Two years of Anthill

A round up of this year's antics, and two new editors join


It's been two years since the Anthill crashed the China blog party like a colony of narrative story-telling fire ants at a picnic. Last year we threw a party. This year we're going to get together a group dinner for ants and friends of the hill in a couple of weeks (email me if you want in).

It's been a great year. We've now run 236 posts, and are up to over 11,000 monthly unique readers – which is small but respectable for a blog. We've also had over sixty writers join the colony, and been linked to in Sinica, Sinocism, The Browser, and my mum's emails to her friends.


The top five most popular narrative posts this year have been:

Flower Town   The rise and fall of a Sichuan village – by Sascha Matuszak

It was 1989   The Tank Man in Beijing’s Military History Museum – by David Moser

The Red Guard and the Landlady   From cultural revolution to rent collection – by Alec Ash

Beijing in your Pocket   A photo essay of Beijing – by Christopher Cherry

Dude, where are my socks?   The anatomy of a door-to-door Taobao delivery – by Alec Ash

We've also run three listicles, God help us, which were lots of fun:

BOOKS:   20 China books to read (and 5 to avoid)

BLOGS:   China blogs Hall of Fame

BAD:   Bad China Articles: Hall of Infamy


Even better days are still to come! This year look out for – Laszlo Montgomery of China History Podcast on his other life as a "foreign expert"; Mia S Li on an unusual gift for her father; Kaiser Kuo on something if I can pin him down; plus tales of strangers in Xinjiang, DnB in Harbin, fu'erdai in Shanghai, and more.

But most excitingly of all, this one man show is becoming more of a collective with two new editorial roles:


Fiction editor: Tom Pellman   – Tom has long been a commissioning editor, not to mention writing some fantastic posts himself. Now he's taking the reins of short fiction in the hill, as the point guy for fiction submissions

Poetry editor: Anthony Tao   – Anthony is editor of Beijing Cream, and put on poetry night at the Bookworm, so it's a natural fit for him to take over poetry at the Anthill too, reading submissions and sourcing new ones too


We're also delighted to welcome Hannah Lincoln as a "story scout", finding writers with great China stories to tell. She's active in the rebooted Storytelling night at the Bookworm, which is a narrative night every last Sunday of the month. For more info and to join their next event on October 26th, email Hannah.

Finally ... submit a story yourself! The focus is still on narrative nonfiction, which I'm the editor for – anything with a sense of story and a China angle is game. We might be posting less in the next few months, it's a busy period, but we'll try to hit at least one new narrative post a week. And we're already talking about printing an anthology book of stories sometime next year, so watch this space, and get writing if you want to be in it.

Check out our submission guidelines for more, and our email is colonyemails[at]

I guess that wraps it up. A big thanks to everyone reading us, and do follow our Twitter and Facebook, plus sign up to our weekly email digest to get all new posts in your inbox every weekend. Ants of the world, unite!