Each year at the Bookworm Literary Festival guest authors and speakers hold workshops, sharing their expertise and helping our attendees expand their knowledge and skills. This year’s workshops are listed below. All Workshops take place in MESH in the Opposite House hotel. Space is limited, so please buy your tickets in advance. 

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Saturday, March 17, 11.30 am – 1.30 pm | 50 RMB | OH17-11 - Ticket 

Translation is an art; one that anyone passionate about literature, language, or both should have the chance to experience. The act of translating a poem is an exercise in close reading, an exploration of poetic craft, and a deconstruction of a poem’s mechanisms – in short, it is a crash course in writing poetry. Stephen and Dave, both seasoned translators, will take participants through the second step of a two-step translation process, which involves polishing a “literal” or “rough” English translation of a Chinese poem. Participants will not only have the privilege of working with preeminent contemporary Chinese poems—such as those by Zang Di— they will also have the opportunity to compare their own translations with those of Stephen Nashef and Dave Haysom. While this workshop is intended for English-speakers with or without Chinese-language proficiency, it is recommended that participants bring a Chinese-English dictionary with them to the workshop.

Organized in cooperation with Spittoon Literary Magazine

TRAVEL WRITING WORKSHOP: Marco Polo’s Noodles – Recipes for Good Travel Writing

Thomas Bird
Saturday, March 17, 2 pm – 4 pm | 250 RMB | OH17-2 - Ticket 

Have you ever asked yourself what constitutes good travel writing? In an attempt to answer this, and other pertinent questions, seasoned travel writer Thomas Bird will lead a workshop focusing specifically on travel feature writing. From discussing, reading and writing about travel, attendees will unearth the ingredients essential to crafting fine travel features of their own, stories that editors buy and readers read.  All are welcome.


Saturday, March 24, 11 am – 1 pm | 250 RMB | OH24-11 - Ticket 

There were foreigners in Peking a hundred years ago. But who were they, what were they doing, how did they live, what attracted them, how did they get on with the local people? Of course, things were so totally different then, but also they were sometimes rather familiar to us today. Author of Midnight in Peking, City of Devils and many other books on China’s past Paul French reveals how we can use film, newspapers, photography, old letters, books and memories to travel back to a very different China.


Saturday, March 24, 13:15 – 15:15 | 250 RMB | OP - Ticket 

All stories, we hear, have a beginning, middle and end.  We writers can come up with great beginnings and sometimes even know how we want a story to end.  But the REAL challenge of completing any piece of creative work is sorting through that “muddle in the middle” so that the beginning & end actually accomplish what you set out to write.  In this generative workshop, Xu will lead you through some writing exercises to think through what that “muddle in the middle” needs to encompass.  Come with an open mind, prepared to write (and read a little).   If you like, send in advance some of the beginning and ending sentences or paragraphs you’ve thought about (no more than 150 words).  We’ll use these (anonymously) for the writing exercises.  Email with your beginnings & endings but no later than Saturday March 17.