For the first event in our Festival of New Chinese Writing from Around the World we're delighted to welcome Melissa Fu and Jennifer Wong for a special conversation at the historic Leeds Library, to talk about Melissa's novel Peach Blossom Spring, published this year by Wildfire.
Melissa Fu grew up in Northern New Mexico and now lives near Cambridge, UK, with her husband and children. With academic backgrounds in physics and English, she has worked in education as a teacher, curriculum developer, and consultant. Melissa was the regional winner of the Words and Women 2016 Prose Competition and was a 2017 Apprentice with the London-based Word Factory. In 2018/2019, Melissa was the David TK Wong Fellow at the University of East Anglia. Peach Blossom Spring is her first novel.
Born in Hong Kong and now living in the UK, Jennifer Wong is a poet and translator. Her collection, 回家 Letters Home, published by Nine Arches Press in 2020, has been named a Wild Card choice by Poetry Book Society. She is also the author of Goldfish (Chameleon Press 2013) – which won the Hong Kong Arts Development Council Young Artist Award (Literary Arts) and a pamphlet, Diary of a Miu Miu Salesgirl (Bitter Melon Poetry 2019). In 2021, Jennifer was a writer-in-residence with Wasafiri. She is currently a visiting fellow with Oxford TORCH.
With every misfortune there is a blessing and within every blessing, the seeds of misfortune, and so it goes, until the end of time.
It is 1938 in China, and the Japanese are advancing. A young mother, Meilin, is forced to flee her burning city with her four-year-old son, Renshu, and embark on an epic journey across China. For comfort, they turn to their most treasured possession - a beautifully illustrated hand scroll. Its ancient fables offer solace and wisdom as they travel through their ravaged country, seeking refuge.
Years later, Renshu has settled in America as Henry Dao. His daughter is desperate to understand her heritage, but he refuses to talk about his childhood. How can he keep his family safe in this new land when the weight of his history threatens to drag them down?
Melissa and Jenny have both been featured authors on our Book Club, in March and May, so you can find out more about them there, and read an extract from Melissa's novel, and a selection of Jenny's poems!