Meet the Author: Xinran on the remarkable truth of China’s one-child generations

The bestselling author of ‘The Good Women of China’ will be in Leeds to discuss her latest book. The moving stories in ‘Buy Me the Sky’ bring to life the one-child generation who will shape the world’s future over the next decades.

View pictures from the event on Flickr.

In 1979 China began a radical social experiment: the (in)famous one-child policy. Enforced by a rigorous system of sanctions and fines, it has led to a surplus of 30  million young Chinese men, a catastrophic ageing of the population – and approximately 400 million fewer Chinese people.

But these headline figures conceal millions of diverse, fascinating and often painful personal stories. Frequently spoilt, often lonely, the ‘little emperors’ have difficulty learning concern for others, and modern China is periodically rocked by horror stories – such as the affluent young man who stabbed his mother eight times for refusing to give him more money.

As the first generations of only children grow up and become parents in their turn, Xinran, best-selling author of The Good Women of China, set out to tell their stories that even she, born and raised in China, found hard to fathom. From the businessman’s son unable to pack his own suitcase, to the tragic story of a young woman whose rural parents, desperate for a grandson, forced her big brother to drown two nieces – these stories show the emerging face of China.

These and many other stories in the book are set against a backdrop of unprecedented change – the transition from communism to state capitalism, from agricultural to industrial economies, from poverty to rampant materialism. In telling these moving stories Xinran opens our eyes to a new generation of Chinese people, who will shape the world’s future over the next decades.

An absorbing, often startling [and] always persuasive exploration of contemporary China

– The Spectator

Fast-paced and punchy … accomplished

– The Independent

Event agenda:

5:30pm – Registration and refreshments

6:00pm – Talk and Q&A

7:00pm – Book signing and networking

7:30pm – Event closes

About the author:

Xinran was born in Beijing in 1958 and was a successful journalist and radio presenter in China. In 1997 she moved to London where she began work on her seminal, bestselling book about Chinese women’s lives, The Good Women of China. Since then she has written a regular column for the Guardian, appeared frequently on radio and TV and has published the acclaimed Sky Burial, the novel Miss Chopsticks, the groundbreaking book of oral history China Witness, a collection of her Guardian columns called What the Chinese Don’t Eat and Message from an Unknown Chinese Mother, (about mothers and their lost daughters). She lives in London but travels regularly to China.

Her charity, The Mothers’ Bridge of Love, was founded to help disadvantaged Chinese children and to build a bridge of understanding between the West and China.

Register now and tell us you are coming! We would also love to hear your thoughts on Facebook and Twitter. What is your own experience of the ‘Buy Me the Sky’? What questions would you like to ask Xinran? Get in touch!

About Meet the Authors

We regularly invite authors whose books have a China connection to come and speak at the University for our Meet the Authors series. A diverse range of authors have appeared to discuss both fiction and non-fiction books covering business, culture, history and more.