“History doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme.”
— Mark Twain

The City of Devils is Back to Hong Kong – HKILF – 4/11/18

Posted: October 18th, 2018 | No Comments »

I’m doing a session on City of Devils: A Shanghai Noir at the Hong Kong International Literary Festival on Sunday 4/11 at the great new Tai Kwun arts centre on Hollywood Road (pictured below)…there will be pictures; there will be old Shanghai nostalgia…

Ticket details here

 

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Royal Asiatic Society Shanghai – Jim Thompson, Silk King – 21/10/18

Posted: October 17th, 2018 | No Comments »

Jim Thompson – Silk King

Anyone who has travelled through Thailand can’t help but see the ubiquitous name “JIM THOMPSON” on storefronts in the airport and throughout major cities. But who was this man?
Jim Thompson was an American OSS officer who fell in love with Thailand during World War II. Dissatisfied with his former life in America, he remained in Thailand and moved into a career as exotic as any novelist could create. In twenty years he built a major industry that profoundly changed the lives of thousands of Thais, became an authority on art that he previously knew nothing about, and assembled a world-renowned collection. He built a home that became a major tourist attraction in Bangkok, and he himself became a legend in Thailand; a letter, simply addressed to “Jim Thompson, Bangkok” would find its way to him in a city of 3.5 million people.
In 1967, on Easter Sunday, 67-year-old Jim Thompson disappeared from the Cameron Highlands in Malaysia. Not a trace was ever seen or heard from him. This has become one of the enduring legends and unsolved mysteries of Asia.
This talk will focus on the life and career of Jim Thompson, as well as speculations on his mysterious disappearance.
Anita Laurila holds a dual degree in English Literature and Political Science from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. She has worked for a US Congressman, the Governor of the State of Michigan, and the Michigan State Treasurer. She served as the Public Information Officer of a Non-Profit Agency and as the Assistant to the President of a Catholic Boy’s High School. While living in Thailand for nearly 3 years, Anita was a member of the Bangkok National Museum Volunteers and the Editor of an Expat Association, and became fascinated with Jim Thompson. She has lived in Shanghai for the past 4½ years.
R.S.V.P. to
bookings@royalasiaticsociety.org.cn
Entrance fee
Members: 0 RMB
Students: 50 RMB
Non-Members: 100 RMB
Venue
Garden Books, 325 Changle Road, near Shaanxi South Road
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The Quest for Forbidden Lands – Russians in Inner Asia

Posted: October 16th, 2018 | No Comments »
Alexandre Andreyev, Mikhail Baskhanov and Tatyana Yusupo’s The Quest for Forbidden Lands is both a good read and beautifully illustrated…sadly it’s also very expensive so probably a library borrow..
The Quest for Forbidden Lands: Nikolai Przhevalskii and his Followers on Inner Asian Tracks is a collection of biographical essays of outstanding Russian explorers of Inner Asia of the late nineteenth – early twentieth century, Nikolai Przhevalskii, Vsevolod Roborovskii, Mikhail Pevtsov, Petr Kozlov, Grigorii Grumm-Grzhimailo and Bronislav Grombchevskii, almost all senior army officers. Their expeditions were organized by the Imperial Russian Geographical Society with some assistance from the military department with a view of exploring and mapping the vast uncharted territories of Inner Asia, being the Western periphery of the Manchu-Chinese Empire. The journeys of these pioneers were a great success and gained world renown for their many discoveries and the valuable collections they brought from the region.
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Hong Kong International Literary Festival 2018 – China and Cross-Cultural Humour 1890-1940: A Panel Discussion – 6/11/2018

Posted: October 15th, 2018 | No Comments »

An excellent academic event taking place as part of the HKILF 2018 at HKU…(and it’s free)

China and Cross-Cultural Humour 1890-1940: A Panel Discussion

Date: 06-11-2018
Time: 18:00-20:00

 

This panel, featuring Professor Julia Kuehn and Dr Wendy Gan from the School of English, University of Hong Kong and Dr Anne Witchard from the University of Westminster, UK, will investigate the circumstances and motivations of cross-cultural humour during the period.

Looking at a range of comic texts, from chinoiserie-inspired tales, fin-de-siècle travel writing, cartoons, yellow peril propaganda to advertising and musical comedy theatre, the panel, moderated by Dr Anya Adair from the School of English, University of Hong Kong, will explore western discourses about China and cross-cultural humour at the turn of the 20th century. Is humour meant to be inclusive or exclusive? Does it challenge the status quo, and is it a productive negotiation of power relations? Might it demonstrate not superiority or ridicule, but common ground?

Wendy Gan is Associate Professor of English Literature at the University of Hong Kong. She has published widely on British women’s middlebrow writing from the early twentieth century (with a regular focus on those novels set in China), as well as British women modernists. Wendy’s most recent book is Comic China: Representing Common Ground, 1890-1945 (2018).

Julia Kuehn is Professor of English at the University of Hong Kong. She has published on China-related travel writing, especially in the nineteenth century, but also across time. Her publications include the edited collections A Century of Travels in China (2007), China Abroad: Travels, Subjects, Spaces (2009) and Diasporic Chineseness after the Rise of China (2013). Julia is currently working on First Opium War travelogues.

Anne Witchard is Reader in English Studies at the University of Westminster UK. She has published widely in the area of Sino-British cultural relations. Her most recent book is England’s Yellow Peril: Sinophobia and The Great War (2014). She is currently working on a project titled Dancing Antic Hays: Performing Modernist Chineseries.

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Lady Chatterley Must Go!! How and Why Shanghai Banned DH Lawrence in 1940

Posted: October 14th, 2018 | No Comments »

An abridged essay by me on the bizarre case of the Shanghai Municipal Police deciding to spend the summer of 1940 seizing copies of DH Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover and other ‘suspect’ books…now up on the Los Angeles Review of Books China Channel here….

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Hong Kong International Literary Festival 2018 – What I’m up to….

Posted: October 12th, 2018 | No Comments »

This November I’ll be at the Hong Kong International Literary Festival, which now has a great new home in the new Tai Kwun arts centre on Hollywood Road in Central. There’s a full programme online here…loads of stuff…naturally, as this is my blog, I’m going to promote my events…but I’ll sneak in a few others over the next few weeks.

  • Friday 2/11/18 – Festival Opening Event – I’ll be one of several authors, including Geoff Dyer, talking on the subject of “journeys” at the opening event for the festival….here
  • Saturday 3/11/18 – “Based on a True Story…” 4-5.30pm – I’m running a writing workshop on how to investigate and tell true stories in entertaining ways…if you’re doing a family history, looking at a true crime, real history, looking at writing literary non-fiction this might be helpful. Here for more details.
  • Sunday 4/11/18 – City of Devils – 2-3pm – I’ll be showing a lot of pictures and telling a lot of anecdotes to try and recreate those wild days of old Shanghai and the gangsters who ran the city’s Badlands just before the Japanese occupation of the International Settlement. click here
  • Sunday 4/11/18 -Why Genre Matters? – 5-6pm – I’ll be in conversation with my old publisher Jo Lusby, formerly of Penguin China and now Pixie B about genre, why it matters, why you should think about it and how to cross over it….click here

 

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A Little Divergence – Crime and the City – Phnom Penh

Posted: October 11th, 2018 | No Comments »

A slight divergence from China, but regular readers may be interested in my latest Crime and the City column for The Literary Hub and Crime Reads – this fortnight on Phnom Penh…click here…

 

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A History of Hong Kong in 50 Maps – Wattis Art Gallery – Hong Kong – 16/10/18-16/11/18

Posted: October 10th, 2018 | No Comments »

A History of Hong Kong in 50 Maps

A selection of unusual maps, charts and plans 1775 – 1979

 The exhibition continues until 16th November 2018
John William Norrie – A New Chart of the Coast of China from Pedra Branca to St. John’s Island 1840
Wattis Fine Art Gallery
20 Hollywood Road, 2/F, Central, Hong Kong
Tel. +852 2524 5302 E-mail. info@wattis.com.hk

www.wattis.com.hk
Gallery open: Monday – Saturday 11am – 6pm

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