The Bookworm’s literary lovefest

This week I had fun at the Beijing Bookworm Literary Festival meeting authors from far and wide. I talked about YA literature on a panel with the prolific and funny Australian writer Nick Earls and Chinese writer Ye Gang and we all mulled the question of whether Young Adult literature had any responsibility to educate (No, said I… at least, not educate with a capital E, no more than any other novel Educates you. Not really, said Nick. A little bit, said Ye Gang.) And I hosted a panel on international crime fiction with the very charming duo, Zac O’Yeah from Finland/Sweden/India and BEF (Bernardo Fernandez) from Mexico. I was so pleased to be introduced to their writing.  Zac’s Mr Majestic – a comic romp through India’s underworld – is going to be turned into a Bollywood movie, a destiny that I fear does not await my novel Carnaby. BEF is hugely talented – an artist who produces beautiful graphic novels, he also writes science fiction and crime. His new series features a glamorous female drug lord and a hard-bitten female police officer. When I met him, he had spent all afternoon combing China’s shops for calligraphy pens for his graphic illustrations. Beijing isn’t always a welcoming city for ‘foreigners’, or indeed for writers, but I love this annual gathering of writers of all shapes and sizes and cultural backgrounds in the cosy Bookworm setting, and in cafes and bars roundabout.