Posts by Anthill

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Donate to the Anthill this xmas!

Give a little something to keep the colony ticking

 

We've had the 'donate' button up top-right for a while, but never drawn attention to it before. The Anthill, founded four years ago, has always been a labour of love, bringing you nonfiction sketches, fiction, poetry and photography from and of China. I've had less time to give to it of late, busy with my own writing, and we shed a tear to see our fiction editor, Tom Pellman, leave China last week after over 11 years. We're still putting up new stories, but this holiday season are asking for your help.

If you want to see more original writing on here, or just want to say thanks for what we've published to date, please give however much you feel like. This isn't a last-call, it's just a chance for you to give something back if you're feeling generous. All donations will go into a pot which we'll put aside for the site. Ideally we'd love to pay for contributions, and are looking into collaborations that might help that happen. If we get a good response from this, we'll find a way to keep the hill alive next year when the posts in the schedule run out. If not, we'll bow out after a good, long and very enjoyable run.

Festive wishes to all – Alec

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Introducing Spittoon

Ed: A quick post to introduce a new magazine and writers collective in Beijing, before we get back to it at the Anthill. Spittoon just celebrated the launch of their first issue, and their poetry and fiction nights are always a treat. Founded by Matthew Bryne, who edits the mag with Simon Shieh, Kelly McNerney and Chris Warren, we're looking forward to future issues and encourage you all to follow them and submit (details below). In the meantime, they've shared a flash fiction piece and a poem in translation from the first issue with us, below.

 

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Flash fiction by Ben Zarov

 

In the morning writing was easy for her. Words came naturally, crisper, and her sentences vibrated at a higher frequency than her evening writing, which was burdened by the weight of the day’s events (she had ceased to even try anymore). She had a routine that she had stuck to for eight years: begin with a letter to someone, anyone. She wrote to television characters, movie stars, deceased authors, old flames, loathed bosses and very rarely, to herself. She had written four complete novels and over two dozen short stories. She had sent none of them into the world and none of them were published. No one close to her knew she wrote. Sometimes, during the day, she herself was unsure. Her first book was a historical romance set in northern Mexico in the early nineteen twenties. She had written two endings for it, one tragic and the other fairy tale and she was unsure which of the two was right.

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A post-it note from the colony

 

Ed: Dear readers, a quick note before any more dust gathers on the Anthill. You might have noticed posting has been thin in the last months, and I'm sorry for that – I've been busy, and travelling in the UK and Asia since October. I'm now in Hong Kong, and if any readers are here please join me tonight for a book talk at the HK literary festival. I'm back in Beijing next week, and we'll be drip-feeding some terrific new stories on the site from then, including tales from freezing Dongbei and a torch festival in Sichuan.

Four years ago today (happy guanggunjie!) I published our first post from back in China, a dispatch from Tibet. Since then we've grown to a colony of over a hundred writers, and published over 330 stories as well as an anthology book. Now the Anthill is going through some changes, though we'll keep you in suspense until after the Chinese new year. Until then, keep following us and keep submitting stories: we'll still be posting, aiming for one new story a week, giving a home for new China writing.

Keep positive folks, and live the values you believe in. Nothing can trump an act of kindness. - Alec

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Whisky and Writers

A boozy storytelling night in Beijing

 

The Anthill's regular event in the 10th Beijing Bookworm literary festival was an evening of drinking and storytelling called 'Whisky and Writers', where five writers read five stories, paired with five whiskies. This is the third such annual gathering, after Writers and Rum in 2014 and Scotch and Stories in 2015 (click through to listen to the audio from both). I read from my chapter in our anthology book While We're Here, and the other readers were all writers in town for the festival, with stories including Hong Kong cartoonist Larry Feign on learning Chinese, and Mexican novelist Valeria Luiselli on, erm, morning glory. It was a sold-out and drunken night – each story less articulate than the last as we got through our drinks – and now we're pleased to share the video of it for those who weren't there.

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Giveaway: A Yi's new novel (Bookworm lit fest special)

 

Those of you in Beijing will know we're in the middle of the Bookworm literary festival – two weeks of wordsmithery and ink hijinks. Look out for the Whisky and Writers event on Saturday 26th March at 8pm, which will pick up the bottle after the Anthill's Scotch and Stories boozefest last year, and where I'll be one of the writers reading a story. There have also been some great events showcasing Chinese writers, which is always what makes the festival special, from speed bookclubbing by the folk at Paper Republic to a panel with A Yi, who I've long thought is one of the most exciting authors in China today.

If you're not in Beijing, you can still feel a part of that conversation. A Yi's publisher One World is giving away five copies of his new novel in English, A Perfect Crime, to five Anthill readers based in the USA. All you need to do is write to colonyemails[at]gmail.com with your name and US postal address, and in the body of the email tell us what is your favourite book about China and why. The first five who get in touch will be sent a copy of A Yi's novel.

If you're curious to know more about A Yi read my Q&A with him in the LARB China blog. Also check out our top ten list of contemporary Chinese fiction for more inspiration for novels in translation.

That's all for now – regular posting will begin this time next week – and a big thanks to One World for this generous giveway. Now get reading, and hope to see some of you at Whisky and Writers! - Alec

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