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Centre for the Ethics of Cultural Heritage



'Sketches of Nipal: A brief outline of the European ‘discovery’ of Nepal' by Charles Allen

(14 September 2017)

6pm, 28th September 2017, Elvet Hill House, DH1 3TH

Charles Allen, author of Plain Tales from the Raj: images of British India in the twentieth century (1975), The Buddha and Dr Fuhrer: an archaeological scandal (2008) and The Prisoner of Kathmandu: Brian Hodgson in Nepal 1820-1823 (2015), summarises the political, scholarly and archaeological background to the AHRC-GCRF exhibition ‘Resilience within the Rubble: reconstructing the Kasthamandap and its past after the 2015 Nepal earthquake’.

Charles Allen (born 1940) is a British freelance writer and popular historian who lives in London. His British parents were both born in India and his prolific works focus on the British Raj. Charles was also born in Kanpur, then known as Cawnpore, in British India, where several generations of his family served under the British Raj. Following the independence of India in August 1947, the family moved back to England. His father was subsequently asked to return to India to resume his job as a political officer but Allen and his brother remained in England for their schooling, which in his case ended when he was 17 without academic qualifications. Allen spent three years as a tea taster in the City of London before setting about educating himself in order to become a teacher. A year in Nepal as a teacher with Voluntary Service Overseas (1966–67) convinced him that his future lay in history and travel writing, although it was not until 1974 that he met with any public success through his involvement with the BBC Radio 4 oral history series and book Plain Tales from the Raj. Since then, Allen has spent long periods of his adult life in India as a traveller and writer of history. His work focuses largely on India and the Indian Subcontinent in general. Allen's most notable recent works include Kipling Sahib: India and the making of Rudyard Kipling, a biography of Rudyard Kipling and Ashoka: the Search for India's Lost Emperor, a biography of Emperor Askoka Maurya. His most recent work, The Prisonerof Kathmandu: Brian Hodgson in Nepal 1820-43, was published by Haus Books in October 2014.