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John Murray Press to publish Lubaaba Al-Azami’s untold history of English encounters with India


John Murray Press have acquired UK & Commonwealth rights in First Encounters: How England and Mughal India Shaped the World by cultural historian Lubaaba Al-Azami, for publication in Spring 2024.

First Encounters follows the first Englishmen to visit Mughal India, in the late 16th and early 17th centuries – eccentric pioneers from an insignificant northern island who turned up and attempted to sell coarse woollen broadcloth to a sub-tropical world superpower; or walked there overland with the ambition of fulfilling a life-long dream to ride on an elephant. Far from being feared, they were utterly ridiculed – and it is safe to say that colonising this great, wealthy and exotic empire was very far indeed from their minds.

Thus began the story of a centuries-long, inter-dependent relationship between two nations which has no parallel in all of history, and whose cultures remain inextricably bound together to this day. In putting the British Raj into its wider context, Lubaaba equips us with a new lens through which to view contemporary discussion.

In doing so, she brings to life a glamorous and action-packed period of history populated by some wonderful characters which has never before been given due attention.

For en exclusive look at Lubaaba’s research, listen to her podcast episode, The Curious Case of England’s First Embassy to India.

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