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The Islamic Enlightenment With Christopher de Bellaigue

  • Bookends & Beginnings 1712 Sherman Avenue, Alley 1 Evanston, Illinois 60201 (map)

As part of the Evanston Literary Festival and in collaboration with Northwestern's Middle Eastern and North African Studies Program (MENA) and Chicago Book Expo, Bookends & Beginnings welcomes distinguished British author and journalist Christopher de Bellaigue to speak about his new book, The Islamic Enlightenment: The Struggle Between Faith and Reason, 1798 to Modern Times. Released in the UK by The Bodley Head in February, it was published in the US in April by Norton. Reviews have been enthusiastic. Bettany Hughes writes in her March 30 review for The Guardian, subtitled "A celebration of an age of reformers in Istanbul, Cairo and Tehran provides a powerful corrective to lazy, prejudiced thinking," the following: "De Bellaigue has written a (beautifully illustrated) book that prompts an important conversation, and is extremely useful for our times. As well as introducing neglected histories and characters about which and whom we need to care, the work itself incarnates the essence of enlightenment."

A student of Indian and Iranian Studies at Cambridge in the mid-1990s, de Bellaigue has worked as a journalist in south Asia and the Middle East, writing for the Economist, the Guardian, and the New York Review of Books. (See his recent article "Turkey: The Return of the Sultan" in the March 9, 2017, issue of The New York Review of Books.) De Bellaigue is the award-winning author of four books, has made several BBC television and radio documentaries, and has been a visiting fellow at the universities of Harvard and Oxford. He lives in London.

Join us for this evening's reading and discussion, which promises to provide new depth to our understanding of Islam in the modern world. Copies of The Islamic Enlightenment will be available for purchase and signing by the author.