Paul Theroux is an American-born novelist and renowned travel writer, who believes: ‘You cannot be a grumpy traveller. You will not get anywhere. You’ll be killed, you’ll be insulted.’

Theroux first travelled to Africa as a member of the US government’s Peace Corps but was thrown out of Malawi for helping a political opponent of the prime minister. He moved to Uganda where he became friends with V.S. Naipaul, a visiting scholar at Makerere University – although, after many years’ friendship, the pair subsequently had a public falling-out. Theroux is also a novelist of distinction, whose work includes the acclaimed The Mosquito Coast. His travel writing has covered everywhere from Great Britain to Oceania and he has won the Playboy short story award four times.