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Rough Magic: Riding the World's Loneliest Horse Race

May 20, 2019 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm
Terrace Room, Margaret Jacks Hall
Lara Prior-Palmer

Free and open to the public, no RSVP needed. Lunch will be served. 

The Mongol Derby is the world’s toughest horse race. A feat of endurance across the vast Mongolian plains once traversed by the people of Chinggis Khan—competitors ride 25 horses across a distance of 1000km. Many riders don’t make it to the finish line.

In 2013, Lara Prior-Palmer—nineteen, underprepared but seeking the great unknown—decided to enter the race. Driven by her own restlessness, stubbornness, and a lifelong love of horses, she raced for seven days through extreme heat and terrifying storms, catching a few hours of sleep where she could at the homes of nomadic families. Battling bouts of illness and dehydration, exhaustion and bruising falls, she found she had nothing to lose, and tore through the field with her motley crew of horses. In one of the Derby’s most unexpected results, she became the youngest ever rider to finish and the first woman to win the race.

Rough Magic is her first book. Told with a verbal acuity that makes vivid the most elusive of landscapes, in a voice full of poetry and soul, it is the extraordinary story of one young woman’s encounter with oblivion, and herself.

Part of the Stanford Festival of Iranian Arts 

Event Sponsor: 
Hamid and Christina Moghadam Program in Iranian Studies, Creative Writing Program
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