Why YA books Are Proper Books

The other evening, a good friend introduced me thus: ‘She used to write proper grown up books, but now she’s writing for young adults.’

‘I didn’t mean that!” she shrieked a few moments later, when she realized what she’d said. And she didn’t, because she’s one of the most voracious readers I know… more »

Carnaby’s Out

Carnaby's out. Phew. It's a nail-biting process. The first time I had a book published I nearly had a heart attack at the thought of people I knew reading it. Anonymous readers are one thing. Family and friends are quite another. Would they snigger behind their hands? Whisper? Shake heads sadly?  Of… more »

Fight Another Day

I had never felt more like a couch potato. In front of me, a young man with a broken foot and his leg in plaster did one-legged push-ups, and I mean dozens of the things, not just one or two. A young woman moved across the floor like a machine, kicking at each step, her straight leg thwacking hard a… more »

Takeaway Published on Kindle

Takeaway is a short crime story set in Beijing and featuring Detective Song Ren, the central character in my books The Pool of Unease and The Slaughter Pavilion. One hot (and no doubt smoggy) day, Song is dozing in his office when he is visited by a young woman. She claims her parents poisoned her a… more »

Donkey Snacks

Well, the donkey pictured on this stall looks pretty cheerful, but I think he's misunderstood. These aren't snacks for donkeys, they're snacks made of donkey. Donkey is a popular meat here, and it has to be said that donkey stew can be very tasty.  Spotted by my husband Ja… more »

A Murder and A Fall from Grace

 This is the biggest political scandal to hit China in twenty years. Bo Xilai,  a politician who ruled Chongqing as if it were his personal empire and who clearly had ambitions to rise to the very pinnacle of power in China, has been brought down. Not, as is so often the case in polit… more »

The Low Road

 It's that time of year again, when The Beijing Bookworm provides us with a fix of literary events that sustain us for the rest of the year. On Wednesday I went to listen to a talk by JC Burke, an Australian writer of Young Adult fiction including Pig Boy and The Story of Tom Brennan. She … more »