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.

Second: we're a writer's colony. Anyone with a compelling story to tell can become an "ant" and in time commission stories too as a co-editor. Think of it as an open blog. If you want to join the colony, email us a brief bio and your first submission or a pitch.

And finally: this is not a ten-posts-a-day RSS-clusterfuck kind of blog. There will be one or two new posts a week, just enough to scratch your narrative itch.

In short, we're an open space for like-minded readers and writers who share a love for story. We post narrative non-fiction sketches, short fiction, poetry, photography and translation, and we also crosspost from other sites.

And who am I? Why, I'm Alec Ash, a writer and journalist in Beijing. I'm a contributing author to the book of reportage Chinese CharactersI used to write a blog from PKU and Tsinghua called Six (now archived), and now I'm working on a book for Picador.

So click on, dear reader, and try the pudding for its proof. You could begin with three vignettes from my hutong in Beijing, a short story from Shanghai by Katrina Hamlin, or some curious revelations from a Taoist priest on the DPRK border. Popular posts are also listed in the top left corner.

If you don't want to miss new posts, follow the Anthill on twitter, facebook or RSS. Or all three if you are an internet masochist.

Finally, big thanks to my brother Tom Ash (creator of Effective Altruism Hub) for building the site, and credit to Tom Gatten for the name.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy!