Lubaaba Al-Azami

John Murray acquires Lubaaba Al-Azami’s Travellers in the Golden Realm


Travellers in the Golden Realm Lubaaba Al-Azami

We are thrilled to share that Joe Zigmond, Publishing Director at John Murray and Basic Books, has acquired rights to Travellers in the Golden Realm by cultural historian Dr Lubaaba Al-Azami, a gripping story of the first English travellers in India and how their early encounters with an unimaginable superpower would change the world. Zigmond acquired UK and Commonwealth rights from Northbank Talent Management.

The book is set to be published in July 2024.

Before the East India Company and before the British Empire, England was a pariah state. Seeking better fortunes, 16th and 17th century merchants, pilgrims and outcasts ventured to the kingdom of the mighty Mughals. It was a land ruled from the palatial towers by women – the formidable Empress Nur Jahan Begim, the enterprising Queen Mother Maryam al-Zamani, and the intrepid Princess Jahanara Begim. This collision of worlds helped connect East and West, launching a tempestuous period of globalisation spanning from the Chinese opium trade to the slave trade in the Americas.

Drawing on rich, original sources, Dr Lubaaba Al-Azami traces the origins of a relationship between two nations – one outsider and one superpower – whose cultures remain inextricably linked to this day.

Dr Lubaaba Al-Azami is a cultural historian specialising in the Global Renaissance. She is a Lecturer in Shakespeare and Early Modern Literature at the University of Manchester and a Research Fellow at the University of Liverpool. She is also the Founding Editor of Medieval and Early Modern Orients (MEMOs), a leading digital platform on premodern interactions between England and the Islamic Worlds.

Dr Lubaaba Al-Azami said: ‘I am delighted to be publishing my debut with John Murray Press this summer, a book that seeks to demystify an astonishing gap in our understanding of history, unearthing one of the most foundational moments in the development of the world as we know it today and the connection between two countries that have shaped it. Born out of years of research, it re-centres our western-centric and male-centric viewpoint by diving deep into Mughal India alongside the first English travellers who encountered it, forcing us to reconsider a history we thought we all knew. I hope that readers will enjoy discovering the unexpected twists revealed and the fascinating characters involved. And, like me, I hope that some will discover something of their own heritage in it too.’

Joe Zigmond said: ‘Lubaaba retells the grand story of the first English encounters with India before the East India Company, and upends our assumptions of the historical pecking order. It’s a sweeping global history told via the stories of lost individuals, and delivered by a fresh, exciting new voice. Lubaaba’s perspective – as an English woman of Bangladeshi descent – crosses British identity with Mughal ancestry in this breathtaking revival of a tempestuous and transformative period.’