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Event Details

William Dalrymple: The Relentless Rise of the East India Company

31 October 2019
6.30pm – 7.30pm AEDT
Sir John Clancy Auditorium, UNSW Sydney
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William Dalrymple

“We still talk about the British conquering India, but that phrase disguises a more sinister reality.” – William Dalrymple

The devastating story of how the British came to rule India is one characterised by aggression, ruthlessness and violence. From trading silks and spices to running a vast private security force twice the size of the British army, the East India Company mercilessly conquered the entire Indian subcontinent.

So how did a company headquartered in a single office, five windows wide, bring down one of the world’s most magnificent empires?

Historian and best-selling author William Dalrymple delivers a rich account of Britain’s harrowing colonial history, exploring how a dangerously unregulated private enterprise managed to corrupt the most senior British politicians and officials in the process.

This event is presented by the UNSW Centre for Ideas.


Wheelchair Accessible

Sir John Clancy Auditorium is located at UNSW Sydney's Kensington campus, C24 on this map (PDF). The closest accessible parking is available at Gate 9, High Street.

Hearing Loop Available


The Centre for Ideas can provide Auslan interpreting services for selected talks upon request.


To discuss your access requirements and to book any access services, please call the Centre for Ideas on 02 9385 1000 or email

The Centre for Ideas is happy to receive phone calls via the National Relay Service. TTY users, phone 133 677, then ask for 02 9385 1000. Speak and Listen users, phone 1300 555 727 then ask for 02 9385 1000. Internet relay users, visit, then ask for 02 9385 1000.

William Dalrymple portrait photo

William Dalrymple

William Dalrymple is one of Britain’s great historians and the best-selling author of the highly-acclaimed In Xanadu, the Wolfson Prize-winning White Mughals and the Hemingway Prize-winning Return of a King. Dalrymple is a regular contributor to the New York Review of Books and The Guardian. In 2018, he was presented with the prestigious President’s Medal by The British Academy for his outstanding literary achievement and for founding the Jaipur Literature Festival. 

Photo by Bikramjit Bose.

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