Asia Society Center on U.S.-China Relations and The Wire China Launch China Books Review Online
NEW YORK; October 5, 2023 — Asia Society’s Center on U.S.-China Relations and The Wire China today launched the China Books Review, an online publication offering incisive and inviting writing about all things China books-related.
“We’re going to be publishing great reviews, smart essays, profiles of interesting characters, excerpts from the newest titles, and book lists of China books old and new. There’ll be something for everyone,” said the Review’s editor, Alec Ash, a former editor of the Los Angeles Review of Books China Channel and author of two books on China, Wish Lanterns: Young Lives in New China and the forthcoming The Mountains Are High.
The China Books Review is for anyone who follows or is curious about China, and seeks to better understand this complex nation at a critical juncture in its history. The site will publish new content, free to access, on a rolling basis every Tuesday and Thursday.
A launch event will be held at Asia Society on Thursday, October 12 from 6:30-8:00 p.m. featuring a discussion with three generations of writers, followed by a reception. Speakers include author Jianying Zha, Pulitzer Prize winner Ian Johnson, New Yorker staff writer Jiayang Fan, Yale Law School Fellow Yangyang Chen, and Amb. Winston Lord, the U.S. ambassador to China from 1985 to 1989. Learn more about the event and register here.
The idea of the China Books Review originated with Orville Schell, Arthur Ross Director of the Center on U.S.-China Relations, who teamed up with David Barboza, co-founder of the online business magazine The Wire China, and a former Pulitzer Prize-winning Shanghai bureau chief and business correspondent for The New York Times. Together, they are the China Books Review’s co-publishers, committed to providing a rich new space for China books and ideas.
“As a writer of books, I’ve long had the feeling that there are so many wonderful books on China, but they sort of vanish into the ozone,” Schell said. “There ought to be a single place where they can all be considered.”
Barboza said the China Books Review aims to appeal to a smart, curious general audience that that appreciates “great writing on a lot of books that happen to be about China.”
The inaugural edition features a cover essay by Perry Link arguing against comparing Xi Jinping’s China to Mao Zedong’s. It also includes an excerpt from novelist Xiaolu Guo’s new memoir Radical: A Life of My Own about culture shock in New York, a review by Chinese women’s rights activist Zheng Churan of a Chinese book published in Taiwan about female factory workers, and a round-up of new China books worth reading. And Orville Schell kicks off the “My China Bookshelf,” monthly feature, in which a different China specialist each month shares five favorite titles about China from their bookshelves.
As an audio companion to the China Books Review, the China Books podcast will be hosted by Mary Kay Magistad, deputy director of Asia Society’s Center on U.S.-China Relations and a former award-winning China correspondent for NPR and PRX’s The World. The China Books podcast launches October 10, with an episode featuring Zha Jianying and Perry Link in a conversation on how Chinese fiction reflected and contributed to rapid social and political change during the decades of economic reform. New episodes will be released on the first Tuesday of each month on most podcast apps, and on the China Books Review website.