JOHN KEAY has been a professional writer, scholar, broadcaster and traveller for more than 40 years. He has written and presented over Ioo, documentaries for BBC Radios 3and 4 and is the author of some two dozen books mainly on Asia and exploration. His narrative histories India: A History, China: A History and on the East India Company are widely regarded as standard works. A Fellow of the Royal Literary Fund, his prose has been described as 'exquisite' (The Observer) and his historical analysis as `forensic' (The Guardian). He has also edited The Royal Geographical Society's History of World Exploration and encyclopaedias of both Scotland and London. For his literary contribution to Asian studies he was awarded the Royal Society for Asian Affairs' Sir Percy Sykes Memorial Medal in 2009. His home is in Argyll, where he cooks indifferently and tries to grow things.