China Beat Archive



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March 15, 2008 in The China Beat


Copyright March 15, 2008. Used by permission.


For the past week, all over China, writers have been bumping into each other at hotel check-ins, or at breakfast, in taxi queues. They have waved/hugged/air kissed, and asked: “Are you doing Beijing? Shanghai? Suzhou? Chengdu? Hong Kong….?” (In terms of one-upmanship a simple ‘yes’ to each can’t be beaten.)

Who’d have thought it? Book festivals – originally the cultural preserve of western cities – are popping up in several of China’s big urban centers. With one major difference, of course – they are run and largely attended by a rapidly growing population of expatriates. Much of the content is China-related – even those of us who have China in front of our eyes are always eager for more information, and different ways of interpreting what we see.

I started at the Bookworm in Beijing, where I live, then flew down to Hong Kong, and now, if it’s Thursday, I must be in Shanghai.(No Suzhou or Chengdu for me, I hang my head in shame.)