Mon, 20 September 2021

6:30 pm - 7:30 pm BST

The Amur River – Between Russia and China

Colin Thubron In Conversation With Sophy Roberts

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In his 80th year, Colin Thubron made a dramatic and ambitious journey along the 3000-mile river that divides China and Russia: the most densely fortified frontier on Earth.

The Amur River is almost unknown. Yet it is the tenth longest river in the world, rising in the Mongolian mountains and flowing through Siberia to the Pacific. For 1,100 miles it forms the tense border between Russia and China.

In this livestream event, Colin will take us on his journey from the river’s secret source to its giant mouth, covering almost 3,000 miles. Harassed by injury and by arrest from the local police, he made his way along both the Russian and Chinese shores, starting out by Mongolian horse, then hitchhiking, sailing on poacher’s sloops or travelling the Trans-Siberian Express. Having revived his Russian and Mandarin, he spoke to everyone he met, from Chinese traders to Russian fishermen, from monks to indigenous peoples.

By the time he reaches the river’s desolate end, where Russia’s nineteenth-century imperial dream petered out, a whole, pivotal world has come alive. Offering a unique perspective of two of the world’s superpowers via the story of the Amur, this livestream event represents both an urgent lesson in history and the culmination of an astonishing career.

Praise for Colin Thubron’s The Amur River:

‘Magnificent… Colin Thubron’s observations on the relationship between Russia and China are full of insight, from which the world can benefit as it faces the challenges of the twenty-first century’ Jung Chang

‘Thubron on top form. Richly detailed, immaculately written and full of insights and encounters that bring a complex corner of the world to life’ Michael Palin

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Colin Thubron

Travel Writer and Novelist

Colin Thubron is an acclaimed travel writer and novelist. His first books were about the Middle East – Damascus, Lebanon and Cyprus. In 1982 he travelled by car into the Soviet Union, a journey he described in Among the Russians. From these early experiences developed his classic travel books: Behind the Wall, The Lost Heart of Asia, In Siberia, Shadow of the Silk Road and To a Mountain in Tibet. Among other honours, Thubron has received the Ness award of the Royal Geographical Society and the Livingstone Memorial Medal of the Royal Society for Asian Affairs.

Sophy Roberts

Author and journalist who regularly contributes to the Financial Times.

Sophy Roberts is a British writer whose work focuses on the wild places from Papua New Guinea to the Congo. She began her career assisting the writer Jessica Mitford, and trained in journalism at Columbia University in New York. She regularly contributes to the Financial Times and the US edition of Condé Nast Traveler, among others. The Lost Pianos of Siberia is her first book.