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July 2023: Wenyan Lu 陆文艳

Photograph of author Wenyan Lu
Originally from Shanghai, China, Wenyan Lu is the winner of the SI Leeds Literary Prize 2020. Wenyan holds a Master of Studies in Creative Writing as well as a Postgraduate Certificate in Teaching Creative Writing from the University of Cambridge. Her unpublished historical novel The Martyr's Hymn was also longlisted for SI Leeds Literary Prize 2018 and Bridport First Novel Prize 2019. She lives with her family in Cambridge, and her debut novel The Funeral Cryer was published in May 2023 by Atlantic Books.


We're delighted to feature Wenyan on the bookclub this month, with the opening chapter of The Funeral Cryer, which you can read here.

Picture of the cover of the novel The Funeral Cryer, by Wenyan LuThe Funeral Cryer long ago accepted the mundane realities of her life: avoided by fellow villagers because of the stigma attached to her job as a professional mourner and under-appreciated by The Husband, whose fecklessness has pushed the couple close to the brink of break-up. But just when things couldn’t be bleaker, The Funeral Cryer takes a leap of faith . . .

Dark, moving and wry, The Funeral Cryer is both an illuminating depiction of a ‘left behind’ society – and proof that it’s never too late to change your life.

- Atlantic Books

The novel was chosen as the Indie Book of the Month by Books Are My Bag, which celebrates books and bookshops across the UK and Ireland. It was also featured on the Scala Radio Book Club, and Wenyan was interviewed by Mark Forrest.

And you can read more about Wenyan and her work in this interview from the Portobello Book Blog.

Great-Great-Grandma was dead. 

The whole village was touched by an eerie atmosphere, almost a strange relief. It seemed everyone had been secretly waiting for this moment to come.  

She was Great-Great-Grandma to everyone in the village. I didn’t know how old she was at the time; we just knew she was alive. I felt a moment of surreptitious excitement and a shameful buzz in my chest since I would earn some money from her timely death.

- The Funeral Cryer, p1