Jan
20
2021
 

I am American, but I lived in China for eight years, in Shanghai and Kunming. Kunming is the capital of Yunnan, a mountainous province that is home to the China side of the Old Silk Road and where the people often said:     天高皇帝远 Tiān gāo, huángdì yuan Heaven is high and the emperor is far away   My time in Yunnan was memorable but brief. The lion’s share of those years in China was lived in Shanghai. Shanghai, 上海 (Above Sea; Upon the Sea): a city that is both sinking and flooding – expected to be underwater by 2050.   I write this from California where fires of a season like no other in history are still burning and lockdown orders are the strictest since spring. 1. ~Space~ Cicadas  Dew-rinsed: their pure notes carry far. Windblown: as dry, fasting leaves are blown.  Chirr after chirr, as if in unison. But each perches on…

Dec
07
2020
 

In 1961 J.P. Donleavy published a stage play called Fairytales of New York; this mutated into a 341-page novel released in September 1973 titled A Fairy Tale of New York. On 17 November 1987 Shane MacGowan and Kirsty MacColl, with Steve Lillywhite, produced a single that was to became the most celebrated Christmas song on the planet. In December 2020 a cancel culture, combatted by Nick Cave, bowdlerised its lyrics while Johnny Depp’s documentary film on MacGowan is also being screened. If you google A Fairy Tale of New York, you will find Donleavy’s comically anarchic original novel available as an ebook on the website hosted by The Lilliput Press. When MacGowan visited J.P. Donleavy…

Oct
19
2020
 

 A billion balconies facing the sun; still, it means a final goodbye to wars and ideologies…   JG Ballard, Cocaine Nights, (1996)  XI Hails a Historic Free Trade Move / APEC summit endorses route to promote economic integration in Asia-Pacific  The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit yesterday opened a route toward a vast free trade area in the region, host Xi Jinping said, calling it a historic step…   Besides accounting for more than fifty percent of the world’s gross domestic product, 21-member APEC also makes up nearly half of world trade and 40 percent of the Earth’s population. The APEC leaders also endorsed a proposal to work more closely to combat official corruption, Xi said.  Shanghai Daily, cover story, Wednesday 12…

Oct
12
2020
 

Chimney Blown Up  A 206-metre high chimney owned by Baosteel was blown up on Monday. The structure was the tallest ever to have been blown up in Asia. The chimney, which weighed 1,500 tons, took just two minutes to demolish. The structure was demolished because it was no longer needed.  Shanghai Daily, Metro section, Wednesday 5 November 2014  1. Babylon: Shanghai 2014  Years ago I walked into the Pergamon museum in Berlin. I entered a room and looked up at the Ishtar gate. The effect it had was made up of conflicting feelings and a posture, as I scanned the images on the bricks and the archway. I leaned back and kept staring. I wanted to approach it and to go through it – and to keep a distance at the…

Jul
15
2020
 

Post-China Post 2 By 鲁科 It was August in 2015. I had been in the country a year. The apartment I lived in with two flatmates had a long, curving balcony, hugging half our shared space like a visor around a face. From it we looked out at a nightscape of southwest Shanghai, at many lights and different neighbourhoods, but few landmarks. A pair of towers in Xuhui that were nicknamed the ‘Lipsticks’ could be seen from it, but little else that you could put a name to. It was almost irresistible to smoke there. Cigarettes costing nothing, we would leave packs on the loose marble shelf with lighters, and indiscriminately take from them. This…

Adrian Duncan Author Photo
Jun
29
2020
 

The University of Liverpool’s Institute of Irish Studies is delighted to announce that the winner of the inaugural £5,000 John McGahern Annual Book Prize is Adrian Duncan, for his novel, Love Notes from a German Building Site. The Prize judges – University Vice-Chancellor Dame Professor Janet Beer; Chancellor and author of Brooklyn, Colm Tóibín; Professor of Irish literature in English, Frank Shovlin; and The Irish Times fiction reviewer, Sarah Gilmartin – praised the “pitch perfect debut” for its “spare, exact prose”, and how it reveals “what it might mean to be Irish in the 21st Century”. On learning of his success, Adrian Duncan said: “I am very moved and proud to be awarded this wonderful…

Cover of Finn's Hotel
Jun
16
2020
 

This June 16th, we are celebrating Bloomsday online with a reading from Danis Rose. Danis Rose is editor of the Dublin edition of Ulysses (Lilliput, 1997). He is author of The Index Manuscript (1978), The Lost Notebook (1989), and Ulysses in Genesis. With David Hayman, he edited Volumes 28-63 of The James Joyce Archive (1977-78). He reads ‘Skywards to Stardom’, a section from Finn’s Hotel. Stacey Herbert features as Isolde. Listen here Photo Credits: David Monahan

May
22
2020
 

We now begin a series of posts, one a fortnight, from a young Irish citizen-journalist and poet recently back from China where he has lived for the past five years. He awaits his return.     I have been back in Ireland for about five weeks. I’m Irish, but I lived in China for about five years, in Shanghai and Suzhou. Suzhou is the capital of Jiangsu. Jiangsu is a province adjacent to Shanghai. Suzhou has ten million people. Shanghai has about twenty-five. No one would tell you that Jiangsu people sound like the Shanghainese, just a hundred kilometers away. They will tell you that Shanghai has its own language. But Shanghai has no province….