Alec Ash

Alec Ash is a writer in Beijing, and founding editor of the Anthill. His book Wish Lanterns (Picador, 2016) is available at the Beijing Bookworm

Posts by Alec Ash

“My life was defined by my next hit”

Confessions of a heroin addict


"You don't know what it's like to have your brain trying to sabotage you." Michael Kelly sweeps a waterfall of black hair away from his eyes. "Part of me still just wants to shut myself in my room and get fucked up."

Michael is 20 years old, and a recovering heroin addict. And he’s right. I may have scoffed a shroom at university, but to be addicted to one of the most potent recreational drugs out there is beyond my ken. I can only listen – hooked.


A conversation with Ian McEwan

Miscellania from a novelist's mind


In the spring, your humble correspondent talked with novelist Ian McEwan for the online feature FiveBooks (where I work). Read the full interview here. It was a wideranging conversation across the sofa in McEwan’s London house. In fact, it was so eclectic – two hours of it – that there was some interesting runoff that didn’t make the cut. Here it is for readers of the Anthill.


Opening words


Welcome to the Anthill – a new home for narrative writing from or on China, as if the world needed another website about this place.

There are three compensations for this inexcusable act of creation.

First: we follow stories, not the news. We're not fussed about the latest trending item to get knocked about the echo chamber. We prefer the vignette about going on Chinese TV, or stray conversation on a train, that would otherwise go unwritten.