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Published on Sep 8, 2011
Historian and biographer Shrabani Basu presents two of her books and the remarkable lives behind them.
Hosted by Hal Wake, Artistic Director, Vancouver International Writers Festival
July 17, 2011 @ Goldcorp Centre for the Arts, SFU Woodwards
Victoria and Abdul tells the story of Abdul Karim, a clerk from Agra (the city of the Taj Mahal) who arrived in England in 1887 to wait at the Queen's table, and quickly gained the affection of the monarch 42 years his senior. If the royal household hated John Brown, her previous confidant, it absolutely abhorred Abdul Karim, yet the relationship survived the best attempts to destroy it. Basu researched diaries, documents and letters to unearth the remarkable relationship between Queen Victoria and her Indian servant who became her closest friend.
Spy Princess traces the life of Noor Inayat Khan aka Nora Baker, who was born to a father from a princely Indian family and an American mother. During WWII she became the first woman radio operator to be infiltrated into occupied France. Working under the code name 'Madeleine' she remained the last link to London as her circuit collapsed around her. She was eventually betrayed and executed at Dachau. Britain awarded her the George Cross for her extraordinary bravery. Basu gives us Noor Inayat Khan's story and looks at the spirit that moved her.