Stuart Blackburn first travelled to India in 1970 as a Peace Corps volunteer. He received his PhD from Berkeley in 1980 and taught at SOAS in London for many years, with visiting professorships at Heidelberg, Berlin and back at Berkeley. He is the author or editor of more than a dozen books on oral tradition, culture and literature, mainly in South India but also in Northeast India, where Into the Hidden Valley is set. His first novel, Murder in Melur, was published in 2014. He lives with his wife in Brighton, England.