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Xue Xinran

Xue Xinran - foto Jane Bown
Xue Xinran - foto Jane Bown

(Beijing, 1958) was one of the most successful journalists in China before leaving for London in 1997 where she wrote her first book. The Good Women of China (2003) is a bestseller, which has been translated in over thirty languages. The stories in this book are based on thousands of interviews which she wrote from 1989-1997 as a radio journalist. Since 2003 Xinran has also written columns for the Guardian. A number of these were collected and appeared in 2006 entitled What the Chinese Don't Eat. In it she deals with a great number of intercultural themes, from the experiences of British mothers with Chinese foster children to the question whether the Chinese are allowed to do Christmas shopping. Xinran's first novel, Miss Chopsticks (2007), is about Chinese country girls going to town to earn a living. Xinran advises the British media regularly on their relationships with China and is a welcome guest in British talk shows.


Archive available for: Xue Xinran

  • Winternachten 2010

    Winternachten Lecture

    With: Alexander Rinnooy Kan, Antjie Krog, Fouad Laroui, Mehmet Polat, Tarun Tejpal, Xue Xinran

    The question seemed as simple as far-reaching: if you were to rewrite the rules of the UniversalDeclaration of Human Rights, from a South African perspective, would the result resemble the original? Or would something completely different emerge?

    The South African writer Antjie Krog took up the gauntlet and presents the result at the annual Winternachten Lecture. In her lecture it is clear from the outset that in the new text the original rules of the declaration are not quite recognizable. Indeed, no rules have been included at all. Why? Because, according to Krog, the Third World never comes up with rules. Rules are something for the First World. The Third World comes forward with suggestions. Or it burns. Because the First World always listens to fire.

    For Krog suggestions suffice. Her declaration has two titles: The Universal Declaration of Interconnectedness and Universal Suggestions for Tolerance. Her lecture ends in two fundamental questions on tolerance and intolerance. The Indian writer Tarun Tejpal and the Chinese writer Xue Xinran try to answer from the perspective of their countries of origin. Both Tejpal and Xinran not only write fiction, but as journalists they contribute to the public debate in their country.

    Writer Fouad Laroui hosts the evening. The audience will be given the opportunity to react to both Krog and Xinran and Tejpal.
    The lecture is in English. The Dutch translation is projected simultaneously. Visitors of the lecture will receive the full text in Dutch and English.

  • Winternachten 2010 – Winternachten 1

    In search of the Golden Rule III

    What if you have to work in a country that puts you under all kinds of legal restrictions? Shahriar Mandanipour, expelled from Iran, wrote about the censorship that he had to deal with as a writer. Xue Xinran worked as a radio journalist in China from 1980, until she moved to London in 1997. She wrote books in which she gives a voice to the memories of Mao's contemporaries; people who still find it hard to tell openly about his matter. What to do as a writer if you have to work under circumstances that make it difficult or even impossible to write what you want? Is there a Golden Rule that guides you through this, a principle? Host: Markha Valenta. In English.