Who We Are

Literary Shanghai is a community of Chinese & international writers, translators, and readers who gather monthly for literary talks, readings, workshops, and outings. The group aims for a local and regional focus, and seeks to bring writers and readers from various backgrounds and languages together into a more active community that accurately represents the arts in our region.

What We Do

Literary Shanghai organises literary and cultural events on a regular basis in Shanghai. Future events include weekends dedicated to specific publishers, agents, regions, or themes that will allow readers and writers to have a better idea of what is going on in the publishing and literary worlds in Shanghai and neighbouring cities. We also host regular readings, salons, and workshops.

We seek to cooperate with other literary and cultural event organisers in the region to help our writers and members get the best exposure to the varied arts scene in the region. If you’re interested in working with Literary Shanghai, email us at literaryshanghai@gmail.com

Our events are hosted in Chinese and English, and take place around the city.

Literary Shanghai founders:

Shelly Bryant divides her year between Shanghai and Singapore, working as a poet, writer, and translator. She is the author of eight volumes of poetry (Alban Lake and Math Paper Press), a pair of travel guides for the cities of Suzhou and Shanghai (Urbanatomy), and a book on classical Chinese gardens (Hong Kong University Press). She has translated work from the Chinese for Penguin Books, Epigram Publishing, the National Library Board in Singapore, Giramondo Books, and Rinchen Books. Shelly’s poetry has appeared in journals, magazines, and websites around the world, as well as in several art exhibitions. Her translation of Sheng Keyi’s Northern Girls was long-listed for the Man Asian Literary Prize in 2012, and her translation of You Jin’s In Time, Out of Place was shortlisted for the Singapore Literature Prize in 2016.  You can visit her website at shellybryant.com

Susie Gordon is a writer and editor, whose first poetry collection, Peckham Blue, was published in London by Penned in the Margins in 2006, and her second collection, Harbouring, came out in November 2015 under Math Paper Press in Singapore. Her poetry, fiction and non-fiction have also been published in anthologies such as United Verses (2014), Unsavory Elements (Earnshaw, 2013), Middle Kingdom Underground (HAL, 2011), Unshod Quills (2011), and the May Anthologies 10th Anniversary edition (2003).As a literary editor she has worked on the English translation of S. P. Tao’s memoir, as well as Fan Wen’s ‘Land of Mercy’ for Rinchen Books. Susie was based in Shanghai for eight years, and is currently working towards a Master’s degree in the U.K.

Susie was part of the Royal Court Theatre’s young writers’ programme from 2007 until 2008, and was a finalist and runner-up in British Vogue’s young writers’ competition in 2004 and 2005. She holds a BA in English (2003) and an MA (2007) from St. Anne’s College, University of Oxford.

Linda Johnson After years of practice and teaching in Law, Linda Johnson and her business partner, Li Liang, opened Madame Mao’s Dowry in 2000. As Shanghai’s first design concept store, MMD focused on providing a creative space for designers whose work reflected local culture and aesthetics. MMD’s collection of art and artifacts centred around the first phase of modern Chinese design, specifically the Mao Period, and a curated, changing group of contemporary designers were invited to show and sell their work within this aesthetic environment. MMD has continued to evolve in this frame and now has an extensive collection of Mao Period posters, photographs and propaganda works on paper and other media whilst hosting around 20 designers, including fashion, graphic design, writers and ceramicists.

Linda operates MMD as a social enterprise reinvesting all profits in her long term staff, the business itself and in facilitating the development of her designers. Linda has maintained her interest in teaching and research over the years by researching and translating the propaganda on Mao Period posters and news photographs, and presenting talks around Shanghai. In 2015 she graduated with an MA in Museum Studies (Leicester, distance learning) and has given papers in the region on museum design in Shanghai and has a forthcoming publication on Dioramas at the Shanghai Film Museum. This topic builds upon her other major research interest, Shanghai and Film. From 2011-2016 Linda acted as Convenor of the Film Club for the Royal Asiatic Society and has given talks on various aspects of the history of Film in Shanghai including a presentation at the World Congress on Art Deco in Shanghai in 2015 on the representation of Art Deco design in pre-1949 film. 

Tina Kanagaratnam is CEO of PR agency AsiaMedia, a writer, and the co-founder of the Shanghai International Literary Festival, for which she served as Director for 12 years. During her tenure, she built the Festival into one of the region’s major cultural events, curating programs for over 60 writers from 25 countries each year, working with consulates, arts organizations, and cultural bodies, and on every aspect of the Festival.

Tina is the author of the inaugural edition and several subsequent editions of the Insight Guides travel guide to Shanghai, the inaugural Luxe Guide to Shanghai, the Final Five Walks, a walking guide to historic Shanghai, several dining guides, as well as articles on travel, food, and Shanghai for the Financial Times, the Washington Post, and Hemispheres, among others. She is the co-founder of Shanghai heritage groups Historic Shanghai and Shanghai Art Deco, and the blog editor of the groups’ websites. A native of Singapore, she grew up in Washington, D.C., and holds an M.A. in International Affairs from Columbia University She has lived in China for 21 years.