Bookworm Lit Fest Hits Suzhou

Suzhou’s newest hot spot is undeniably The Bookworm. Part café, part library, part restaurant, part bar and part bookshop; it’s not hard to see why the place has quickly become a refuge for many a Suzhou expat.

On top of its boatload of English-language books, the cozy two-storey canal-side venue now has the distinction of bringing to Suzhou some wonderful international literary talent.

Running from March 2nd to March 19th, the Suzhou Bookworm International Literary Festival is showcasing an impressive list of authors giving readings, and talking about their various works.

Bookworm Literary Festival 2008Some of the author’s making the trip to our little garden town are Qiu Xiaolong, Patrick Gale, Hari Kunzru, John Man, Zhu Wen, Justin Hill, Nicholas Jose, Christopher Kremmer, Liz Niven, Ouyang Yu, Rob Gifford and Paul French.

And, get this, tickets are only 30 RMB – less than the price of a frigin’ pint of Carlsberg at most joints in town. What’s more, that 30 RMB gets you a glass of wine (or a soft drink, wuss).

Check out the Festival Schedule for who’s appearing when – and definitely don’t miss this excellent opportunity to take a break from the China-cized world we live in and remind yourself that not all culture happened 2,500 years ago.

And, for anyone that’s not sure where The Bookworm is, it’s right around the corner from The Shamrock on Shi Quan Jie. Walk west past the Shamrock and when you hit the corner (the C-Store shop), cross Shi Quan Jie and walk 20 feet. Can’t miss it. Well, some probably can – so check out this tiny map.

8 Responses

  1. I’m jealous. For all the efforts Shenzhen is making to find some culture, literature is not on the list. Instead they put up some really ugly sculptures on a few street corners. Good thing I stocked up on books during my trip home.

  2. Yeah, I’m jealous too. I think Suzhou has got Nanjing beat on the Jiangsu ‘cultured’ front.
    Although, I first read about the place in a ‘That’s Shanghai ‘article in which the author expressed surprise that Shanghai had no such place to be found.
    I think it’s great that whoever is behind this company is not just following the typical, Shanghai/Beijing/Guangzhou route. Spread the love!

  3. Thanks for the map to the Bookworm. We are traveling to Suzhou in May to pick up our daughter, and we will try to check it out. We need children’s picture books written in Pinyin.

    How’s the weather there in May?

  4. Sounds like Suzhou and Chengdu are trying to become clones of one another. You guys have a Bookworm and a bar called “The Shamrock”–both of which also appear to be in close proximity to one another. Weird. Do you also have filthy rivers and air that’s mostly composed of solids?

    Anyway, is Rob Gifford coming to the Suzhou Bookworm? I remember hearing his NPR reports on China a ways back (and seeing his interview with Jon Stewart on The Daily Show) and I’m pretty excited to hear what he has to say.

  5. @China-Matt: We’ve plenty of bizarre statues around town too!

    @Jason: I agree – though they’re in Beijing, the only two I’ve “heard about” are the Chengdu and Suzhou locales.

    @Andy: NP. The weather in May is pretty good. Pretty warm, but nothing like the heat that is to come a month or two after.

    @KMM: Yup, Gifford is coming next Friday. Will definitely need to check that out. Also am hoping to hear Qiu Xiaolong speak (“One of the top five political novels of all time” – WSJ)

  6. Add me to the jealous list. The Bookworm is exactly what Xiamen needs (if there is such an establishment, I’m unaware).

    I miss a good read so much. Perhaps I’ll take the university up on their all expenses long weekend in Suzhou offer after all.

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