Thursday, March 5, 2009

This Weekend at the China Literary Festivals - Weekend I

The literary festival season kicks of this weekend. Some China history-related events at the Festivals over the next few days that might be of interest.

Shanghai – M on the Bund:

Saturday March 7 - 11a.m. - Frances Wood - The Lure of China: Writers from Marco Polo to JG Ballard – Wood, the keeper of the Chinese collection at the British Library, has a new book out on foreign writers in China that she’s launching at the Festival. Frances is always interesting and her previous books are well known including Did Marco Polo go to China; No Dogs and Not Many Chinese: Treaty Port Life in China, 1843-1943; and a biography of the First Emperor of China.

Sunday March 8 - 5pm - Stella Dong - My Three Shanghais – Dong is well known for her so-so biography of the city - Shanghai: The Rise and Fall of a Decadent City 1842-1949 – which is pretty old now but never mind. Not sure if she’s got anything new to say or present about though.

Suzhou – Suzhou Bookworm

Sunday March 8 - 6pm - The China Lover, in conversation with Ian Buruma – Buruma will be talking about his new novel, The China Lover, a fictionalised account of the life of Yoshiko Yamaguchi, a singer and actress who was the toast of Japanese-occupied Manchuria in the 1930’s.

Chengdu – The Chengdu Bookworm

Monday March 9 - 7.30pm - The Shadow of the Past: how China's modern history influences its present, with Jonathon Fenby - Fenby will look at how the course of China’s history since 1850 influences the People’s Republic of China today, the subject of his new Penguin Modern History of China. He will examine the shift from poverty and instability to growing prosperity and stability, and how that has benefitted the regime in recent years. But with the recent economic downturn and social protests, is this sustainable? Will history repeat itself in dynastic difficulties?

Hong Kong – Fringe Theatre

Monday March 9 – 1pm - The Harbin Files: Secrets and Spies - Mara Moustafine tells the story of her family’s life over fifty turbulent years in China and her quest to uncover the fate of family members who fled the Japanese occupation of Manchuria in the 1930s, only to be caught in Stalin’s purges. Secrets and Spies: The Harbin Files was awarded a NSW Premier's Literary Award in 2003 and shortlisted in 2004 for the Kiriyama Prize and Australia’s National Biography Award.

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