Paul French

moderated by Alec Ash

Thursday, March 22, 8 pm | 60 RMB – purchase link

It’s time to go back and explore Shanghai’s Badlands…

Immerse yourself in 1940’s Shanghai with this astonishing story of two men whose lives intertwine in crime and twisted friendship. In a city under siege Viennese Joe Farren rose to fame by cashing in on Shanghai’s desperate pleasure seeking. King of the chorus lines, his name was splashed in neon across the infamous Badlands nightclub ‘Farren’s’. American fugitive Jack Riley, his fingertips acid-burnt found a future in Shanghai as ‘The Slots King’. ‘Dapper Joe’ and ‘Lucky Jack’ collided, clashed and came together again in a frantic struggle to survive the city’s last days. In City of Devils: A Shanghai Noir Paul French resurrects the denizens of old Shanghai’s ganglands, the drug-running, the gambling, and the graft, vividly restoring this long-overlooked side of the city’s history. In conversation with Alec Ash, author of Wish Lanterns.

Long time Shanghai resident Paul French is the New York Times bestselling author of Midnight in Peking (currently being adapted for television) — winner of both the Edgar Award for Best Fact Crime and the CWA Gold Dagger for Non-Fiction. Now he’s back with City of Devils: A Shanghai Noir, the rags-to-riches tale of two self-made men set against a backdrop of crime and vice in the sprawling badlands of 1930s Shanghai.

Alec Ash is a writer and editor in Beijing, author of Wish Lanterns, literary nonfiction about the lives of six young Chinese (Picador, 2016), a BBC Book of the Week. He studied English literature at Oxford, and first moved to Beijing in 2008. His articles have appeared in 1843, the Guardian Long Read, New York Review of Books and Dissent. He is Managing Editor of the Los Angeles Review of Books China Channel, contributing author to the book of reportage Chinese Characters, and co-editor of the anthology While We’re Here. Twitter: @alecash

  • Tickets are available at The Bookworm and online via Yoopay.