Travel writer Pico Iyer will discuss his latest novel The Man Within My Head, which details his extraordinary worldwide quest to relive the experiences of English writer Graham Greene, at the Lobero Theatre tonight at 7 p.m.
The event will also feature Iyer’s close friend and fellow travel writer Don George, and all proceeds will go toward the Daniel Bryant Youth and Family Treatment Center, a program run by the Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse. Iyer, a graduate of Oxford and Harvard, is a former world affairs correspondent for Time Magazine and the author of numerous books.
Iyer’s newest novel examines his own life in order to fully realize the influences of Greene and his late father Raghavan Iyer, a former political science professor at UCSB. Though Iyer was born in Britain and now lives with his wife in Japan, he spent much of his time growing up at his parents’ house in Santa Barbara.
According to George, Iyer is a prolific name in the genre of travel literature and has extensive experience on the subject.
“He’s one of the best travel writers alive,” George said. “For students it would be incredibly exhilarating to be in the presence of a guy like this, who’s a guru in terms of his knowledge of the world and his philosophies.”
George said Iyer will reveal how people can integrate writing, journalism and travel into their own lives.
“We’ve done about four or five public conversations now, and they’re always really incredible,” George said. “This is education in its biggest sense. Both Pico and I strongly believe that the world is the classroom.”
According to George, Iyer’s charismatic personality brings a particularly captivating spark to his discourse with students.
“He’s one of the most eloquent and informed people I’ve ever encountered in my life,” George said. “He always has something amazing to say. He’s traveled all around the world and I think that’s especially inspiring to young people.”
George said he first came in con- tact with Iyer after being particularly inspired by the author’s first novel.
“I’ve known him since about 1988,” George said. “I was the travel editor at the San Francisco Chronicle whenever his first book — Video Night in Kathmandu — came out. And I loved the book and ended up excerpting one of the chapters from the book in the travel section, and that’s how I first met him.”
Jane Highstreet, director of media and special events for the Santa Barbara Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse, said the lecture will benefit the organization’s efforts to offer rehabilitation services in Santa Barbara.
“We provide treatment for kids who have issues with drugs and alcohol, whether it be previous family crises or whatever it is,” Highstreet said. “The Daniel Bryant Youth and Family Center is a really great place where kids can get treatment and confidential counseling; there are also programs for their parents too.”
Staff Writer Mac Kennedy contributed to this article.