Recent Shows & Talks

  • Designing Technology for Music Making

    This Fall, Dr. Alex Ruthmann from NYU Music Experience Design Lab visited NYU Shanghai to give a presentation on designing technology for music making. During the presentation Prof. Ruthmann demonstrated some of his experiments with audio engagement by showing NYU Shanghai students how to build a collaborative musical instrument.



    Alex Ruthmann is Director of Music Education, and the Director of the NYU Music Experience Design Lab (MusEDLab) at NYU Steinhardt. The NYU Music Experience Design Lab co-designs and researches new technologies and experiences for music making, learning, and audience engagement.

  • Theatre and Social Justice


    On September 19, Vice Chancellor Lehman spoke with award-winning actress, journalist, singer, and theatre director, Estelle Parsons. Their conversation included topics such as how actors "find their truth," and theatre’s capacity to raise public consciousness about social justice issues such as racism and poverty.


    Estelle Parsons won an Academy Award for supporting actress for her role in Bonnie and Clyde (1968). She is currently an Associate Artistic Director of the Actors Studio [in the U.S.], where last year she founded the Theater & Social Justice program. The program has a five-part agenda exploring racism, poverty & illiteracy, religion, community, and environment, and it is where she developed The Last Days of Judas Iscariot.

  • The Taste Of Tea: Tea Ceremony As A Mode Of Bodily Cultivation



    The tea ceremony is one of the most iconic elements of Chinese traditional culture that has gradually developed into a mode of bodily cultivation. Watch Kunbing Xiao, Associate Professor of anthropology at Southwest Minzu University, Chengdu, demonstrate a tea ceremony as an integrated and embodied performance that requires mind, body, taste, vision, smell, and touch to work sequentially in order to create a symbiotic relationship between humans and tea. The ceremony was performed at NYU Shanghai as part of a presentation on tea in Chinese culture organized by the Center for Global Asia.

  • Elizabeth Chen in conversation with Leo Tong Chen

    Senior Executive in Residence Elizabeth Nien Tze Chen launched a new series of conversations for NYU Shanghai students. Each semester, she will invite a prominent member of the business community to discuss interests, opportunities, and responsibilities beyond the corporate world.


    The series opened with Leo Tong Chen, founder of HANGZHOU Asia Telecom, who talked about the importance of learning “beyond what we are required”.  He told students that having a “long-time commitment to an area you really enjoy will make you stand out” in a competitive job market.



    Throughout the discussion, Elizabeth Chen endorsed the idea that even during challenging moments, there is always a bright point to learn from. Quoting Aristotle Ms. Chen said that what distinguishes Man from animals is that we have the ability to learn.



    Leo Tong Chen founded HANGZHOU Asia Telecom in 1997, and led it to become a top solution provider of optical transmission network in Eastern China.  Leo engages with a variety of charities and NGOs including Machik, 84000, and Khyentse Foundation.


    Elizabeth Nien Tze Chen is NYU Shanghai’s first Senior Executive in Residence. She recently retired from Goldman Sachs, where she spent almost two decades engaged in private wealth management based at the firm's Hong Kong office. 

  • Gender and Sexuality in Modern China

    Three experts on gender and sexuality in modern China presented their research and campaign work at a panel discussion on November 8. Drs. Yang Shen, Minjie Chen and Ying Xin (Iron) talked about online dating, sex education for youth, and the LGBTQ issues in China.


    Ying Xin (Iron), Executive director of Beijing LGBT Center, talked about the LGBT community in China and introduced the term SOGIE to the audience - Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Expression. Ms. Xin discussed attitudes towards the three and she had an important message to the students and faculty members in the audience to “do more research!”. She talked about how the fields of SOGIE studies are shrinking. “If we don’t have research, how can we convince the government that LGBT issues are important,” she said.



    Yang Shen, PhD., London School of Economics, presented her research on dating preferences of online daters in Shanghai. She said that young “Chinese daters are caught between tradition and modernity.” Arranged dates by a matchmaker – like their parents - are still popular in China, but young people also want a more Westernized type of relationship that focuses on romanticism and companionship.



    Minjie Chen, PhD, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, talked about the differences between theory and practice of sex education for youth during the Republic of China. Ms. Chen also talked about sexual education in contemporary China, mentioning a progressive 2010 report teaching children of all ages how to identify body parts and protect themselves against predators.


  • Vera Hui-pin Hsu performs at NYU Shanghai

    Pianist and conductor Vera Hui-pin Hsu performed a piano recital at NYU Shanghai on Sunday, November 12. Meiling Chen, Clinical Assistant Professor of Arts, welcomed Vera Hui-pin Hsu in front of a packed Auditorium. Ms. Hsu's recital of preludes and fugues by classical composers Frédéric Chopin, Claude Debussy, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, J.S. Bach and Ludwig van Beethoven with contemporary Taiwanese composers Yuan-Chen Li, and Ching-Mei Lin, was exquisitely articulated.


    Vera Hui-pin Hsu also gave a public masterclass to three NYU Shanghai students: Qihang Zeng played Zhang Shuai Pruludes No.2 & 3; Yanming Zhang performed Chopin Grande Polonaise Brillante Op. 22; and Ying Wang played Beethoven Sonata Op.8 (Pathetique), 1st movement.




    Dr. Vera Hui-Pin Hsu is the winner of the 2009 International Conductors Workshop and Competition in Georgia, U.S. She studied piano with Prof. Martin Canin at Graduate Center, City University of New York where she received her Doctor of Musical Arts degree in piano performance. 


    Watch Vera Hui-pin Hsu play Ching-Mei Lin’s Dream-Rhapsody at the National Recital Hall in Taipei. A piece she also played during her recital at NYU Shanghai. 



  • The Mannahatta Project: A Natural History of New York City

    Dr. Eric Sanderson presented the Mannahatta Project, an initiative to reconstruct the ecology of Manhattan Island, the heart of New York City, a few hours before Henry Hudson, the European explorer, arrived there in 1609. Dr. Sanderson explained “the work about the historical ecology of New York is something not only of value to its past but also of great value to its future.  The island Manhattan helps us think about the future of New York City over the next 400 years.” 


    The search to rediscover the ecology of a city is not only a historical exercise; it provides critical information to plan for the future. Dr. Sanderson said, “the more the city [New York] is compatible with its nature the longer the city can last and be a good place for its citizens.”



    Dr. Eric W. Sanderson is a Senior Conservation Ecologist at the Wildlife Conservation Society and adjunct faculty member at New York and Columbia Universities.  He is the author of two books, Mannahatta:  A Natural History of New York City (2009), and Terra Nova:  The New World After Oil, Cars, and Suburbs (2013).





  • The Chinese Exclusion Act

    NYU Shanghai hosted the China Film Premiere of The Chinese Exclusion Act, a new documentary by US film directors Ric Burns and Li-Shin Yu. The premiere screening on October 26 was followed by a discussion with the filmmakers and historian Renqiu Yu.


    The film examines the economic, cultural, social, legal, racial and political dimensions of the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, a controversial piece of U.S. federal legislation that singled out one race and nationality for special treatment.


    Fareed Ben-Youssef, GPS teaching fellow and Film and Media Scholar, interviewed the directors and historian behind the feature-length documentary. The conversation delves into key moments in the documentary and explores the editorial decisions. Watch the full interview here.



    The event was reported by China Daily, The Paper and Pear Video




  • Hong Kong, Hawaii and Pacific Rim Writing

    The Literary Reading Series at NYU Shanghai: Hong Kong, Hawaii and Pacific Rim Writing


    On May 11, the final Literary Reading Series event of this academic year brought Hawaii-based poets Susan Schultz, Wawa (Lo Mei Wa) and poet-translator Henry Wei Leung ashore in Shanghai to perform and discuss pieces that celebrate not only writing from Hawaii, but that also draw points of connection throughout the Pacific.


    Below please enjoy several of their featured  poems and translation works.


    Flying Tree (originally published in Cha)

    by Lo Mei Wa and translated from the Chinese by Henry Wei Leung












    Every story has thirty-five birdcages, every tenement has forty stories, every place has five hun-

    dred tenements, and the city has many places, so altogether it has many, many birdcages. In the

    evenings, the cages are lit: one bowl of light, another bowl, a third bowl. The golden caged lights

    of the city are resplendent when seen from ashore. From time to time, flying trees stop by the

    windows to see the children within. The cages are very small; when I was little I became so big

    that I could no longer move inside. Then one day I opened the cage, opened my hands, and was

    picked up by a flying tree. Tonight, I rode back to my old cage on a flying tree, to discover that

    all the small birds here have grown into bumble-elephants. They jostle out of their cages, then

    cram into elevators.


    Three poems from Dementia Blog (originally published by The Brooklyn Rail)

    By Susan M. Schultz





    There are glorious entertainments in this miserable world, could we find them out. The ancient mask looked astonished before the man sledge-hammered it. “Authorities worry the iconoclastic group of ISIS will destroy the ancient city of Palmyra.” 1981: tiny women, shawls thrown over their bent backs, leaned to kiss icons in Novgorod's “working churches.” No one wins the zero-sum game. My second grade teacher's teacher was ninth in line when the Gestapo shot every tenth man. Shorten the sums: kill every fifth man, because every fourth will betray him. Then gin up for the sixth. Surely someone believes your grand idea, but you can't see through their half-closed eyes. The penal colony's deathly invention kept me awake at night. I'm told it's funnier in German.

    —20 May 2015




    But there are a sort of Saints meet to be your companions...but that they be concealed. My desire to unseal them makes me sleepy. The eyelid is a drive-in, my body the car into which an old cord winds. Keep windows open to receive the dented sound. I'm down to words, the ones that float like feathers after bird-storms. A small bundle of curly hair in the bathroom means my husband cut his hair. Phone call means a colleague died. After long sickness, a sudden fall. I pick up the taut curls, deposit them in the trash. I put the phone down, scratch a kitten, try to summon his voice.

    —23 May 2015




    They will exchange Souls with you. He remembers her as the girl from his village. He remembers his house by a red circle on the photograph. He remembers that she eats papaya, and he remembers her nose. India, he tells us, migrates north, as Tibet settles to the south. Kathmandu is the paper plate on the surface of a pool. Aftershocks are earth's grief. A man's head emerges from the rubble, white as stone, like my mother two hours after her death. Two metaphors do not make my mother a statue, the Himalayas a section of black foam, cut in ragged halves. The shock is that land dies, too. Mountains are bodies of evidence, stick to earth's slip. Mt. Everest just shrank an inch. “We cannot stay here, but where is there to go?”

    —26 May 2015

    Pei Pei Wept (originally published by the Asian American Writers Workshop)


    By Wawa, translated by Henry Wei Leung





    那天 我長大了


    那背影 一定是彼彼










    那背影 一定是彼彼



    我低著頭 在牠身後繞過


    彼彼 我回來見過你了






    那天 我長大了



    Pei Pei Wept


    Pei Pei the Monkey King wept


    That day, I came of age


    I saw from behind It must have been him

    He sat alone on the bluff of a slope

    Thundering to the city under the slope

    I dared not approach


    Ballpoint, Shan Shan, Bo Bo,

    Could it be they’ve never made it back up?

    Aren’t they just below, in Sham Shui Po,

    Wong Tai Sin, Festival Walk, building their homes?


    I saw from behind It must have been him

    He sat alone on the bluff of a slope

    Wailing to the city under the slope

    I lowered my head, made my way around


    Pei Pei, I have returned to see you

    I saw you with your disappeared legs

    Sitting at the stairway to heaven in a daze

    And I descended


    Pei Pei the Monkey King wept

    That day, I came of age

    And became a child

  • Crafting Tradition from the Heart

    Former NYU Shanghai Global Academic Fellow Jen Hyde returned to China this month for the city’s Literary Festival. Speaking alongside her mentor, acclaimed poet and visual artist Jen Bervin, at the Literary Reading Series at NYU Shanghai, Hyde spoke about the inspiration for her first collection of poems Hua Shi Hua (华诗画) Drawings & Poems from China (Ahsahta Press, 2017), and her upcoming project, Murmur, a 2016 finalist for the Creative Capital Grant in Literature.


    What brought you to Shanghai?

    I moved to Shanghai at the end of 2013. I wanted to teach myself how to read a language of my heritage and to understand my Chinese identity. In Mandarin, I’m called a 华人 (hua ren), an ethnically Chinese person who is not born in China. In English, I’m a person of the Chinese diaspora by way of my mother who moved to the United States from Indonesia. As a biracial American poet and book artist, I felt illiterate in a language that nevertheless belonged to me.


    At NYU Shanghai I audited a book arts class taught by Marianne Petit and I assisted with the launch of the University’s first student-run news publication, On Century Avenue. While I experimented with book forms and storytelling, I was learning about free speech in China--a concept more complex than it is or can be depicted by English language media. Those complexities shaped the way I began writing about the Shanghai landscape.


    What was the inspiration for Hua Shi Hua?

    During my time in Shanghai, I became invested in depicting the liminal life moments and interactions between me and the people I encountered in the city and how such encounters enabled me to think about my own family and cultural history. Through a process I call generative translation, I interpreted classic Chinese poetry written at the site of the Yellow Crane Tower in Wuhan city. And I used the image of the crane, whose presence is now that of a machine in the Shanghai skyline. It explores the landscape and defines my own relationship to my mother and my heritage as I move through it. It enabled me to render a range of my own selves in the landscape of my poems.


    What was the significance to you of printing the poems using traditional Chinese techniques?


    At the time, I was reading the Chinese printing scholar, Chao-kai Wen, who explained why woodblock printing became a popular publishing method for small presses in China. It remained the most attractive technology to most Chinese printers because a carver did not need to be literate. Illiterate workers could and did become carvers, and books could be printed by one person, from copying the text to the block, printing copies and finally stitching up the pages.

    The poems in this printing of Hua Shi Hua, are an artifact of my performance as publisher, printer and illiterate writer. I printed five copies of Chao-kai Wen’s manuscript using wood block plates, a laser cutter, traditional relief printing techniques and paper sourced from a paper village in Suzhou--the paper village remains an independent publisher today.


    What are you currently working on?


    I have a congenital heart defect and in 2010 received a bioprosthetic heart valve made from the pericardial tissue of a cow. My latest project, Murmur, is about the lives of the four women responsible for hand-sewing my valve. My curiosity led me to discovering that my hometown had a museum for heart valves, through which I was able to connect with the very people who sewed mine. I had no idea my valve was handmade by human beings and I just wanted to know more about them. I ended up meeting these women in person--Mary and Angie, immigrants from Vietnam, Fabi from Mexico and Rita from Iraq. For the past two years, I’ve been getting to know them as friends and learning about their life experiences, as well as more about the history of people emigrating to the US and becoming assembly workers in the tech industry.


    How has Jen Bervin’s work influenced your own?


    I’ve known Jen Bervin since I was 19 years old. She was one of my poetry teachers when I was an undergraduate student at NYU and she’s really an important person in my life, a mentor and now I can say good friend.


    She was researching her Silk Poems project -- which is currently on exhibition at MASS MoCA in Massachusetts -- in nearby Suzhou a few years ago when I was invited to come work at NYU Shanghai. The way she merges poetry with textiles and science as conceptual art has been a big inspiration to me.


    Learn more about Jen Hyde’s printed work, written work and collaborations here. Follow Jen on Instagram to see her postings as a Valve Ambassador for the American Heart Association, or check out her YouTube channel for videos on how to lead a more mindful, healthy life.

    The Literary Reading Series at NYU Shanghai is sponsored by NYU Shanghai’s Writing Program.


  • Histories of Medicine Revisited

    Eight leading historians and anthropologists presented a kaleidoscopic survey of the rise of biomedicine in the 20th century to the NYU Shanghai community during February 22-23, in the inaugural workshop of the newly-established Center For Society, Health, And Medicine.


    Participating scholars included MacArthur Fellow Professor Julie Livingston of NYU and Professor Jeremy A. Greene of Johns Hopkins University. In the two-day discussion, the group thrashed out chapters of a forthcoming book, Cultural History of Medicine, 1920-2000, The Modern and Postmodern Age, to be published in 2018.


    “The workshop tackled a broad range of topics including the history of neurology and neuroscience, food culture and health, global cancer research, the impact of pharmaceutics on society, epidemics, medical ethics, and the history of animal experimentation,” said Todd Meyers, Associate Professor of Anthropology, and director of the new research center.


    “Public health is, by definition, interdisciplinary. The new center welcomes multiple perspectives on health and healing that do not necessarily use a biomedical framework as their starting point,” he said.


    The workshop culminated in two lively panels on Friday that addressed a series of public health and medical related questions, ranging from the possible rise of a new epidemic of avian flu to ethical issues of clinical trial, submitted by a group of NYU students from Professor Meyers’s "Pestilence" course.


    “For example, how we picture disease and how human beings have tried to eradicate diseases in history, keep us reflecting on the social and political impact of global health and medicine today,” Professor Meyers said.


    Read our exclusive interview with Professor Meyers here to find out more on his research and the new center.



  • Photography Dispelling Myth

    Back in the 1940s and 50s, French photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson came to China on behalf of Life magazine to illustrate with his lens the “old” Beijing and “new” Shanghai. On November 28,  NYU Shanghai welcomed Dr. Catherine Clark, Assistant Professor of French Studies and Class of 1947 Career Development Professor at MIT. An expert in history both of France and of Photography, she talked about the historical context of Bresson’s work.  

    Beginning with French photographers in early post-war Shanghai, Clark explored the ideological underpinnings of photography and how visual representations of China to a French audience offered a narrative of France’s exceptional relationship with China.

    “Photography is about technical skill, a combination of geography and movement to capture the right moment, but also cultural interpretation - and mediation” said Clark. Looking back on Henri Cartier-Bresson’s photographs of China in 1958, she pointed out both positive and negative interpretations of the country.

    When asked about the impact of Bresson’s pictures, Clark answered that when sent circulated in the west, the photographs were received with surprise as they unveiled truth beyond the myths cultivated at the time about a mysterious China.

    Assistant Professor Heather Ruth Lee moderated the talk and concluded that the global photo story fits NYU Shanghai as it looks at nationalism and national histories through global circulations of ideas and people.



  • Cupid in Shanghai

    How did Shanghai show ‘love’ in the old days? Shanghainese writer Lynn Pan and Polish anthropologist and art historian Karolina Pawlik visually illustrated for the NYU Shanghai community how artists, graphic designers and cartoonists depicted romance and marriage in Shanghai’s 1920s and 1930s.  Pan and Pawlik explored themes of tradition and modernity on November 17 by presenting Chinese graphic adoptions of Cupid (Eros), the heart shape, and depictions of Hollywood-esque kissing styles.

    They showed the incorporation of the English word ‘love’ into Chinese texts and images, and how changing perceptions and vocabulary surrounding man-woman relationships paralleled typographical designs for  ‘love’ and ‘romantic love’ described in Chinese characters.

    The talk was moderated by Professor of Buddhist Cultures Francesca Tarocco.

  • Narrating Shanghai Lives

    The Literary Reading Series at NYU Shanghai, a project of the Writing Program, brings acclaimed writers from around the world to our Shanghai campus. This Spring, we welcome renowned China correspondent Rob Schmitz.

    Home to more than 24 million people, Shanghai is rich with human stories — many of which will go untold. Curiosity for these unreported lives led award-winning journalist Rob Schmitz to look beyond politicians, business leaders and celebrities, to document the man and woman on the street. At the NYU Shanghai Literary Series, he shared excerpts from his soon-to-published  first book, Street of Eternal Happiness, a captivating portrait of contemporary China as seen through the personal lives of a group of Shanghai residents.

    Street of Eternal Happiness was inspired by observing contemporary life along Changle Road in the Former French Concession. As Schmitz began to investigate the history of his surroundings, he was drawn to the stories and secrets hidden behind the walled houses.

    "News comes up every two minutes in China. As a journalist, because of the volume of news in this country, it seems there is too much to focus on," said Schmitz, who reports for American Public Media’s Marketplace program.

    What began as a series of informal interviews, soon became a bigger narrative nonfiction project as he delved into the everyday lives of his neighbors, befriending those he wrote about.

    “Young people everywhere were searching for happiness,” said Schmitz, reading excerpts from his story of CK—a bright young accordion player whose over-the-phone salesmanship talents (Italian accordions) allow him to realize his ‘dream’ of “running an unprofitable second floor sandwich shop, [where he can] sit in the unprofitable second floor sandwich shop, pondering the meaning of life.”

    "I wanted to show that you don't need to go very far to find amazing stories in China. All you have to do is walk and have the patience to speak to somebody,” Schmitz said.

    Schmitz trailed after the intricate lives of his new friends — going everywhere from an endless reel of pyramid scheme meetings with middle aged ‘Auntie Fu,’ to following the off-kilter life journeys of Shanghai’s hipstery wényì qīngnián, the ‘cultured youth’ working hard for the means to “watch independent films, study existentialism and visit art galleries.”

    “We're in a time — not only in this city — but in this country, that is crucial. I think it's important to understand everyday people in China and what they're going through — what change does to them and their families. I wanted to understand that, and focus on just normal people,” Schmitz said.

    Rob Schmitz is Marketplace’s China correspondent, based in Shanghai. Street of Eternal Happiness, is his first book. It will be released on May 17, 2016.

    The Spring 2016 Literary Reading Series is curated by Perry, Edochie and NYU Shanghai Director of External and Academic Events, Constance Bruce.
    Don't miss the next event with Yang Jian, one of China's greatest living poets, and renowned Chinese writer Wang Xiaoni.

  • Celebrating Hong Kong Writers

    NYU Shanghai continues to expand its interest and involvement with the literary arts, hosting readings by celebrated writers from all over--all thanks to the dedicated efforts of Writing Program Lecturer David Perry, co-curator of the Literary Reading Series.  The two day mini lit fest finale brought together translator of contemporary Chinese literature, Andrea Lingenfelter, leading Hong Kong fiction writers Hon Lai-chu and Dorothy Tse, and American poets both living in Hong Kong, James Shea and Collier Nogues. How exactly did David reign in these all-stars? Read on to find out.


    How did you plan for fascinating "literary fireworks” of the Lit Fest?


    I hadn’t thought of them as fireworks, but that’s an interesting way to think of it. There’s a poetics and poetry of fireworks, and fireworks, whether planned or impromptu, tell stories, there’s a narrative form.


    I think we’ve just tried to create a space – the Writing Program’s Literary Reading Series, which I co-curated this year with Chidelia Edochie – in which talented visiting writers and translators can simply do what they do so well. As with fireworks, I try to set it up and then get out of the way so we can all sit back, watch and listen. A simple formula: Invite fantastic writers and let them do their thing. It’s been wonderful, too, that audience members have asked so many excellent questions.



    So, how did you line up the speakers?


    Andrea Lingenfelter is a great translator of contemporary Chinese literature. Her connection with NYU Shanghai goes way back – she’s given guest workshops and done two readings with us over the past few years. Her translation of Hon Lai-chu’s hyper-surreal Hong Kong-rooted stories, The Kite Family, had just been published, and I knew I wanted them to read at NYU Shanghai.


    And I met the poets James Shea and Collier Nogues in Manila at the Asia Pacific Writers and Translators Conference. They’re both US citizens living in Hong Kong and are a part of a community of writers and translators resident and/or based in Hong Kong.


    Finally, a visiting poet and translator who appeared in the fall reading series, Sawako Nakayasu, introduced a group of our creative writing students to Dorothy Tse’s fiction. I loved her style; I find it almost hallucinogenic in its presentation of super-high-pressure Asian urban life. So, I asked Andrea and James and Collier, and it turned out everyone knew one another very well—they’re all part of a vibrant Hong Kong literary community. Hon Lai-chu and Dorothy Tse share a publisher and have co-authored a book, A Dictionary of Two Cities (雙城辭典).


    In the end, I invited too many writers to fit comfortably into one event so we expanded it to two nights… Et voilà! Writers! Lit Fest! Fireworks!


    What is the take away from the juxtapositions you orchestrated that we should all carry with us into the summer?


    Read lots of contemporary writing and look for places, communities, where there’s a lot of intensive cross-cultural (and therefore multilingual, inter-lingual) mixing and experimentation and awareness. Of course a great place to start would be by reading work by Hon Lai-chu, Dorothy Tse, Collier Nogues, James Shea and Andrea Lingenfelter. Pay attention to what’s happening with writers in Hong Kong! People everywhere have a lot to learn from such sites of intensive hybridity, cultural volatility, exchange, and decoding and recoding, and it seems to me like there’s a generous culture of literary exchange, community cultivation, mutual aid… and I’m excited to learn and read more.


    What did you hear in each of the readings that you did not expect?


    The effect of hearing both Hon Lai-chu and Dorothy Tse read some of their work in Cantonese. I loved how, in conjunction with hearing the translated English versions and seeing the projections of the printed page, in both Chinese and English, the audience was, with a few exceptions, hearing the writing in the language of composition—the unique rhythms, intonations, the sound—while hyper-aware of interpreting it all through and alongside translations into Mandarin as well as English. I found it both aesthetically and intellectually exciting. There’s the music of the Cantonese happening while all kinds of questions regarding translation, culture, and history pop to mind, and then there’s the actual narrative, the story itself, and the amazing and disturbing things the stories’ characters encounter, think, say, do. A kind of fireworks, even.



    The attendance and the questions underscore a deep interest for literature at NYU Shanghai. Did you expect that?


    We’ve been doing this as we develop NYU Shanghai’s Minor in Creative Writing curriculum, and I know from our enthusiastic and talented creative writing students how much interest there is. I’m very happy too that so many visiting writers have led guest writer workshops, not only for students enrolled in creative writing courses, but also for any and all interested students, faculty and staff.


    We’ve also worked to bring in people from outside of the University in. With the emphasis we place on translation, we’ll be working to bring in more Chinese-language writers from Shanghai and beyond, which will bring in a lot of people from throughout the city from various local communities and scenes. We’re connecting to other universities, too, both within China and globally, and I think NYU Shanghai can become a valuable part of a larger network of writers, translators, readers, and scholars active throughout the region that can support and facilitate exchange and collaboration and present writers and their work to the public.


    And of course, there’s also a healthy English-language audience out there too – just look at the success and popularity of M on the Bund’s International Literary Festivals.


    There’s a lot of interest and we’re getting better at getting the word out.


    Can we expect more in the future? What are your plans?


    In the fall and spring of 2017 we have a new series in the works. We’re working on finalizing the schedule and we’re looking forward to a great mix of fiction, poetry, and creative and narrative nonfiction from more outstanding writers and translators.


    Anything else you want to say?


    I’m grateful for the support the University has provided, and especially for the hard work of the initial literary series organizers, Lucia Pierce and Daniel Cuesta, for having done so much to make this all happen last year.