23 Sep 2015
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Shanghai writer Xiao Bai has become the second Rewi Alley Fellow at the Michael King Writers Centre in Devonport.
The fellowship is part of a writers’ exchange with China and is organised in partnership with the NZ China Friendship Association. Xiao Bai will spend two months in New Zealand working on his own writing projects, meeting the local literary community and getting a taste of life here.
Xiao Bai has written two novels, two anthologies of essays, Erotic Hamlet and Acting vs Peeping, and a novella. His most recent novel French Concession, set in 1930s Shanghai, has just been published in English by HarperCollins.
He also writes film scripts and has worked as a picture editor with the Shanghai Translation Publishing House, including on the latest Chinese edition of American author and literary theorist Susan Sontag's On Photography.
The Rewi Alley Fellowship is sponsored by the Deng Fund and is part of a reciprocal agreement with the Shanghai Writers’ Association, the New Zealand China Friendship Society and the Michael King Writers’ Centre.
The agreement allows for a writers’ exchange between Shanghai and New Zealand. Last year, New Zealand novelist Alison Wong, who currently lives in Australia, spent two months in Shanghai as part of the Shanghai International Writers’ Programme.
The Rewi Alley Fellowship provides an opportunity for a writer from Shanghai to have time to work and to experience life in New Zealand. The first Rewi Alley Fellow Huo Yan completed a novella while she held the residency, which has since been translated into English. A print publication of the novella, which is a story about life for Chinese immigrants, is being planned.
Xiao Bai says he has been busy writing at least 2,000 words a day at the writers’ centre. As well as his own writing projects, he hopes to find out about the New Zealand writing scene.
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