Tickets are now available at The Bookworm. All tickets for regular events include a free drink (not applicable to Kids Events and Workshops).
This year’s program is now available for download!
Celebrating Writers and Readers :: 作者与读者的庆典 8 pm
To kick off the 9th annual Bookworm Literary Festival, writers from across the continent will convene to celebrate literature and talk about their work – tales of ethnic discord, travel guides for history nerds, allegories and “third cultures” – and relate them to the audience at large. Who do writers write for, after all? Oneself, or readers? Come for the talk, stay to mingle. It’s festival time! This event is in English and Chinese 中英文活动
Xi Jinping: The Road Ahead 10 am
Xi Jinping’s first two years as president of China have seen controversial initiatives and far-reaching reforms, from a reiteration of the “China Dream” to well-publicized anti-corruption campaigns to root out “tigers and flies.” Where did he come from, and where is he going? Few are in a better position to answer than Jonathan Fenby, author of the quintessential History of Modern China, who will analyze Xi’s growing power and how he is using it.
Surviving the Past: Why We Need to Document Evil, Poverty and Suffering in the World :: 苦难重生：我们为什么要记录世间的邪恶，贫穷和苦难 noon
Award-winning Polish nonfiction writer and reporter Wojciech Tochman discusses societies coming to terms with the aftermath of conflict and poverty, focusing on his reportage from Bosnia, Rwanda, the Philippines, and the Syrian border. This event is brought to you in cooperation with the Cultural Section of the Embassy of the Republic of Poland. (English and Chinese 中英文活动)
China Environment Panel :: 中国环境论坛 2 pm
How does one reach beyond cliche to unearth the root causes of China’s environmental problems? Start by assembling a panel that rivals those you’d find at international summits: Ma Jun, possibly China’s preeminent environmentalist, selected by Time magazine as one of its 100 most influential people in 2006; Dr. Husayn Anwar, with more than three decades of experience, who founded the first private environmental services firm in China in 1992; Gilbert Van Kerckhove, author of the thought-provoking book Toxic Capitalism; and Xizhou Zhou, honored by Forbes in 2011 as one of the “30 Under 30” young leaders in energy. Moderated by Jonathan Fenby, who sits on the Board of Trustees of the environment-focused Chinadialogue.net. This event is in English and Chinese 中英文活动.
The Queen of Statue Square: New Short Fiction from Hong Kong 4 pm
The past year has been one of the most eventful and turbulent in Hong Kong history since the handover. In this event, Xu Xi presents short stories from a new anthology of contemporary Hong Kong fiction, which she edited with Marshall Moore. The stories relate to the ever-relevant issue of Hong Kong identity, written by Hong Kong residents from several walks of life, and cuts to the heart of what it means to be a Hong Konger at a time when such definitions are fluid at best.
The Need for Literature 6 pm
Tahar Ben Jelloun was born in 1944 in Fes, Morocco and now lives and works in Paris. His second novel La nuit sacrée (The Sacred Night), published in 1987, won the Prix Goncourt. He is one of the most translated French writers in the world. His works have won wide acclaim for tackling themes such as racism and religious repression, and issues such as the Arab Spring. “We need the novel,” Ben Jalloun said at the 2011 International Literature Festival in Berlin, “not only to explain the world to us, but also to accompany our historical times.”
The Works of Rawi Hage 8 pm
Rawi Hage is a Canadian writer and photographer who was born in Lebanon and grew up during the civil war. He was a cab driver in Montreal before publishing his award-winning debut novel De Niro’s Game, set in his war-torn hometown of Beirut. His novel Cockroach focuses on the complicated life of a Middle Eastern immigrant in a Montreal suburb. Hage, who now works as a full-time writer and visual artist, has seen his work translated into 20 languages. Carnival is his latest novel.
Writing Between the Sheets :: 床笫间的文学 noon
Sexual openness is still perceived by many in China as a toxic Western influence, or a flaw in moral character. Yet, increasingly, people are risking disapproval to embrace sexual liberty in its many forms. Why, and how? Join us for a discussion featuring Faramerz Dabhoiwala, author of The Origins of Sex; Lijia Zhang, whose novel Lotus focuses on prostitution in modern China; and Jemimah Steinfeld, whose book Little Emperors and Material Girls examines China’s sex and youth culture. This event is in English and Chinese 中英文活动
Poetry Beijing 2 pm
Poets from the Beijing community join award-winning performers Maxine Beneba Clarke and Zohab Zee Khan to present their works on life, love, and China.
Rainbows in the Night: Chinese Contemporary Queer Writing and Filmmaking :: 黑夜里的彩虹: 当代中国酷儿文学和电影 4 pm
China has a long history of queer literature and culture, from Long Yangjun to Jia Baoyu, the opera The Fragrant Companion to the movie Beijing Story. Recently, many works with strong LGBT themes have emerged, but few have entered the mainstream due to China’s publishing standards. How do authors and filmmakers in this genre push back against institutional challenges? What is their creation process, and how do they obtain feedback for their – as panelist Popo Fan puts it – “rainbows in the night”? Join our distinguished panel of writers and filmmakers for an eye-opening discussion on these and other issues. This event is in English and Chinese 中英文活动
On Such a Full Sea 6 pm
Stemming from research on factory towns outside Shenzhen, Chang-rae Lee’s fifth novel, On Such a Full Sea, eventually evolved into the dystopian tale of 16-year-old Fan set in a not-too-distant future Baltimore, USA. In this novel, Lee, a Pulitzer-nominated Princeton creative writing professor, expands on the themes of his previous works, including social stratification, technology, and collective identity.
Evident: Spoken-Word Poetry Performance 8 pm
In a rousing set, Zohab Zee Khan combines poetry with hip-hop to enthrall and entertain, giving listeners a new outlook on the possibilities of the spoken word. Khan is the 2014 Australian Poetry Slam champion and 2014 International Poetry Slam finalist. He is also a proficient didgeridoo player, harmonica beat-boxer, and percussionist.
Dogs at the Perimeter 8 pm
Award-winning Canadian novelist Madeleine Thien has written a powerful and starkly beautiful novel about Cambodia, Dogs at the Perimeter, which was a finalist of the 2014 International Literature Prize awarded in Berlin. Investigating the long-term damage of conflict and grief on life and on the mind, she weaves these ideas into luminous prose. She talks about her deeply moving new novel. This event is at iQiyi.
Storytelling Session with Tim Cope 9:30 pm
Modern-day adventurer Tim Cope has followed in the hoofsteps of Genghis Khan and cycled across most of Asia, but tonight he’ll be pulling up a chair, grabbing a drink, and sharing stories from his journeys. Weaving words and images from his book – and film – On the Trail of Genghis Khan, here’s one for those fond of a good yarn, a cozy atmosphere, and maybe a drink or two of their own!
Identity and Place 6 pm
Identity is a familiar subject for many of this festival’s writers. Be it the intertwined identities that constitute modern multicultural societies, the isolation and displacement experienced by the first-generation immigrant, or the feeling of being caught between worlds, these are issues only increasing in relevance as our world constricts. A star-studded literary panel will discuss how their understanding of identity shapes themselves, their worldview, and their works. This event is brought to you with the kind support of Laurie and Kevin O’Donnell.
Translation Slam 8 pm
The Bookworm, Mon March 16, 20:00 | BW16D 80 RMB
Back by popular demand, JUE | Music + Art and The Bookworm Literary Festival team up again to present to anglo and sinophile nerds alike a night of live music and serious semantics. This year the mesmerizing and mournful folk singer Song Yuzhe will grace The Bookworm stage, leaving two translators to compare, contrast, and clash over the nuances of his poetic songs. Brought to you in collaboration with JUE Festival.
The Unbearable Dreamworld of Champa the Driver 8 pm
Chan Koonchung, whose first novel, The Fat Years, was a dystopian sci-fi thriller about a society enslaved by consumerism, has returned with another work to test the boundaries. The Unbearable Dreamworld of Champa the Driver follows the life of a young man from Lhasa who takes a driving job for a Han businesswoman. Cosmopolitan, car-loving, and Mandarin-speaking, he embarks on an affair with his older, status-conscious employer. When he leaves for Beijing, the relationship unravels along with his boyish dreams, which crack under the weight of endemic racism. This event is at iQiyi
Research, Inquiry, and the Writer’s Work 1 pm
Contrary to what some might think (or hope), a writer’s story rarely emerges from the mind fully formed. Indeed, it’s often pieced together through research, requiring patience, resourcefulness, and painstaking attention to detail. In this talk, four writers known for pursuing very different subject matters discuss their working process.
The Origins of Sex :: 性的起源 6 pm
Faramerz Dabhoiwala has been described as the Stephen Hawking of sex, and his book, The Origins of Sex: A History of the First Sexual Revolution, has been acclaimed around the world as one of the best nonfiction debuts of recent years. In this witty, richly illustrated talk, he explains the origins of modern sexual culture in the west – the growth of sexual freedom; how the first sexual revolution affected men and women, homosexuals and heterosexuals; the birth of sexual celebrity; and how we came to live in a world where sex is supposedly private, yet ever more publicized. This event is in English and Chinese 中英文活动
Child of War 7 pm
Born in 1968 into war-torn Vietnam, Thúy was one of the boat people who fled the country when she was 10 years old. A former seamstress, restaurant owner, interpreter, and lawyer, she now resides in Montreal as a full-time writer. In the prologue of her first novel, Ru, Thúy wrote: “In French, ru means a small stream and figuratively, a flow, a discharge – of tears, of blood, of money. In Vietnamese, ru means a lullaby, to lull.” Find out what she feels it means to her in this talk about displacement and identity. This event is at iQiyi.
Nothing Here Needs Fixing: Poetry Performance 8 pm
Maxine Beneba Clarke is a widely published Australian writer of Afro-Caribbean descent and the author of the poetry collections Gil Scott Heron is on Parole and Nothing Here Needs Fixing. As a spoken word performer, Clarke’s work has been delivered on stages and airways, and in festivals across the region.
War for Truth 1 pm
“In the end, the novel is a tool, an instrument, which makes truth accessible,” Yasmina Khadra said in a 2006 interview with The Independent. “Only fiction tells the truth.” Khadra, who spent 36 years as an officer in the Algerian army, is an unsparing writer for whom truth is a weapon. His novels include What the Day Owes the Night, Cousin K, The Attack, and The Swallows of Kabul, which has been adapted for the stage and performed in China. Come listen to this world-renowned author talk about Islam and the West, Muslims in France, and the roles of literature.
The Writer’s Life :: 作家生活 6 pm
Oft romanticized but just as often misunderstood, what actually constitutes life for a writer? Chinese author Zhi An and British author Will Buckingham discuss the realities of this no-collar job. Zhi is the author of a biography about Zhou Zuo Ren, brother of Lu Xun, China’s greatest modern writer, while Buckingham writes novels and philosophy, and is the author of a guide for aspiring novelists called Write a Novel Course. This event is in English and Chinese 中英文活动
My Beautiful Shadow 8 pm
Radhika Jha is the author of five books, her latest being the novel My Beautiful Shadow, focusing on one woman’s journey in Japan through the fires of out-of-control consumerism and image obsession. Her second novel, Lanterns on the Horn, focuses on her home country of India, and is described by The Independent as a “wonderfully warm and properly grounded novel… a great place to become familiar with [the country].”
Sixty-Four Chance Pieces Book Launch 8 pm
Will Buckingham is a novelist, lecturer, and philosopher. His latest book, Sixty-Four Chance Pieces, published by Earnshaw Books, is a novel of sorts that puts the I Ching, or Chinese Book of Changes, to work as a literature machine to generate new stories and new possibilities. The book comprises 64 short stories, each one drawing on a chapter of the Chinese text, and combines storytelling, travel writing, and often-wayward philosophical reflections. This event is at iQiyi.
Communism in the UK :: 英国的“东方红” 1 pm
Journalist Paul Anderson, author of the book Moscow Gold? The Soviet Union and the British Left, traces the history of Communism in the UK through its relationship with and perspective on the Soviet Union. In this talk, Anderson explores both the British Communists for whom Moscow could do no wrong as well as those British Communists who distanced themselves from or actively rejected the Soviet style. This event is in English and Chinese 中英文活动
Meet the Authors: Presenting… 6 pm
Readings and conversation with novelist and travel writer Dennis Bock, who was hailed by The Globe and Mail as “Canada’s next great novelist” (Going Home Again); outspoken writer, poet, and BBC4 presenter Anna Chen (Reaching for my Gnu); and well-traveled Beijing-based author Bradford Philen (Autumn Falls). Q&A follows.
Café Jause Book Launch 8 pm
Join us for the launch of Wena Poon’s newest book, Café Jause: A Story of Viennese Shanghai, a moving story of Jewish, Chinese, and Japanese expats cooperating in Shanghai on the eve of World War II. Poon is an award-winning Chinese Singaporean author whose work is studied by British and American academics of transnational literature and forms part of the Cambridge ‘O’ Level Literature exam syllabus in Singapore high schools. This event is at iQiyi.
I Am China 1 pm
I Am China is the new novel from Xiaolu Guo, author of A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers, inspired by Allen Ginsberg’s poem “America” – a look at rock and roll youth living in exile. The book is “a multilayered exploration of politics and culture across three continents,” writes The Guardian. “Cultural references, from Johnny Rotten to Erik Satie, are refracted through a lens of Chinese politics.”
Experience vs. Imagination :: 经历与想象力的对决 6 pm
Wena Poon writes mostly from imagination and research, as in Café Jause, about Jewish, Chinese, and Japanese expats cooperating in Shanghai on the eve of World War II; emergency doctor Vincent Lam writes from personal experience, as in Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures, which follows three young medical professionals. Which way is better? Join them and local poet / short story writer Jiang Yitan (The Statue of Clint Eastwood, Peking Lover) for a discussion about the pros and cons of “writing what you know” – or do not know. This event is in English and Chinese 中英文活动
Travels with Swallows and Ships 7 pm
British author and journalist Horatio Clare takes us on a voyage of discovery, focused on his two most recent books, A Single Swallow, which follows bird migration from South Africa to the UK, and the bestselling Down to the Sea In Ships, based on voyages around the world on cargo vessels. He is also the author of two compelling memoirs, Running for the Hills: A Family Story, which describes his childhood on a sheep farm in rural Wales, and Truant: Notes from the Slippery Slope, which chronicles his struggle with drugs. This event is at iQiyi.
Anna May Wong Must Die! 8 pm
Anna May Wong Must Die! is Anna Chen’s one-woman show about Hollywood’s first Chinese movie star. This personal journey through the life and crimes of Anna May Wong grew from a half-hour program about the actress, A Celestial Star In Piccadilly, broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in January 2009, written and presented by Chen. Part comedy, part social critique, this funny, fascinating look at the movie icon dismantles Chinese stereotypes and reveals the human side of the dragon lady of dragon ladies.
Going Home Again 8 pm
Hailed as “Canada’s next great novelist” by The Globe and Mail, Dennis Bock broke out with his hit debut novel The Ash Garden in 2002, which netted him the Canada-Japan Literary Award. His short stories, travel writing, and book reviews have appeared in multiple literary journals and magazines, but he has returned to the novel form for his fourth book, Going Home Again. The story follows a man, struggling with his divorce, who is forced to confront an even greater conflict from his past, pulling him through a sordid tale of secrets, lies, betrayal, and murder. This event is at iQiyi.
Literature Through Film noon
Filmmaker and novelist Xiaolu Guo will discuss the dynamic relationship between cinema and literature, showing how the two medias inspire and play off one another using examples from George Orwell, French New Wave, and her own film, UFO in Her Eyes. Film clips will be shown. This event is brought to you with the kind support of Harrow Beijing.
HONG KONG State of Mind noon
Hong Kong is a mixed bag of a city, which Jason Y. Ng has captured in HONG KONG State of Mind, a collection of essays on partygoers, billboards, fortunetellers, cram school tutors, skyscrapers and skylines. At once an outsider looking in and an insider looking out, Ng will provide something for everyone: a travel guide for the passing visitor, a manual for the wide-eyed expat, and an open diary for the native Hong Konger looking for moments of reflection. This event is at iQiyi.
Meet the Authors: Presenting… 2 pm
Readings and conversation with philosopher and travel writer Horatio Clare (Down to the Sea In Ships, A Single Swallow); prolific novelist, playwright, and Georgian TV presenter Aka Morchiladze; and blogger and sociopolitical commentator Jason Y. Ng (HONG KONG State of Mind, No City for Slow Men). Q&A follows.
Bloodletting 3 pm
Vincent Lam’s first book, Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures, won the 2006 Scotiabank Giller Prize and was adapted for television and broadcast on HBO Canada. Dr. Lam is a trained emergency physician in Toronto, and he’ll talk about how he juggles writing with medicine. He has worked in international air evacuation and expedition medicine on Arctic and Antarctic ships. This event is at iQiyi.
Tech in China 4 pm
Innovators, copycats, investors, hackers, gamers, and so many more who fall somewhere in between: welcome to the exhilarating, unpredictable, competitive, and often confounding world of tech in China. How has globalization affected Chinese tech? What’s the impact of government intervention and the Great Firewall? Is freedom necessary for innovation? What unique challenges do start-ups face? What does the future hold for tech giants such as Alibaba, Xiaomi, and Sina? Industry leaders convene in this star-studded panel to discuss, debate, and disabuse.
Writing Across Cultures 6 pm
Capturing a cultural divide in writing, and communicating it directly to the audience, is a huge challenge – especially when it comes to writing of adopted cultures as an expat or migrant. But few authors have risen to the challenge as successfully as these three gathered here, and so we will join them for a night of discussion about conquering cultural difference and exposing the disconnects and divides for their readers. This event is brought to you with the kind support of Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University.
From ‘Island’ to ‘Sunrise’ 8 pm
Bestselling author of The Island, which was adapted for Greek television and translated into Chinese, Victoria Hislop will talk about her career in writing and introduce her fourth and most recent novel, The Sunrise. In it, readers are introduced to a fascinating slice of Mediterranean history: the Greek Coup and Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1972 that caused 40,000 people to flee the town of Famagusta, never to return.
In Manchuria noon
Michael Meyer’s second book, In Manchuria: A Village Called Wasteland and the Transformation of Rural China, is about his three years living and teaching in the rural northwest Chinese rice-farming community of Wasteland, hometown to his wife’s family. Meyer depicts tremendous change, from new roads to organic farming, in this vivid, personal, and at times heartbreaking look at a commune’s transformation from backwater village to company town.
A Foreign Affair: Australia’s Relationship with Asia :: 外交事务: 澳大利亚与亚洲的关系 2 pm
Political journalist, author, TV and radio commentator, and editor-at-large for The Australian, Paul Kelly has been writing about Australian politics for more than 40 years. His seventh and latest such work, Triumph and Demise, is an award-winning examination of the leadership tensions at the heart of the Rudd-Gillard Labour Government. In this talk Kelly will tackle the increasingly important relationships between Asia and its closest “Western” neighbor, Australia, specifically on the issues of the free trade agreement, press freedom, politics, and security. This event is in English and Chinese 中英文活动
Death Fugue Book Launch :: 《死亡赋格》新书发布会 4 pm
Sheng Keyi’s Northern Girls was longlisted for the Man Asian Literary Prize, and her follow-up, Death Fugue, has gained her more international attention. Named after a poem by Paul Celan about Nazi concentration camps, Death Fugue is an allegory to the events at Tiananmen in 1989, including feces, actual gorillas, and civil protests. It’s about the breakdown of idealism and futility of art. Sheng, a ferocious experimenter with style and voice, will read from her book and discuss relevant topics. This event is in English and Chinese 中英文活动
Changing China :: 变化中的中国 4 pm
How does one measure change? In demolished neighborhoods, new urban centers, GDP? Join Michael Meyer (The Last Days of Old Beijing, In Manchuria), sinologist Francesco Sisci (A Brave New China: The Big Change), and journalist and political blogger Michael Anti as they shed light on the shifting face of modern China. This event is at The Opposite House. (English and Chinese 中英文活动)
Focus on European Literature 6 pm
Though it can hardly be said to have gone away, European literature is on the upswing, thanks to the recent success of prominent authors and adaptations of books to TV and film. Some of the region’s most informed voices come together to discuss the state of European lit, its popularity overseas, and the wealth of works yet undiscovered by monolingual Chinese and English speakers. This event is brought to you in cooperation with Literature Across Frontiers and with the support of the Delegation of the European Union to China as part of the EU-China Literature Initiative.
From Kitchen to Cockpit 6 pm
As a young woman in South Africa in the 1950s, Yvonne van den Dool’s dream was to fly. She fulfilled it and so much more, influencing women in aviation in her country and beyond. Her memoir, From Kitchen to Cockpit, documents her journey, one that her daughter, Ingrid van Ginkel, will bring alive in this presentation filled with fascinating insight and rare, historical photographs. This event is at iQiyi.
Stories About Storytellers 8 pm
In a career spanning more than four decades, including as publisher of Macmillan of Canada and president of McClelland and Stewart (M&S), Douglas Gibson has cultivated an extensive network with some of Canada’s most prominent writers. His memoir, Stories About Storytellers, includes an introduction by Nobel laureate Alice Munro. Prepare to hear stories about Canada’s literary titans through the humanizing eyes of their friend and editor.
Little Emperors and Material Girls 1 pm
Behind China’s economic growth, a once-in-a-generation sexual and cultural revolution is taking place – all in the bars, cafes, and streets of China’s growing mega-cities. Writer and journalist Jemimah Steinfeld meets the young people behind the world’s fastest-moving nation – from mistresses to sino-punks – to reveal their attitudes towards love, life, and sexuality.
Meet the Authors: Presenting… 6 pm
Readings and conversation with three authors of impressively diverse backgrounds: up-and-coming Australian author Brooke Davis (Lost & Found); titan of Canadian publishing Douglas Gibson (Stories About Storytellers); and hugely talented Mexican linguist and author Guadalupe Nettel (Natural Histories). Q&A follows.
Meet the Authors: Presenting… 8 pm
Readings and conversation with Maltese writer and literature lecturer Clare Azzopardi (Frape and All the Names They Left Behind), multiple award-winning Singaporean author Xi Ni Er (The Earnest Mask), and children’s author and philosopher Dr. Damon Young (My Nanna is a Ninja). Q&A follows.
Pathlight Magazine: Creation, Translation, Publication :: 《路灯》杂志: 创作, 翻译, 出版 8 pm
This event will focus on a single short story — tracing its progress from the original composition in Chinese through the entire process of translation, editing, and finally publication — with local author Sun Yisheng, translator Nicky Harman, and Pathlight editors Eric Abrahamsen and Dave Haysom. This event is at iQiyi. (English and Chinese 中英文活动)
Poetry with Willis Barnstone 6 pm
A rare chance to attend a reading by one of the great modern poets of our time. Willis Barnstone is a four-time Pulitzer-nominated poet whose work has appeared in nearly every major literary journal, including American Poetry Review, Paris Review, Poetry, and The New Yorker. Many of his poems are about China, written when he lived in the country during the Cultural Revolution (as in the collection China Poems, 1986) or later when he taught at Beijing Foreign Studies University (Five A.M. in Beijing, 1987). In addition, his translations of the poems of Mao Zedong are collected in the book The Poems of Mao Zedong. This event is sure to be a treat for longtime admirers and newcomers alike.
The World of Kids’ Lit :: 儿童文学的世界 7 pm
Children’s author-illustrators Frané Lessac and Bridget Strevens-Marzo join Chinese children’s author Joy Niu and academic Anette Øster – an expert on Swedish author Astrid Lindgren, renowned for her Pippi Longstocking book series – to talk about children’s literature old and new. In the age of televisions, computers, and video games, how does reading rightfully remain a passion and delight to children of all ages? Moderated by Olivia Liu, regional advisor of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators China Chapter. This event is at iQiyi. (English and Chinese 中英文活动)
The Reward of Complex Literature 8 pm
A talk about the stories of humans and human societies, featuring authors who impart powerful messages and contemplate complex issues through their writing: surrealist Dorothy Tse, master of metaphor Guadalupe Nettel, and realist Xi Ni Er. Join them in a conversation about literature as message and messenger. This event is brought to you with the kind support of The University of Nottingham Ningbo China.
Writing for Children 6 pm
Children’s writing continues to have a powerful presence in modern literature, welcoming successive generations of readers and writers-to-be. In this event, authors and illustrators from opposite ends of the earth will gather to discuss their craft, moderated by children’s lit expert Anette Øster.
The Greening of Asia 7 pm
Mark Clifford, executive director of the Hong Kong-based Asia Business Council, focuses on the role that business — especially business innovation — can play in finding environmental solutions. His recent book, The Greening of Asia: The Business Case for Solving Asia’s Environmental Emergency, highlights the people, technology, and incentives that can force through the big changes we need, from greener buildings and more livable cities to new forms of energy and sustainable agriculture. Moderated by Stuart Leavenworth, Beijing Bureau Chief for McClatchy Newspapers. This event is at iQiyi.
Meet the Authors: Presenting… 8 pm
Readings and conversation with resident Beijing novelist and short story writer Jennifer Mills (The Rest is Weight), fiction author and chairman of the Danish Writers Association Jakob Vedelsby (The Law of Humanity), Australian author Anna Solding (The Hum of Concrete), and long-time Asia resident, playwright, and author Dean Barrett (Bones of the Chinamen). Q&A follows.
Committing Journalism: Foreign Correspondents on Chinese Affairs 1 pm
A medley of China correspondents come together to discuss their latest experiences and the ups and downs, rewards and challenges of Committing Journalism in the Middle Kingdom.
Black Holes Book Launch :: 《人生黑洞》新书发布会 6 pm
Join author and law professor He Jiahong for the launch of his latest novel, Black Holes, a sequel to the gripping legal mystery drama Hanging Devils, Bookworm’s Book Club choice for March and one of The Guardian’s top ten Asian crime novels. It continues the adventures of lawyer Hong Jun, this time involving an ambitious trader accused of fraud, dark secrets leading back to the Cultural Revolution, and Hong Jun’s own murky past. This event is in English and Chinese 中英文活动
Ghost Cities 8 pm
Over the next couple of decades, an estimated 250 million Chinese citizens will move from rural areas into cities, pushing the country’s urban population over one billion. China has aggressively built urban districts over the past 30 years, yet many of these, such as the infamous Kangbashi and Yujiapu, stand nearly empty, construction having ground to a halt due to the loss of investors and colossal debt. In Ghost Cities of China, Wade Shepard examines this phenomenon up close, and posits that the shedding of traditional social structures is at an advanced stage, and a rootless, consumption-centric globalized culture is rapidly taking its place.
From Her Neighbors’ Eyes: Regional Journalists on China 1 pm
Contested territories, energy pacts, trade deficits, regional stability… How has the emergence of China as an Asian superpower affected her neighbors? Join foreign correspondents for an in-depth look at China’s growing role in Asian affairs.
Tales from Angola 6 pm
Ondjaki is a writer from Luanda, Angola who has published five novels, three collections of short stories, four collections of poetry, and three children’s books. He has also made a documentary film, May Cherries Grow, about his native city. Come listen to one of Africa’s most important contemporary voices – The Guardian named him one of its Top Five African Writers in 2012 – introduce stories from his home.
The Three Leaps of Wang Lun 6 pm
The Three Leaps of Wang Lun, Alfred Döblin’s first attempt at extended fiction, astonished, bewildered, and captivated German readers on its publication in 1916. The highly original style, exotic setting, and significant theme earned it a major literary prize, and a reputation as the first modern novel in German. Chris Godwin’s translation — the first into English — was published 25 years ago. A new edition appeared this January. This evening, Godwin will outline some of the major aspects of Döblin’s classic and suggest approaches to help readers enjoy its many riches. Time permitting, he’ll also give a reading of a short episode omitted from the published work, which he has just translated. This event is at iQiyi.
Storytelling 8 pm
At the heart of great writing, great performance, and great music is a great story. Oral storytelling is one of the oldest, most fundamental, and intimate forms of communicating these remarkable stories. Beijing Storytellers meets monthly at The Bookworm to bond over a common passion for the art and craft of storytelling. It provides a platform for veteran and novice storytellers alike. Join us for a night of unique and authentic personal stories from both writers and laymen. Our theme for this night will be: Atonement.
In Conversation with Willis Barnstone noon
Join us for an unforgettable night with one of the world’s most illustrious scholars, Willis Barnstone. Poet, translator, editor, New Testament and Gnostic scholar, four-time Pulitzer Prize nominee, and namesake of the Willis Barnstone Translation Prize, Barnstone, 87, has an intimate China connection: he first visited the country in 1972 during the Cultural Revolution before returning as a Fulbright professor at Beijing Foreign Studies University (1984-1985). He has also spent significant time in Mexico, Spain, France, England, and Greece. This is a can’t-miss event.
The Second Tang Dynasty 2 pm
Mark O’Neill was born in London, educated at Oxford University, and has been living and working in Asia since 1978. He is the author of Frederick, The Life of My Missionary Grandfather in Manchuria, the biography of his missionary grandfather, which is also available in both traditional and simplified Chinese 《闖關東的愛爾蘭人》. O’Neill’s latest book, The Second Tang Dynasty, is about 12 men from Xiangshan (now Zhongshan) in the late Qing and early Republican periods who changed the country.
A Chinese Scholar in His Studio 4 pm
The studio was a Chinese scholar’s retreat, a perfect private space for reading, writing, painting, and entertaining friends. The fine furniture and treasured desk utensils were functional and often superb works of art, as historian Sarah Handler will show. She is the author of Austere Luminosity of Chinese Classical Furniture and Ming Furniture in the Light of Chinese Architecture, currently being considered for publication in Chinese. She also edited and translated from the Chinese Wang Shixiang’s Classic Chinese Furniture: Ming and Early Qing Dynasties.
The Inspiration Within and Without :: 灵感的来源 4 pm
“Where does it all come from?” It’s the question every aspiring writer wants to know, and the question this panel of children’s authors and illustrators will attempt to answer. Because even fairy tales are grounded in reality. This event is at iQiyi. (English and Chinese 中英文活动)
The Cleaver Quarterly Issue Release Party 5 pm
Jing A Taproom (300 meters southeast of The Bookworm), Sat March 28, 17:00 | JA28A FREE
Join the team behind The Cleaver Quarterly, a Beijing-based print magazine telling stories about Chinese food all over the world, as they celebrate the launch of their fourth issue. Meet the writers, editors, designers, and photographers behind the stories and enjoy some of Beijing’s best craft beer. This event is at Jing A Taproom.
Writing China Through History 6 pm
China’s transformations over the past century – violent, peaceful, traumatic, uplifting – have provided rich fodder for countless writers and journalists through the ages. In a talk moderated by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Ian Johnson, three prominent experts will discuss the ever-changing experience of living in China: Willis Barnstone, who first arrived during the Cultural Revolution before returning to teach at Beijing Foreign Studies University from 1984-85; Dean Barrett, who has lived across Asia for three decades, with a number of works focusing on China and Hong Kong; and Mark O’Neill, a reporter based in Asia for much of his four-decade career, whose nonfiction examines influential figures in the formation of early modern China. This event is brought to you with the kind support of Dulwich Beijing.
Comedy China, ft. Joe Wong 8 pm
Can’t-miss comedy acts don’t get much bigger than Joe Wong, whose jokes have taken him from the 2010 Radio and TV Correspondents’ Dinner, where he roasted vice president Joe Biden, to the stages of the Ellen DeGeneres and David Letterman shows. For the past year Wong has performed small guest spots at stand-up gigs in Beijing, but fresh off a US tour, he’ll unveil a special feature-length set at the Bookworm Literary Festival. With local comics in tow, this event, presented by Comedy Club China, promises to be a wonderful showcase of stand-up in Beijing.
The Female Voice in Contemporary Chinese Art :: 当代中国艺术中的女性声音 noon
Performance art has functioned as an important vehicle for contemporary Chinese artists since the early 1980s. Performance artists use their bodies as intermediaries, engaging in dialogue between the individual and the collective, and addressing their own value, gender, and voice. They make the conscious decision to stand at the periphery, creating work that is essentially unsellable but that responds authentically to contemporary society. Join art historians and curators Madeline Eschenburg and Ellen Larson (editors of OpenGroundBlog.com) along with UCCA director Philip Tinari and artists Xiao Lu and Sun Shaokun as they discuss the significance of female performance in contemporary Chinese art. This event is in English and Chinese 中英文活动. This event is brought to you with the kind support of Sigma Gallery.
British Short Stories 2 pm
Superhero dictators, East German opera lovers, dreamers and hunters… a restaurant for zombies, Wales’s Rhondda Valley, a taxidermy class… these are just some of the characters and settings in the short stories of Adam Marek, Rachel Trezise, and Zoe Gilbert, who’ll share their works and introduce other imaginative, riveting, mordant works of contemporary British fiction. This event is brought to you in cooperation with the British Council.
Book Launch: How Does One Dress to Buy Dragonfruit? True Stories of Expat Women in Asia 2 pm
How Does One Dress to Buy Dragonfruit?, edited by Shannon Young, is the first collection to explore in depth the varied and unconventional lives of expat women in East Asia. Their stories go far beyond the stereotypical image of a trailing spouse at brunch, and give voice to a population that is often sidelined. They are artists, filmmakers, singers, teachers, professionals, mothers, wives, and diplomats. Their stories explore love, loss, and identity. Bookworm Literary Festival welcomes three of the contributors who, together, will formally launch this unique anthology in Beijing. This event is at iQiyi.
Comedy vs. Tragedy 4 pm
The world’s great religions and philosophies agree on very little, except that we’re all messed up. Should we snicker at our flawed nature or feel deeply depressed? Local writers face off to probe this very question. A comedy team and tragedy team will trade short works that alternate between the humorous and the sorrowful. You won’t know whether to laugh or cry.
Inside the Laowai Actors Studio 6 pm
What is the Chinese film and TV industry actually like? Join this panel of foreign actors for a candid (and guaranteed hilarious) look behind the cameras… and behind the bureaucracy, the censorship, the bafflingly large film crews, and so much more. With commentary and anecdotes, they will reveal their lives on and – perhaps more tellingly – off Chinese screens.
Literary Trivia! 8 pm
Think you know your Shakespeare from Marlowe, Emily from Charlotte, mondegreen from mumpsimus? Kaiser Kuo and Anthony Tao host a four-round trivia extravaganza to close this year’s literary festival. Three teams – Visitors, Locals, and the Hoi Polloi – will fight against mental block, probable inebriation, and one another for the right to call themselves Bookworm Literary Festival Champion!
KIDS [5+]: The Girl from the French Fort 10 am
Hong Ying has spent her life in pursuit of the written word – leaving home at 18 to wander for a decade around China, supporting herself through her writing, before moving to London for another decade, where she was published in English. She returned to Beijing in 2000. Her latest work is the children’s book The Girl from the French Fort, a collaboration with Beijing-resident illustrator Cherry Denman. The book was instantly popular in China, and has proven to be a delight for Beijing kids, whether local or expat.
KIDS [6-12]: Encouraging Reading 10 am
Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators co-founder Stephen Mooser has written more than 60 books for children over his decades-long career, many of them evolving from some of his favorite interests like treasure hunting, scary stories, and strange true tales. Great fun for the young and young-at-heart, his stories are full of adventure and mystery. In this event he’ll present some of his most recent work, showing – not merely telling – how to inspire a lifelong love of reading in children.
KIDS [5-10]: Snorgh the Sailor 10 am
Will Buckingham takes you on a seafaring journey through friendship, danger, adventure, and very salty soup. Praised by Gruffalo author Julia Donaldson as “outstanding — adventurous and quirky,” The Snorgh and the Sailor is a story of a grumpy Snorgh who one day finds himself setting out on a very unexpected journey. Quirky and imaginative, it’ll be a treat for the young and old.
KIDS [8+]: Picture a Story: The A-Z of Making Books 10 am
From the spark of an idea to the finished product, all books start with a little imagination – Frané Lessac gives you tips on how to organize your ideas into words and pictures. Here’s a rare opportunity to interact with an author of more than 40 children’s books published around the world. Lessac, the 2010 recipient of the Muriel Barwell Award for Distinguished Service to Children’s Literature, is an experienced traveler and a dynamic presenter filled with optimism, humor, and eye for detail. She will explain how the process of book making isn’t a mystery but an attainable and enjoyable goal.
[KIDS 5-8]: My Nanna is a Ninja 10 am
Some nannas dress in pink when they jog around the track. But my nanna is a ninja … so she dresses up in black. What if your grandmother were a ninja? Thus the question explored by philosopher and writer Damon Young in this laugh-out-loud children’s book. This event is at iQiyi.
KIDS [12+]: ‘Frape’ (Facebook Rape) 10 am
Clare Azzopardi has written many books for children, a novella for young adults revolving around a “Facebook rape” and teenage nastiness (Frape) and two collections of short stories for adults, her last one being All the Names She Left Behind. Azzopardi has won many awards in Malta and is currently working on her first novel for adults.
KIDS [13-17]: Zac & Mia 10 am
AJ Betts is the author of three books, Shutterspeed, Wavelength, and her latest, Zac & Mia, which won the Text Prize for YA and Children’s Writing in 2012. Set in Western Australia, it’s the story of two teenagers who meet while receiving treatment for cancer. Betts, who spent four years traveling the world after college, is also an avid cyclist.
KIDS [6-12]: Storytelling Through Words and Drawings 10 am
Author and illustrator Bridget Strevens-Marzo’s art has appeared in numerous worldwide bestsellers, but her latest work has her writing again as well illustrating. Bridget’s Book of English is a fun flap book of first English words for young children, with charming illustrations to match. In this event, Bridget will use words and pictures in a dynamic storytelling session that has her draw the accompanying illustrations on the fly for the kids to see and in turn create their own characters and stories.
KIDS [8+]: From Denmark to Russia to the Caribbean to Africa – and Beyond! 10 am
Lise Bidstrup began her career in 2005, and ever since she has been writing around the clock, and around the globe. Bidstrup has published almost 60 books, writing for children, young adults, and adults. She wanders with equal ease in both imaginary worlds as well as countries in the real one. She will talk about her books and share experiences from her many research travels around the globe.
KIDS [6+]: Reading and Drawing 10 am
Tove Appelgren is an author and theater director who has written scripts for various theaters and radio as well as lyrics for children’s music. Her much-loved Vesta-Linnea books depict ordinary family life with a humorous twist. In 2010 she was nominated for the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award. At this event, she’ll read to the kids and have them discuss their experiences within the story’s context. Participants will also be given paper and pens to draw their own stories.
KIDS [6+]: The Adventures of Poucher and Big Guy 10 am
Arthur Charles’s stories tell of his adventures across the world with his kangaroo friend Poucher (among other Australian bush animals), deftly illustrated by Kate Anderson. From local adventures throughout Australia to tales of globetrotting and escapades in Africa, Poucher and his buddy Big Guy have more than a few tales to tell! In this event, Charles and Anderson share stories from his books and from life as a jet-setting Aussie kids’ author and illustrator duo.
KIDS [6+]: Chinese Children’s Event :: 6岁以上儿童: 中文儿童活动 2 pm
Tove Appelgren is an author and theater director who has written scripts for various theaters and radio as well as lyrics for children’s music. Her much-loved Vesta-Linnea books depict ordinary family life with a humorous twist. The books have sold tens of thousands of copies in nearly 10 countries so far. In 2010 Appelgren was nominated for the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award. This event is tailored to Chinese-speaking audiences. This event is at iQiyi. (English and Chinese (中英文活动)
KIDS [5+]: Stories from Africa 10 am
Lisa Maria Burgess, known for her children’s books, has taught literature and writing all over the world, including in China, South Africa, Tanzania, and her native US. Here she will delight young kids with readings from her popular Juma book series, which follows the adventures of a young boy in Tanzania. Included are fun hands-on activities for the wilder kids in the audience!