I had the great honor of contributing a chapter to the forthcoming Chinese Characters: Profiles of Fast-Changing Lives in a Fast-Changing Land, edited by Angilee Shah and Jeffrey Wasserstrom.
For me, it’s a dream come true to be able to contribute my small part to an anthology with my favorite writers on China. In fact, my chapter, Chapter 8, appears before Peter Hessler’s chapter. Reading Hessler’s first book Rivertown during my senior year in college in 2002 in Columbia, Mo., (coincidentally his hometown) was what first inspired me to go to China, immerse myself in the culture and learn the language. Since then, I’ve also greatly enjoyed the work of his immensely talented wife, Leslie Chang (Factory Girls is a masterful book, and her article are always a great pleasure to read as well).
In addition to Hessler and Chang whose work I have so deeply admired and emulated, contributors also include: Evan Osnos, whose early work at the Chicago Tribune — most notably a piece on the effects of the cashmere trade –and later work for the New Yorker have consistently captured me; Xujun Eberlein, who tackles subjects with sophistication, grace and poetry; Michelle Dammon Loyalka, a fellow Missouri School of Journalism graduate with a fine book, Eating Bitterness, recently out; and Ian Johnson, who has consistently conquered topics that require courage bordering on temerity. There are many other talented journalist and academics who bring their expertise, insight and humor to the collection, too.
I’m so grateful to Jeffrey Wasserstrom and Angilee Shah for inviting me to participate. I encourage anyone reading this to pre-order the book on Amazon. Please share your thoughts with me, and thanks for the support!