When a Chinese monk broke through a hidden door in 1900, he uncovered one of history’s greatest literary secrets: a 1000-year-old time capsule of life along the ancient Silk Road. Inside the chamber on the edge of the Gobi Desert, documents were piled from floor to ceiling. The gem among them was the Diamond Sutra of 868 A.D., now recognised as the world’s oldest printed book.
The words of the Diamond Sutra have inspired Jack Kerouac, Aldous Huxley and the Dalai Lama. Its path from East to West has coincided with the growing appeal of Buddhism in the contemporary world. As the Gutenberg Age cedes to the Google Age, the discovery of the Silk Road’s greatest treasure is an epic tale of survival, a literary investigation and an evocation of the travelling power of the book.
Joyce Morgan has worked as a journalist for more than three decades in London, Sydney and Hong Kong. Joyce is a senior arts writer at The Sydney Morning Herald and a former arts editor of the paper. She has also worked as a producer with ABC Radio. Born in Liverpool, England, she has travelled extensively in Asia, including India, Pakistan, China and Tibet.
Conrad Walters was born in Boston, educated in Europe and the Middle East and has lived in seven countries. He has travelled widely through North America, Europe and Asia. He has a master’s degree in Creative Writing from the University of Technology, Sydney.
They live in Sydney with a vial of sand from the Taklamakan Desert on their mantelpiece.