Event Detail


The Man Who Loved China

Simon Winchester Waiting list only
Monday, 22 Sep 2008



"The Man Who Loved China"


Simon Winchester

Monday, 22 September 2008

The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts,
1 Gloucester Road

Drinks Reception with performance of ancient Chinese musical instruments
6.00 pm

Lecture 7.30 pm

Please note that we are glad to welcome at this lecture guests from:
The Oxford and Cambridge Society of Hong Kong;
The British Chamber of Commerce;
The Asia Society;
and the Royal Asiatic Society

We are delighted to welcome to the Royal Geographical Society in Hong Kong one of our most popular lecturers, the international best selling author Simon Winchester. Mr. Winchester is well known as one of the world's finest raconteurs and story tellers and we are honoured to welcome him on his present tour.

In his lecture "The Man Who Loved China", Simon Winchester brings to life the extraordinary story of Joseph Needham, the brilliant Cambridge scientist who unlocked the most closely held secrets of China, once and for long the world's most technologically advanced country. Both epic and intimate, "The Man Who Loved China" tells the sweeping story of China through Needham's remarkable story, an unforgettable tale of what makes men, nations, and, indeed, mankind itself great, related by one of the world's inimitable storytellers.

No cloistered don, this tall, married Englishman was a freethinking intellectual, who practiced nudism and was devoted to a quirky brand of folk dancing. In 1937, while working as a biochemist at Cambridge University, he instantly fell in love with a visiting Chinese student, with whom he began a lifelong affair.

He soon became fascinated with China, and his mistress swiftly persuaded the everenthusiastic Needham to travel to her home country, where he embarked on a series of extraordinary expeditions to the farthest frontiers of this ancient empire. He searched everywhere for evidence to bolster his conviction that the Chinese were responsible for hundreds of mankind's most familiar innovations, including printing, the compass, explosives, suspension bridges, even lavatory paper, often centuries before the rest of the world. His thrilling and dangerous journeys, vividly recreated by Winchester, took him across wartorn China to farflung outposts, consolidating his deep admiration for the Chinese people.

After the war, Needham was determined to tell the world what he had discovered, and began writing his majestic Science and Civilisation in China, describing the country's long and astonishing history of invention and technology producing, essentially singlehandedly, seventeen immense volumes, making him the greatest oneman encyclopedist ever.

Simon Winchester is a native of England and read geology at Oxford University. Mr Winchester has resided in Africa, the USA and Hong Kong and has written for Condé Nast Traveller, Smithsonian and National Geographic. He is the author of numerous books, including The River at the Centre of the World, about his travels up to Yangtze River in the heart of China, and The Surgeon of Crowthorne, A Crack in the Edge of the World, Krakatoa, The Map That Changed the World, The Fracture Zone, Outposts, Korea, among many other titles. Mr Winchester's recent books are all best sellers including, The Surgeon of Crowthorne ("Elegant and scrupulous"New York Times Book Review) and Krakatoa ("A mesmerizing pageturner"Time). He now resides in Massachusetts and in the Western Isles of Scotland. He lectures frequently worldwide and writes for numerous publications.

Members and their guests are most welcome to attend this reception and lecture, which is HK$150 for Members and $250 for others.

Please note tickets available are being sold on a first come first served basis.

To secure your tickets you should book by replying to this emessage to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. stating clearly your name and the number of members and guests.

Payment can be made by:

Internet transfer and email the details to the RGS, with your name and your contact number.

ATM transfer and email the details to the RGS, with your name and your contact number

RGS account details: HSBC account number: 511304644001.

RGS account name: Royal Geographical Society Hong Kong

By cheque payable to ROYAL GEOGRAPHICAL SOCIETYHK, please send to RGS HK, GPO Box 6681, Hong Kong.

All bookings will receive a confirmation by email.

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