightʼ; it ‘rebalances’ Arab history, seeing Islam as part of it, not the start of it. He is currently at work on a new edition and translation of ʿAbd al-Laṭīf al-Baghdādī’s Kitāb al-Ifādah, an eye-witness account of late twelfth-century Egypt and its devastating famines. Tim is a Fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain, and an emeritus Senior Fellow of the New York University Library of Arabic Literature. He has been based for more than a third of a century, through thick and thin, in the Yemeni capital Sanaʼa, but since late 2019 has been ʻon sabbaticalʼ in Kuala Lumpur.
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A digital copy of Arabs is available for PU ID holders here: https://catalog.princeton.edu/catalog/11223550