The journal of Literary Shanghai


noun (pl) -viums, -via (-vɪə)

  1. a fine-grained fertile soil consisting of mud, silt, and sand deposited by flowing water on flood plains, in river beds, and in estuaries

1660s, from Medieval Latin alluvium, neuter of alluvius “washed against”, from Latin alluere “wash  against”, from ad- “to, against” + -luere, comb. form of lavere “to wash”.

We have selected the name Alluvium because it sums up the purpose of our journal: to reflect the nature of Shanghai not as a centre, nor even as a gathering point, but as a conduit for people and cultures and ideas – what they leave behind as they pass through, how they are affected by the city, and in turn how the city is influenced by their arrival, their presence, and their departure.

Shanghai was created over many centuries by alluvium – by the silt that accumulated in the salt marshes of the Huangpu River, and later by a series of arrivals and retreats: traders, pirates, merchants, colonists, waiguoren and waidiren. The city was forged through change and shaped into a permanence by impermanent forces.

We seek to publish work that reflects this phenomenon of various forces washing against one another. What is left behind on these pages enriches the local soil, creating fertile ground for the next generation to cultivate its own nourishing fare as it passes through these same grounds.

For details on how to submit, see our Submission Guidelines.