From May through to July, we welcomed nearly 600 people to our Chinese Write Now festival celebrating writers and writing from and about Chinese culture.This year’s festival saw the China Exchange team bring contemporary Chinese culture and writing to London, Nottingham, and Manchester and welcome people to talks, workshops and activities online. The festival was opened to a delicious start by Taste Tibet author and restaurateur Julie Kleeman, where she told stories of Tibetan food culture and how she built an award-winning business during the pandemic with her partner.
We then headed north to Nottingham where we put on a fun-filled family day of activities, as well as a talk by young adult fiction writer Sue Cheung interviewed by two members of the Nottingham UNESCO City of Literature Youth Council. Academic Hongwei Bao and author Ken Kamoche also joined us in Nottingham for a fascinating night of discussion around how they channel positionality through their writing.
Soon we were back in London where East Side Voices’ editor and contributor, Helena Lee and Rowan Hisayo Buchanan, discussed in depth how they identify oneself through the lens of culture and experience. With a brief stop in Manchester to deliver a creative writing workshop, led by the brilliant award-winning poet Will Harris, we finished the festival with a fun-family day bursting with activities in partnership with Little Bean Theatre.
Throughout the festival we worked with our writer-in-residence, Will Harris, both online and in-person to put on a series of creative writing poetry workshops. An anthology of original work written throughout the Festival has been produced. It includes a piece by Will to conclude his residency and contributions made by workshop participants. Finally, we would not have been able to have delivered this year’s festival without our wonderful audiences or hard-working volunteers, so we give a massive thank you to you all. We must also give a special mention to our festival sponsors and partners: Guanghwa Bookshop, Cypress Books, The University of Nottingham and Lakeside Arts, Nottingham Confucius Institute, Nottingham UNESCO City of Literature, Little Bean Theatre, the London Salon, Manchester City of Literature, Manchester Festival of Libraries.
Chinese Write Now is the third festival produced by China Exchange. The previous two editions were held under the name China in Context. The 2022 edition and the festival’s new name reflect the expanded scope of the programme, celebrating writers and contemporary Chinese culture.