'City of Djinns' Summary of the book City of Djinns was the first product of Dalrymple’s love affair with India, centring on Delhi, a city with ‘a bottomless seam of stories’. Shaped more like a novel than a travel book, he and his wife encounter a teeming cast of characters: his Sikh landlady, taxi drivers, customs officials, and British survivors of the Raj, as well as whirling dervishes and eunuch dancers (‘a strange mix of piety and bawdiness’). Dalrymple describes ancient ruins and the experience of living in the modern city: he goes in search of the history behind the epic stories of the Mahabharata. Still more seriously, he finds evidence of the city’s violent past and present day—the 1857 mutiny against British rule; the Partition massacres in 1947; and the riots after the assassination of Indira Gandhi in 1984. The book followed his established style of historical digressions, tied in with contemporary events and a multitude of anecdotes.
William Dalrymple FRSL FRGS FRSE (born William Hamilton-Dalrymple on 20 March 1965) is a Scottish historian and writer, art historian and curator, as well as an award-winning broadcaster and critic. His books have won numerous awards and prizes, including the Duff Cooper Memorial Prize, the Thomas Cook Travel Book Award, the Sunday Times Young British Writer of the Year Award, the Hemingway, the Kapuściński and the Wolfson Prizes. He has been four times longlisted and once shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize for non-fiction. He is also one of the co-founders and co-directors of the annual Jaipur Literature Festival. The television series Stones of the Raj and Indian Journeys, which Dalrymple wrote and presented, won him the Grierson Award for Best Documentary Series at BAFTA in 2002. In 2012 Dalrymple was appointed a Whitney J. Oates Visiting Fellow in the Humanities by Princeton University. In the Spring of 2015 he was appointed the OP Jindal Distinguished Lecturer at Brown University. In 2018 he was awarded the President's Medal of the British Academy.