Miniature reincarnation of Shanghai’s beloved book festival carries on its literary legacy

Source:Global Times Published: 2016-3-10 17:38:01

Shanghai International Literary Festival was first launched in 2003 and became China's largest English-language literary event. Each year, authors, journalists, artists and poets from around the world arrived on the Bund to lecture on topics ranging from architecture, art and film to travel, economics and food.

Following 2015's unexpected shuttering of The Glamour Bar, where the lit fest had been hosted in recent years, local book lovers feared it was the end of an era. But with the recent announcement that a 2016 festival (Mini March LitFest) will indeed be held at the newly reincarnated Glam lounge, Shanghai can rest easy that it remains China's most well-read city.

From March 19 until the 26, Glam will be hosting a slew of small but nonetheless awesome author events, luncheon lectures and writers workshops. This year's highlights include:

Eimear McBride's debut novel, A Girl Is a Half-Formed Thing, follows the stream of consciousness of a young woman's complex relationship with her family. The novel has received critical acclaim and won numerous awards including the Goldsmiths Prize and the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction.

Francesco Sisci, who recently interviewed the Pope, on the Vatican's foreign policy, its attitude toward China and its bigger role in international politics.

Anna Smaill, New Zealand poet and classically trained violinist, made her debut in fiction with her novel, The Chimes, in which the protagonists live in a dystopian London where words and memories are wiped away by an enormous musical instrument, the Carillon.

Qiu Xiaolong, author of the award-winning Inspector Chen Series - most notably Death of a Red Heroine and A Loyal Character Dancer - chronicles the adventures of the poetry-loving cop and his sidekick Detective Yu, while ultimately capturing a glimpse of life in modern China.

Tom Rob Smith, author of Child 44 - longlisted for the Man Booker Prize and named one of NPR's top 100 Thrillers of All Time - along with his latest novel, The Farm, is also creator of the BBC drama series, London Spy.

Tess Johnston, a living legend in Shanghai, has published 25 books with her coauthor, Shanghai photographer Deke Erh, including 15 volumes on Western architecture and the expatriate experience in old China. She will be presenting her fifth and final "Shanghai Walks" book to the world. 

David Hill is a New Zealand writer known for his young fiction books such as See Ya, Simon and Right Where it Hurts, which have been shortlisted for numerous awards. In 2013 he won the Junior Fiction Award at the New Zealand Post Children's Book Awards for My Brother's War.

LitFest veterans will also be excited to see the return of Amelia Chappelow's hit blogging workshop.

Francesco Cosentino, a cultural-anthropologist, sinologist as well as veteran China resident, illustrates some of the most interesting buildings belonging to the roaring 1920s and 30s, in his latest book, Shanghai: From Modernism to Modernity.

Shanghai International Literary Festival 2016

Tickets: 75 yuan

Children/student tickets: 35 yuan

Literary lunches: 120 yuan

A full program is available at

Global Times

Amelia Chappelow


Anna Smaill


David Hill


Eimear McBride


Francesco Cosentino


Francesco Sisci


Qiu Xiaolong


Tess Johnston


Tom Rob Smith

Photos: Courtesy of the organizer

Newspaper headline: LitFest 2016

Posted in: Metro Shanghai

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