Lady Julia Boyd, Author & Historian, to Speak in Kansas City on New Book "A Dance with the Dragon"

Co-Sponsors ESU and KC Public Library host distinguished author who describes Peking’s foreign community in the first half of the 20th century, an exotic world filled with high-octane partying and populated with bigger-than-life individuals
Author & Historian, Julia Boyd
Author & Historian, Julia Boyd
Spread the Word
Listed Under

Julia Boyd
Kansas City


Kansas City - Missouri - US

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - April 9, 2013 - PRLog -- The Kansas City Branch of the English-Speaking Union and the Kansas City Public Library are co-sponsoring a lecture by distinguished author and historian Julia Boyd as part of the ESU’s Evelyn Wrench Lecture Series. This free lecture is open to the public and will be held on Wednesday, April 17, 2013, at the Plaza Branch of the K.C. Public Library, Truman Forum Auditorium, 4801 Main St.  A reception begins at 6:00 PM and the lecture follows at 6:30 PM. RSVP details are below.

With its wild, extravagant group of fossil hunters, philosophers, diplomats, dropouts, writers, explorers, missionaries and refugees, Peking's foreign community in the first half of the 20th century was as exotic as the city itself.  

Always a magnet for larger-than-life individuals, Peking attracted such personalities as Reginald Johnston (tutor to the last emperor), Pearl Buck, Bertrand Russell, Wallis Simpson, J.D. Rockefeller, Jr., Peter Fleming and Cecil Lewis. The last great capital to remain untouched by the modern world, Peking both entranced and horrified its foreign residents, the majority of whom lived an extraordinary high-octane party lifestyle suffused with martinis, jazz piano and cigarettes, at the height of the Jazz Age.  Ignoring the poverty outside their gates, they danced, played and squabbled among themselves, oblivious to the great political events unfolding around them that were to shape modern China.   Others, more sensitive to Peking's cultural riches, discovered their paradise too late when it already stood on the brink of destruction.

Although few in number, Peking's expatriates were uniquely placed to chart the political upheavals – from the Boxer Rebellion in 1900 to the Communist victory of 1949 – that shaped modern China. Drawing on a variety of unpublished diaries and letters, Julia Boyd will tell the story of this small band of foreigners and will explore life in the walled foreign legation quarter. Based on her recent book, A Dance with the Dragon, The Vanished World of Peking’s Foreign Colony (London: I.B. Tauris, 2012), Lady Boyd’s lecture will draw a dazzling portrait of an eclectic foreign community and of China itself, one that is essential in understanding China and its attitude to foreigners today—a magnificent confection, never before told, by one of literary London’s great storytellers.

Julia Boyd is the author of The Story of Furniture, Hannah Riddell: An Englishwoman in Japan and The Excellent Doctor Blackwell, a life of the first woman physician. Lady Boyd is a former governor of the English-Speaking Union of the Commonwealth and former Chairman of the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Council. She is married to Sir John Boyd, a lifelong diplomat who has served as British Ambassador to Japan, Chairman of the British Museum, Chairman of the Royal Shakespeare Company and Master of Churchill College, Cambridge University. Sir John and Lady Boyd have travelled widely in Asia. They have five children and live in London and on their sheep farm in England’s Lake District.

The reception and lecture are free to the public and everyone interested in learning about China’s history during the first half of the 20th century are welcome to attend.  The KC Public Library is asking everyone attending to please RSVP so an accurate count can be determined for the reception and seating arrangements.  To RSVP, please  Click Here (  or call (816) 701-3407

Autographed copies of Lady Boyd’s new book “A Dance with the Dragon, The Vanished World of Peking’s Foreign Colony” will be available for purchase at the lecture courtesy of Reading Reptile.  Or you may order an advanced copy directly from Reading Reptile for pick up at the lecture by calling (816) 753-0441

"Julia Boyd tells the fascinating tale of the foreign community surviving in Peking between the end of the Ching Dynasty and Mao's communist revolution. It is a great story very well told – turmoil behind, turmoil ahead and turmoil all around." – Chris Patten, Former Governor of British Hong Kong

"Based on a treasure-trove of original sources, this book gives an enthralling insight into the expatriate community in Peking during the half-century before the triumph of Mao. Anyone who wants to understand China's relationship with foreigners, today as well as yesterday, should read it." – Piers Brendon, British writer and author of The Decline and Fall of the British Empire

The English-Speaking Union is a non-profit, non-political educational organization, whose mission is to celebrate English as a shared language to foster global understanding and good will by providing educational and cultural opportunities for student, teachers and its members.  The ESU carries out its work through a network of 70 Branches in the U.S. and 36 affiliates in the United Kingdom and 60 other countries, sponsoring a variety of language and international education programs.  Visit the ESU Kansas City Branch website for the latest news, upcoming programs and membership information at
Source:English-Speaking Union
Email:*** Email Verified
Tags:China, Julia Boyd, Peking, ESU, Kansas City
Industry:Literature, Education
Location:Kansas City - Missouri - United States
Account Email Address Verified     Account Phone Number Verified     Disclaimer     Report Abuse
Page Updated Last on: Apr 09, 2013
English-Speaking Union of Kansas City PRs
Trending News
Top Daily News
Top Weekly News

Like PRLog?
Click to Share