Ruby Lal in conversation with Lois Reitzes - Vagabond Princess

Ruby Lal in conversation with Lois Reitzes - Vagabond Princess

Thursday, Mar 14, 2024 7:00 PM

The Jimmy Carter Presidential Library
441 John Lewis Freedom Parkway, NE
Atlanta, Georgia 30307

A captivating biography of one of the world's greatest adventurers, the itinerant Mughal Princess Gulbadan, based on her long-forgotten memoir.

"Finally, a serious consideration of Gulbadan's achievement.'"—Kirkus Reviews

The Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and A Cappella Books welcome Emory University professor and acclaimed historian Ruby Lal to discuss her fascinating new book, "Vagabond Princess: The Great Adventures of Gulbadan." The author will appear in conversation with Lois Reitzes, host of WABE's "City Lights."

This event is free and open to the public. Copies of the book will be available for purchase at the venue. Masks are optional.

About the Book

Situated in the early decades of the magnificent Mughal Empire, this first-ever biography of Princess Gulbadan offers an enthralling portrait of a charismatic adventurer and unique pictures of the multicultural society in which she lived. Following a migratory childhood that spanned Kabul and north India, Gulbadan spent her middle years in a walled harem established by her nephew Akbar to showcase his authority as the Great Emperor. Gulbadan longed for the exuberant itinerant lifestyle she'd known. With Akbar's blessing, she led an unprecedented sailing and overland voyage and guided harem women on an extended pilgrimage in Arabia. Amid increasing political tensions, the women's "un-Islamic" behavior forced their return, lengthened by a dramatic shipwreck in the Red Sea.

Gulbadan wrote a book upon her return, the only extant work of prose by a woman of the age. A portion of it is missing, either lost to history or redacted by officials who did not want the princess to have her say.

"Vagabond Princess" contemplates the story of the missing pages and breathes new life into a daring historical figure. It offers a portal to a richly complex world, rife with movement and migration, where women's conviviality, adventure, and autonomies shine through.

About the Author

Ruby Lal is an acclaimed historian of India, a professor at Emory University, and the author of three books and numerous essays, op-eds, and literary pieces. Her book "Empress: The Astonishing Reign of Nur Jahan" won the Georgia Author of the Year Award in biography and was a finalist in history for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize.

About the Conversation Partner

Lois Reitzes is an Atlanta NPR radio show host, best known for her work on WABE FM 90.1's "City Lights with Lois Reitzes" and "Second Cup Concert." She has been a host with WABE since 1979, making her the longest-running voice in Atlanta radio.