China on Foot: An exploration of China through travel writing and extraordinary journeys
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13:30 to 14:30

Visit faraway places vicariously through this panel conversation focused on how voyages through China fuelled writing processes, created narrative arcs and provided rich content for reportage. Gain inspiration for your own adventures and for how to record, recreate and represent your travel experiences for an audience. Perhaps you’re an armchair explorer, a brilliant blogger, a phenomenal photographer or you’d just like to hear more from the accomplished panel members about their experiences. Whatever the reason, join us for this inspirational hour, which is part of our China in Context weekend.

Speaker: Michael Freeman


One of the most widely published photographers worldwide, Michael Freeman has worked for most major international magazine and book publishers in a long career. A leading photographer for the Smithsonian Magazine for three decades (more than 40 assignment stories), Freeman has also published more than 136 books on subjects as varied as Angkor, Sudan, ethnic minorities in Southeast Asia, the Shakers, and contemporary Japanese design and architecture. His 66 books on the practice of photography are standard works, and have sold over 3 million copies in more than 20 languages (4 million for all his books). London-based, Freeman travels for half of each year on shooting assignments, principally in Asia.  He was editor of the journal of the Royal Society for Asian Affairs in London, from 2001 to 2005. His latest large-format reportage book is The Tea Horse Road, the result of a two-year exploration of one of the longest trade routes in the ancient world, between China and Tibet.

Speaker: Zoë ReedZKR with photo SBFT

Zoë has had an extensive public service senior management career in England. After working for 3 different local government authorities she has been a director for a major National Health Service mental health services provider organisation in London. Zoe’s Chinese father remained a puzzle to her until she was 46. Now Chair of SACU, Zoe wrote her new book “A Bridge between Hearts: Anglo-Chinese Friendship and Understanding” recording the inspiring stories of people-to-people exchanges between China and Britain. In 1996 she traced her father to Lanzhou, Gansu Province, China and they met for the first time a year later. And so began her interest in and commitment to Anglo-Chinese Understanding!  In pursuing her personal interest to get to know her new Chinese family she also became involved in the work of SACU – the Society for Anglo-Chinese Understanding. In 2009 she became the Chair of SACU.  Her father wrote letters after their first meeting in which he included chapters of his story. This deepened her understanding and respect for him and encouraged her further to work as part of SACU to promote understanding and friendship between the peoples of China and Britain.

Chair: Michael Sheringham

Michael studied Chinese at Durham University, graduating with BA Hons, with further studies at St John’s College, Cambridge. After writing his thesis on Lu Xun, the pioneer writer of the New Culture Movement of the early 20th century, Michael taught English for 6 years at Peking University during the early 1970s. After returning to London, he taught Chinese language and history at various colleges. In the mid-1980s, Michael returned to China to teach English at Shenzhen University and meanwhile translated the novel Open Fields by Ye Junjian (Chun-Chan Yeh), the famous translator of the stories of Hans Christian Andersen. He has been a Director of the Meridian Society, which focuses on China, for the past 6 years and is a partner of his family bookshop, Arthur Probsthain Oriental Booksellers, in London. He has travelled widely in China since the early 1970s and led several tours to various regions, including along the Tea Horse Road in Yunnan.

Admission is free. Please register in advance.