Thomas Wide is a historian and curator based in London.

Thomas graduated from Oxford University in 2007 with a first in Classics & Arabic and the James Mew Prize for Arabic. Between 2008 and 2010 he studied Chinese and Arabic as a Kennedy scholar at Harvard University and in 2014 he received his D.Phil from Balliol College, Oxford University. 

For much of his twenties Thomas lived in Afghanistan where he was Managing Director of Turquoise Mountain, a cultural heritage organisation working in historic areas of Afghanistan, Myanmar, the Gulf and the Levant.

Between 2015 and 2020 Thomas worked as a curator, first at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Asian Art in Washington D.C. and later at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London. During this time, he curated several exhibitions about Afghanistan and the Silk Roads

Thomas’s academic research focuses on cross-cultural exchange across Asia and between Asia and the West. He has published academic articles on various topics in Asian history from gender and dress in 20th century Afghanistan, to the development of printed Pashto literature to Sufism in 18th century China. His research languages include Arabic, Chinese, Persian, Latin, Greek, Pashto, Urdu, Bengali, and Ottoman Turkish. 

Thomas’s first trade book is a history of the western counterculture’s ‘journey east’ in the 1960s and 1970s and its subsequent impact on contemporary culture, from food to fashion to music to drugs. The book will be published in 2025 by Farrar, Straus & Giroux in the United States, Penguin Allen Lane in the United Kingdom, and multiple publishers across Europe.

Thomas is represented in the US by Tina Bennett at Tina Bennett Literary and in the UK by Karolina Sutton at CAA.

Photo by Andrew Quilty.