Chinese Write Now

China in Context is the UK’s first annual festival celebrating writers and writing from and about China. Founded in 2017, the festival has now completed its second year. Held at China Exchange, in 2018 the festival took place over two weeks, with talks from leading writers, a book fair, hands-on workshops, and cultural experiences. China in Context 2018 focused on the theme of translation; from translating language, to culture and ideas.

Opening on Monday 5th March 2018, the festival kicked off with a sold out event with best-selling contemporary Chinese writer Yan Geling 严歌苓. Author of several novels, including The Lost Daughter of Happiness, The Uninvited and The Flowers of War, Ms Yan’s works have been adapted for the screen by internationally acclaimed directors, such as Zhang Yimou 张艺谋, Chen Kaige 陈凯歌 and Feng Xiaogang冯小刚.

Audiences went on to enjoy talks with writers such as Raise the Red Lantern author Su Tong, British-Chinese writer Xue Xinran, and TV Chef and cook book author Ching He Huang. In another sell-out event, Dr Malcolm McNeill from Christie’s auction house taught vistors how to ‘read’ classical Chinese painting, and eminent Historian Frances Wood delivered lectures introducing Chinese literature, and exploring the forgotten history of the Chinese Labour Corps. Also on offer were free Mandarin classes, calligraphy and painting demonstrations, and the ever-popular Yaji – a Chinese cultural salon.

In a focus supported by the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office, China in Context celebrated the diverse writing talent of Hong Kong with three specially curated events. Roger Lee, one of Hong Kong’s most renowned screen writers and producers, joined the festival to share his experience translating his life story for film, and his talk was followed by a screening of his aclaimed film A Simple Life – China Exchange’s first ever showing of a full-length feature film. Hong Kong-based literary giant Jin Yong, one of the world’s best-selling living authors, was also celebrated in an event marking a new translation of his work into English. Audience members were also able to explore the world of poetry writing in an interactive workshop lead by Hong Kong poet Jennifer Wong.

China in Context culminated in a vibrant book fair weekend from 15-18 March – extended by an extra day due to its popularity in 2017.

What our audience said:

“Super! The speakers were very knowledgeable about their subject and spoke with enthusiasm. The range of events meant there was something for everyone. Staff at China Exchange were very welcoming. There was a lovely, buzzing atmosphere and people were enjoying themselves.”

“Very well curated – enjoyed everything I went to.”

“Thanks to the China Exchange team for an inspiring and thought-provoking program and the invariably friendly and helpful greeting from the staff and helpers. All the events were first class, Ching He Huang was amazingly gracious and modest, Jennifer Wong’s poetry session yielded instant literary results and the talks by Yan Geling and Roger Lee were completely fascinating and offered a wealth of unique insights. Many thanks to all concerned for the huge efforts and sincere welcome.”

“I’m never disappointed by China Exchange events – excellent, creative, varied programming. Friendly staff. Appealing prices. Central venue. Perfect for people who wants to discover more about China, or for people like me who are already passionate about China and want to immerse myself and learn even more. Thank you!”

“Events were well-organised and topics were comprehensive and diverse, there’s something for everyone. Well done.”

You can also download the full programme here.

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