John Keay

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

John Keay (born 1941) is an English journalist and author specialising in popular histories of India and the Far East, often with a particular focus on their colonisation and exploration by Europeans.

Life and career[edit]

John Keay was born in Devon, England, to parents of Scottish origin. He studied at Ampleforth College in York before going on to read Modern History at Magdalen College, Oxford. Among his teachers at Oxford were the historian A. J. P. Taylor and the future playwright Alan Bennett. In 1965 he visited India for the first time. He went to Kashmir for a fortnight's trout-fishing and liked it so much that he returned the following year, this time for six months. It was during his second stay in Kashmir that Keay decided upon writing as a career. He joined the staff of The Economist and returned to India several times as its political correspondent. He also started contributing stories to BBC Radio.

In 1971 he gave up his correspondent's job in order to write his first book, Into India, which was published in 1973. Keay followed it with two volumes about the European exploration of the Western Himalayas in the 19th century: When Men and Mountains Meet (1977) and The Gilgit Game (1979). These two books were later combined into a single-volume paperback by John Murray.

In the 1980s he worked for BBC Radio as a writer and presenter, and made several documentary series for BBC Radio 3.[1] He also made programmes for BBC Radio 4. During this time he wrote India Discovered, the story of how British colonialists came to find out about the great artefacts of Indian culture and architecture.

Anna Keay is the daughter of John Keay and grand-daughter of the politician Humphrey Atkins[2] (Julia Keay, née Atkins, is also a writer).[3]



  1. ^ "History in the making". (Calcutta, India). 2005-10-08. Retrieved 2010-02-06. 
  2. ^ Lister-Kaye, Hermione (13 June 2014). "Anna Keay on India, motherhood and the Duke of Monmouth". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 6 November 2014. 
  3. ^ Dr Anna Keay - Biography

External links[edit]