Award-winning novelist and essayist to give annual Andrew Carnduff Ritchie Lecture

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Amitav Ghosh

Novelist and essayist Amitav Ghosh will present the 2012 Andrew Carnduff Ritchie Lecture, under the auspices of the Yale art museums.

Ghosh’s talk, titled “Emporium of Images: ‘Canton’ as Seen by Its Artists and Craftsmen,” will take place on Thursday, April 19, at 5:30 p.m. in the Robert L. McNeil Jr. Lecture Hall at the Yale University Art Gallery, 1111 Chapel St. The talk is free and open to the public.

In his critically acclaimed novel “River of Smoke” (2011), Ghosh explores the 18th- and 19th-century trade in opium from India to China. In his lecture he will examine images from that time period depicting the locales described in the novel, some of them by British and Chinese artists who appear as characters in the book. Ghosh will also discuss how these art works influenced his thinking and writing.

In addition to “River of Smoke,” Ghosh has written several works of fiction that have earned him international awards over the last 20 years. His work has been translated into more than 20 languages, and his essays have been published in major periodicals in the United States. He has taught at many colleges and universities in India and the United States, including Delhi University, Columbia, Queens College, and Harvard. In 2007 he was awarded the Padma Shri, one of India’s highest honors given by the president of India, and in 2010 he received honorary doctorates from Queens College, New York, and the Sorbonne, Paris.

The Ritchie Lectures — jointly sponsored by the Yale Center for British Art and the Yale University Art Gallery — were established to honor the memory of Andrew Carnduff Ritchie, director of the Yale University Art Gallery from 1957 to 1971. The annual Ritchie Lectures bring to the University distinguished members of the international visual arts community. These lectures are free and open to the public, honoring Ritchie’s belief that the art museum serves as a gathering place for all members of the community.

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