The Shanghai International Literary Festival is a bright spot in the middle of Shanghai’s cold, damp winters. This year’s festival kicked off last night with a very swanky cocktail party at the Glamour Bar on the Bund. (The fact that I was willing to put on makeup, heels, and stockings on a Wednesday night is an indication of the festival’s lure.) There is a fantastic lineup of writers scheduled to speak over the next two weeks, and if you’re in Shanghai, you should definitely check out the full slate here.
I will be moderating a session on Sunday morning, which will feature novelist Virginia Pye discussing the family history that inspired her new book, River of Dust. I just finished reading it the other night and highly recommend it—Pye tells a compelling story of American missionaries struggling to survive on the North China plains at the beginning of the twentieth century. She and I met and spoke briefly at last night’s party, and I’m really looking forward to hearing more about her work on Sunday morning.
Just as the Shanghai Litfest winds down, the Beijing International Literary Festival will start up on March 16. Although I’m not involved in that one, it turns out I will be in Beijing for most of the Litfest, so I’ve been checking out their program as well. March is a pretty tough month to get through for those of us who dislike winter; having the Litfests to distract us will make the next few weeks just a little bit easier.