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Writers in China

A poem by Anthony Tao

Fling a bottle any direction

and likely you’ll hit a writer

who thanks you

for the drink.

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White Socks, Short Nails

A tale of two Ayis – fiction by Magdalena Navarro

 

Auntie Han took two steps back and looked at me as if straightening a crooked painting.

"Are you wearing the new socks?"

She stepped forward to flatten my hair to the sides of my head.

"Yes." Plain white, no patterns. I had changed into them at the train station that morning.

"Hmm. Show me your hands."

I obeyed, my eyes fixed on her mouth. Two of her front teeth were missing, but that did not make her look endearing. She was getting them fixed now that she had saved a bit of money. Besides, her mother-in-law's funeral had given her an excuse to go back home for a while. I was her replacement.

“Good." She dropped my hands. "Keep your nails clean and short. That's how they like it.”

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The Young Couple

A short story by Shen Congwen – translated by Canaan Morse

 

Ed: This post is a collaboration with the folk at Paper Republic, a collective of literary translators behind Pathlight magzine. If you haven't heard of either, check them out and you won't regret it. Their more recent initiative is Read Paper Republic, where they have been publishing a Chinese short story in translation every week for a year (on Thursdays), completely free. It's a treasure trove of literary delights, and we're proud to publish the latest story by Shen Congwen (one of my personal favourite Chinese writers). It's a wonderful story, and follow Paper Republic here for more like it. AA

 

One evening at dinner, Huang, who had moved to X___ village hoping that the quiet would cure his fragile nerves, was feeling helpless in front of a dish of bloody stir-fried chicken his host had made him. Suddenly, he heard a cry from outside: “Come on, come on! Come see what they’ve caught!”

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The Book of Changes

Twenty five years in Chinese jazz – by David Moser

 

Ed: This story is from the Anthill anthology book While We're Here, published today by Earnshaw Books. Buy the book on Amazon

 

“What do you miss most about the US?” asked my friend Chen Xin, pouring me another beer.

“Nothing,” I said. It was 1993, and I was living in Beijing, yet even when drunk I was never homesick for America.

“There must be something,” she said, licking the excess foam off my glass.

“Jazz.”

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Anthill book launch: 27 Nov (Beijing Bookworm)

 

Ants, countrymen, lend me your ears – the moment you didn't realise you've been waiting for has arrived.

The Anthill has been going strong for over three years, and now we're reaching a bit of a climax, with the publication of an anthology of our best stories, While We're Here. On Friday November 27th (from 7.30pm) we're having a big bash at the Beijing Bookworm to celebrate, and we hope the Beijingers among you can join us to drink a glass of mulled wine and have a flip through the book.

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