One of the 12 finest travel writers of the past one hundred years according to Newsweek, his books include Yemen: Travels In Dictionary Land and a trilogy of books on the travels of Ibn Battuta.

Give us a book jacket summary of what you write. Travel that’s history, and history that’s travel.

What has been the proudest moment in your career? Finishing my trilogy on Ibn Battuta.

What is the sentence you would like to be remembered by? “Some things cannot be looked for; they can only be found.” It’s from Landfalls. To be honest I can barely remember anything I write, so there are probably better sentences to be found in my books.

Whose biography do you want to write? I’m not telling you, because someone else might steal the idea before I write it.

Are you an early morning writer or a night owl? Both. There’s never enough time.

What’s the most inspiring book you’ve read? Alice In Wonderland, which was also the first book I ever read.

And the funniest? The Beano Annual, circa 1967.

Kindle or a book? What’s the difference? Although personally I prefer the feel of paper.

Any advice for aspiring writers? The same advice Samuel Johnson gave: “No man but a blockhead ever wrote, except for money” – with the added note that, with a few exceptions, we’re all blockheads.

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