Book Event

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Katie Hickman

She-Merchants, Buccaneers and Gentlewomen

Chaired by Anne Sebba

Saturday 12th October 2019, 3.30pm-4.30pm

William Morris Tent


Dig beneath the surface of imperial male history and discover the eccentric and adventurous women of India.

In this surprising and engaging landmark book, celebrated chronicler, Katie Hickman, uncovers stories, until now hidden from history.

The first British women to set foot in India did so in the very early seventeenth century, two and a half centuries before the Raj. Women made their way to India for exactly the same reasons men did – to carve out a better life for themselves. They went and worked as milliners, bakers, dress-makers, actresses, portrait painters, maids, shop-keepers, governesses, teachers, boarding house proprietors, midwives, nurses, missionaries, doctors, geologists, plant-collectors, writers, travellers, and – most surprising of all – traders.

As wives, courtesans and she-merchants, these tough adventuring women were every bit as intrepid as their men, the buccaneering sea captains and traders in whose wake they followed; their voyages to India were extraordinarily daring leaps into the unknown.

'Sharply observed, snappily written and thoroughly researched, She Merchants provides a fabulous panorama of a largely ignored area of social history.’

-William Dalrymple

Books will be on sale and the event will be followed by a book signing.

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