This event has now been moved to the Norcroft Lounge

Join us for a very special in conversation with author and diplomat Navtej Sarna as he discusses the inspiration for his latest book, ‘Second Thoughts’, a collection of essays on books, authors and the writerly life.

From the rose gardens of Shiraz to the snow-powdered hillside above Kabul, from the water and stone mirages of St. Petersburg to gritty Mumbai, the evocative essays in this collection combine travel and literature using a charming mix of the personal impression and incisive literary criticism.

Written over seven years for the Hindu Literary Review from the cocoon of a book-lined study, digging into forgotten second-hand bookshops, trekking the Himalayan hills or searching out far-flung literary sites around the globe, Navtej Sarna never veers far from the essential focus of these essays: the love of books and the men who write them.

About The Authors

Navtej Sarna

Navtej Sarna is a novelist and short story writer whose non-fiction works include ‘The Book of Nanak’ and translations of Guru Gobind Singh’s ‘Zafarnama’. He is also the author of ‘Indians at Herod’s Gate’, which finds him wandering through the timeless narrow lanes of Old Jerusalem, visited eight hundred years ago by Baba Farid who meditated there for forty days in an underground room.

Later, an Indian Hospice was born through a waqf endowment around that room and has welcomed Indian pilgrims and soldiers to Jerusalem ever since. For close to a century, through the tumultuous years of the British Mandate, the Second World War, the birth of Israel and the ensuing decades of conflict, the Hospice has been looked after by the Ansari family who hail originally from Saharanpur. ‘Indians at Herod’s Gate’ sifts through fact and fable to tease out their unique story.

A member of the Indian Foreign Service since 1980, Navtej Sarna is currently based in London as India’s High Commissioner to the UK.

Jeevan Deol

Jeevan Deol is a historian, author and public educator. He has taught global and Indian history, Indian literature, Indian religions and jihadi ideology at the Universities of Cambridge, Oxford and London. He comments on international relations, politics and culture in newspapers and broadcast media in the UK, Canada, the USA and India