The 2018 Fairway Galle Literary Festival is delighted to welcome author Shrabani Basu.
Shrabani Basu is an Indian author and journalist. She moved to London in 1987 and has since been a correspondent of the Calcutta-based paper Ananda Bazar Patrika and The Telegraph. In her career she has interviewed Benazir Bhutto, Salman Rushdie and Viv Richards amongst others.
Her book Victoria and Abdul: The True Story of the Queen’s Closest Confidant, (2010) covers the ‘secret’ friendship between Queen Victoria and her servant and confidant Abdul.
The first time Shrabani Basu heard of Abdul Karim, she was carrying out research for a book about the history of curry in the late 1990s. A few years later, while on holiday, she came across a painting of Karim in Osborne House, a former private home of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert on the Isle of Wight.
She noted that Karim – whom she thought was a servant – had been painted “beautifully, in red and gold,” with a book in his hand.
Karim’s painting sparked‘s curiosity. Who was this young Muslim man from Agra, northern India, at the heart of Britain’s royal court? And what had his relationship with the Queen of England been like?
In 2006, she committed herself to researching Karim’s story. The resulting book, Victoria and Abdul: The True Story of the Queen’s Closest Confidant, would take her four years to research and write, and would later be adapted into a movie in 2017 starring Dame Judi Dench.
Learn more about Shrabani Basu: