Deborah Manley, one of the co-founders of ASTENE, has died on January 24, 2020, aged almost 88. Deb had a long career as an editor and published many books of original works and compilations on a wide range of topics.  It was a holiday in Egypt with her sister Peta Ree and their joint work on a biography of Henry Salt which led to their meeting first Jaromir Malek at the Griffiths Library and through him a number of others studying Travellers in Egypt and the Near East.  A conference in Durham,  in 1995, organised by John Ruffle and Janet Starkey and a symposium for Harry James held at Kingston Lacey brought together a group of people with similar interests but differing backgrounds who wanted to continue to meet to share their mutual fascination for this subject. ASTENE was founded to promote further study and hold regular conferences which have been an important part of the association’s history.

Deb was a very active member until ill health made this impossible. She organised conferences with Janet Starkey, she set up several very successful study days at Rewley House in Oxford, she edited the bulletin for two years, she organised the first ASTENE holiday in Cairo and was a member of the committee.


Deb very firmly believed in the importance of encouraging younger people to be involved and that it should be a very inclusive society blending academics and everyone with an interest in travellers in the ASTENE area regardless of background or age. This belief, shared with many of the other members, has undoubtedly contributed to the friendly atmosphere conference attendees have always felt and the variety (sometimes even eccentricity) of contributions to the papers. Despite  having many other interests, Deb’s concern with ASTENE was the core of her thoughts and activities for many years.

She was an inspiration to many in ASTENE, greatly encouraging to younger members and always generous in sharing her time, knowledge and research. A conference bursary in her name is already in place to commemorate her role in the establishment and ongoing development of ASTENE.

TIOL 2017

Travellers in Ottoman Lands The Botanical Legacy
Saturday May 13–14, 2017. Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh



Presented by the Association for the Study of Travel in Egypt and the Near East (ASTENE) in conjunction with the Centre for Middle Eastern Plants, part of the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh. Contributions are welcome from a wide range of disciplines and interests. It is envisaged that the Seminar will cover many fascinating subjects on (though not restricted to) the following main themes:
– Travellers’ accounts related to the botanical legacy of any part of the former Ottoman Empire (e.g. present-day Turkey, the Levant, Egypt, the Balkans, Arabian Peninsula etc.)
– The flora of the region, including their heritage, preservation and medicinal uses
– Bulbs of the region, especially tulips, and their cultural significance; Tulipomania
– Ottoman garden design and architecture
– Floral and related motifs in Ottoman art, including textiles, ceramics etc.
– Culinary aspects of the botanical legacy of the region
– Literary, pictorial and photographic depictions of any aspect of the botanical and horticultural legacy of the region
– Orientalism as applicable to any of the seminar’s main themes.

The Seminar Booking Form and the Draft Seminar Programme will be available on Eventbrite in early January 2017 with the deadline for bookings being 15 April 2017. Tickets will also be available at the event. In the meantime, any enquiries should be addressed to


Please email your offers of papers to together with a working title, a brief abstract of not more than 250 words, and the names of authors and their affiliations. We also welcome the offer of pre-organised panels of up to four speakers on specific themes. Participants will be informed about the acceptance of their paper by 15 February 2017. Seminar Bursaries are also offered: please contact for information.

Deadline for submission of abstracts:
Sunday 15 January 2017

For more information see Ottoman Lands Flyer

For booking information see the Ottoman Conference Form