Melissa Alton
Florida Air Academy
English Department Chair
Author Jamyang Norbu
Connections to Doyle's Sherlock Holmes
Connections to Kipling's novel Kim
What is a pastiche?
The setting: 19th century India and Tibet
Additional activities
Another detective in Tibet
Additional novels set in the Himalayas

Jamyang Norbu

Born in 1949, Tibetan author Jamyang Norbu is best known as a Tibetan political activist. His political activities began early; he dropped out of school in his teens to join a Tibetan resistance group in Mustang, Nepal. Some consider Norbu a radical, while others say Norbu is "one of the most insightful and prolific commentators on the political scene, a writer with strong opinions but also the wide reading and intellectual depth to back them up, sometimes fiercely" (International Herald Tribune). He advocates complete Tibetan independence and is often critical of the Tibetan government in exile. As a writer, Norbu has published several books and theater pieces. Students may be interested in reading Norbu's blog Shadow Tibet.

Activity: Have students read some of Norbu's opinions on Tibetan independence. Do students agree with his opinions? How is the Tibet that Norbu describes in his blog different from the one described in The Mandala of Sherlock Holmes?

This site was created by Melissa Alton at the NEH Summer Institute "Literatures, Religions, and Arts of the Himalayan Region," held at the College of the Holy Cross, Summer 2011.