READ PAPER REPUBLIC presents four short stories about women in China, in a “speed-bookclubbing event”


“That Damned Thing She Said” Part of the Wanderlust series, at Free Word Centre, 60 Farringdon Road, Clerkenwell, London EC1R 3GA, Telephone: 020 7324 2570
on Monday 14 March, 18.45 – 20.45; Tickets £5/£3 from

With International Women’s Day (8 March) in mind, we have selected four short stories from China, focussing on hot issues such as sexual freedom, political disappearances, “left-over” women, compromising situations. Sign up and read the stories in advance, then come along for some speed-bookclubbing. Four experienced translators will lead four groups simultaneously. Discuss one story for 20 minutes, then move on to the next. Discuss the subject matter, the style, the writing, the authors (does it make a difference that two of the stories are written and translated by women, and the other two by men?). You’ll get a chance to ask any questions you like. But most of all, this is an interactive event: we want to hear what you think, which ones you liked (or not) and what intrigued or puzzled you.

Story 1: “That Damned Thing She Said” by FU Yuli, (Tr. Nicky Harman). A woman trapped in a loveless marriage has an awkward, but ultimately empowering, one-night stand.

Story 2: “Missing” by LI Jingrui (Tr. Helen Wang). A wife comes home to find her husband has disappeared, or rather “been disappeared”.

Story 3: “Mahjong” by FENG Tang (Tr. Brendan O’Kane). The colleagues of a career woman apply their engineering expertise to the intractable problem of finding her a worthy husband.

Story 4: “The One Who Picks Flowers” by LIU Qingbang (Tr. Lee Yew Leong). A young woman refuses to sleep with the boss, with catastrophic consequences to her family.

Visit the Free Word Centre website, Events page to download the stories in advance and to buy your ticket. Join Read Paper Republic translators to discuss the stories and the depiction of women in contemporary China at Free Word Centre on 14 March 2016.

READ PAPER REPUBLIC, an ambitious project committed to publishing one free-to-view short story (or poem or essay) a week for a year, June 2015 – June 2016. Follow us on
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March Hubbub with Liane Strauss and Zoe Pilger

The next Hubbub will take place on Monday 10 March at 7:30pm in the basement of The Harrison (28 Harrison Street, Kings Cross, London, WC1h 8JF). The March Hubbub will feature special guests, Liane Strauss and Zoe Pilger.

Entrance is free but in recognition of International Women’s Day (Saturday 8 March) we will also be collecting donations for an anti-trafficking project called Voice of Freedom that supports African women who have escaped trafficking in the Sudan and Sinai as they speak about their lives through photography and text. If you’d like to make a donation online please click here. We will also be collecting cash donations on the night.

Liane StraussLiane Strauss was born in Queens, New York, and grew up in Bergen County, New Jersey. She is the author of Leaving Eden (Salt, 2010) and Frankie, Alfredo, (Donut Press, 2009). Her poems have appeared in a variety of journals in the US and the UK, including The Hudson Review, The Georgia Review, Poetry Review, The Iowa Review, Prairie Schooner, Magma and Poetry, and her work is represented in a number of anthologies, including The Art of Wiring, Drifting Down the Lane, The Poet’s Quest for God and A Poetic Primer for Love and Seduction: Naso Was My Tutor. She teaches literature and creative writing at Birkbeck College, The Poetry School and The City Literary Institute and lives in North London with her two sons.

Zoe PilgerZoe Pilger is an art critic for The Independent and winner of the 2011 Frieze International Writer’s Prize. She has appeared on BBC Four’s The Review Show, Channel 4’s Sunday Brunch, and Sky News. Zoe is currently completing a PhD on romantic love and sadomasochism in the work of contemporary female artists and writers at Goldsmiths, University of London, where she has also taught social and political theory. She graduated with a BA from Cambridge University in 2007 and an MA from Goldsmiths in 2010. The Bookseller describes Zoe’s debut novel, Eat My Heart Out, as ‘a romantic comedy without the romance; clever and biting, it is a satirical look at the narcissistic lives of twentysomethings in our post-post-feminist era.’ Zoe grew up in London, where she still lives.

Submissions are now open for this event. Please note that only students from Birkbeck’s creative writing courses, past and present, can submit work to Hubbub. If this means you are not eligible, we hope you will still join us as a member of the audience. You don’t have to be a woman to submit your writing for this event but we’d like to read work based on female characters or issues particularly affecting women. (You can interpret that as broadly as you like.)

Read the full submission guidelines on the Writers’ Hub and send your submissions to Submissions Deadline: Monday 24 February 2014