Posts by Anthill

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.


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] 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


While We're Here (in hibernation)


From 2012 the Anthill has published stories from China to bring this quicksilver and wonderfully various country to life. Since then we've put out 330 posts, hosted three events and been shortlisted for an award, with over a hundred writers in the colony and 11,000 monthly unique visitors. Now we also have an anthology, While We're Here, available on Kindle (print edition on Amazon in Feb), in the Beijing Bookworm and Garden Books in Shanghai, or from the publisher. (All proceeds to charity.)

We're not going anywhere, and will be bringing you more new and surprising narratives in 2016, including from a laowai rapper in Chengdu and a detention cell in Datong. But for now we're in hibernation this winter, while Tom and I focus on a couple of other things. We'll be back in March, and will try to post reasonably regularly. My own book comes out in the summer, and more on that later.

If you want to join the colony and publish your own story here, submit! We're looking for narrative non-fiction, fiction, poetry, photography and translation (crossposts welcome). For more info check out our submission guidelines, and ideally please aim to submit before Feb 29.

For the time being we're leaving you with links to ten of the best stories from this last year, in case you missed them. Happy reading, and happy 2016.


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.


Halloween flash fiction


A quick note from our friends at That's Beijing:

If you haven’t yet picked up our October magazine, let it be known: the That’s Beijing flash horror fiction competition is open and accepting entries. We’re teaming up with the Capital M Literary Festival (which takes place Oct 30 – Nov 1) to put on a special Halloween event, so we’re looking for stories of to give us the chills.

Send us your story of 1,000 words or less to be in with a chance of winning.

Whether you opt for a traditional tales of ghosts and ghouls or a tense thriller, if your tale makes the final shortlist you’ll have a chance to read it out at the Capital M Literary Festival. The judging panel (featuring That’s Beijing Editor-in-Chief, Oscar Holland; writer, journalist and founder of the Anthill, Alec Ash; and more TBC) will then select and announce a winner at the event.

To enter, send your story to by Monday October 26. Make it a scary one.

The winning story will be published on the hill for Halloween, so get writing! Deadlines are, of course, the most terrifying horror of them all ...