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Gavin Young – published in Independent January 19th 2001

GAVIN YOUNG Although Gavin Young reckoned that he ‘fell into journalism as a drunken man falls into a pond’ he spent most of his working life as one of the Observer’s best foreign-correspondents, later becoming the author of many successful travel books. Young was born on April 24th 1928 and spent his youth in Cornwall…
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K’Tut Tantri – published in Independent September 1997

K’TUT TANTRI ‘Romance’ was the key to K’tut Tanti’s extraordinary character and life. She jealously protected her history by deliberately obscuring her past, by endlessly changing her aliases and by constantly reinventing herself. From what can be pieced together it seems that Muriel Stuart Walker was born in Glasgow on February 18th 1898; her mother was…
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Duncan Pryde – published in Independent – December 1997

DUNCAN PRYDE Duncan Pryde, who probably knew the Arctic ‘better than any white man of his generation’, was in the middle of the massive task of compiling a dictionary of the 26 dialects of the Inuit (or Eskimo) language when he died from cancer. Pryde, who had four brothers and one sister, had been brought…
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Ella Maillart – published April 1997 – in Independent

ELLA MAILLART ‘To dawdle is my usual fashion, as if I had the whole of eternity before me.’ This sums up Ella Maillart’s approach to travel; she liked travelling slowly, absorbing the culture and she understood the importance of finding the similarities rather than the differences between people. It was this inquisitiveness about other people…
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Mary Lutyens – obituary 1999

Mary Lutyens, who became the acknowledged world expert and writer on Krishnamurti, was only two years old when her mother, Lady Emily Lutyens, became a theosophist. In 1911 Krishnamurti and his brother Nitya were brought to England by Mrs Besant and as Lady Emily took the two boys ‘under her wing’, the young Mary grew…
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J.G Links – obituary – Oct 3rd 1997

Joe Links was a modest man who was extremely wise, versatile and able; he was always polite and worked hard all his life not to make an enemy. ‘I have had a very private life and I hope to go on being private for what’s left of it,’  he said  in 1989. He was born…
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Emily Hahn – obituary 1997

EMILY HAHN ‘I have deliberately chosen the uncertain path whenever I had the choice…A more important freedom was that which made it possible to travel ‘ wrote Emily Hahn in 
 China to Me
 (1944). In 1930 after making some money from her first book Seductio ad Absurdum: The Principles and Practices of Seduction
 (1930) Hahn…
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Martha Gellhorn – obituary 1998

Martha Gellhorn was one of the finest war-correspondents of the twentieth century. She learnt her craft for war reporting in the Spanish Civil War where she worked for Colliers; this was where she grew up politically: ‘We knew, we just 
knew, that Spain was the place to stop fascism. This was it. It was one…
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Ivan Chambers – obituary 1998

Ivan Chambers, the witty, erudite and  distinguished bookseller has died at the age of  ninety five. Chambers was born in Philippopolis in Bulgaria on January 20th 1902, where his  father was working on the financial side of a silk spinning factory. He returned to England as a small child and was educated at St George’s…
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Lesley Blanch – obituary 2007

As a child in London, Lesley Blanch and her parents were often visited by the Traveller, a mysterious Russian, who enthused the young Lesley with Siberian stories and tales of his daring-do. This passion for Russia and things Russian never left her: the ‘Love of my heart, the fulfilment of the senses and the kingdom…
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