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The BookWrom

BEIJING BookWrom:Building 4, Nan Sanlitun Road, Chao Yang District, Beijing


The Bookworm’s library makes the perfect informal setting for our inspiring programme packed with readings, talks, discussions, debates, book launches and music gigs. Audiences are enlightened by well respected novelists, journalists and travel writers; enraptured by impromptu homespun musical soirées hatched round the piano; and transported to lands far away by lilting lines of live poetry. Whether your penchant is for the hottest new Chinese Writers, Asia’s most illustrious entrepreneurs, or the most risqué documentaries, you’ll be able to indulge it at The Bookworm.

Events Programme

September Events

Please note: From July 1st, unless otherwise stated, you will require tickets to come to events at The Bookworm. Tickets cost 20RMB for Bookworm members and 30RMB for non-members and are available at The Bookworm seven days in advance of each event. The ticket price includes a free glass of wine, beer or soft drink.

For more details on our new ticket policy, please click HERE.

  • Date:
    Thursday 4th September 7.30pm
    ‘Why The Chinese Don’t Count Calories’ – A booktalk by Lorraine Clissold (20/30RMB Tickets required)

    Ni chi le ma? Unlike many in the West, the Chinese see food not as a chore to prepare and a source of unwanted calories, but a health-giving pleasure. Lorraine Clissold explains why the Chinese can eat as much as they want without worrying about their weight. With examples and recipes, Lorraine’s book illustrates how the Chinese balance their diet, look after their health and stay looking great while they’re at it!

  • Date:
    Sunday 7th, 14th, 21st, 28th 11am
    Kids Club at The Bookworm

    Bring your little readers for an hour of reading fun with our Bookworm storytellers. Designed to encourage reading for pleasure, our story club is designed to help you discover great new and classic books for your kids, and to make reading outside the classroom fun!

  • Date:
    Monday 8th, 15th, 22nd, 29th 7.30pm
    The Bookworm Pub Quiz! (Free)

    Put your trivia knowledge to the test with The Bookworm’s brand new pub quiz, hosted weekly by the ever-quizzical Paul Eldon. Prizes include excellent wine from The Wine Republic, tickets to Bookworm’s hottest events, and of course boasting rights. Teams are limited to 6 people per group, and each quiz will include 6 rounds of trivia questions along all the usual tried and trusted formulas – general knowledge, music, film, geography, books (naturally), sport and news round ups. Call Paul on 6586 9607 for more details.

  • Date:
    Thursday 11th September 7.30pm
    Basically Beethoven – a musical evening at The Bookworm (Free)

    Join us for our popular monthly music night, where we invite musicians to take to the floor and bewitch us with their instrument of choice. Expect virtuoso piano, a cappella singing groups, a trumpet or two – and whatever you’d like to add! Masterfully hosted, as ever, by Paul Eldon.

  • Date:
    Thursday 18th September 7.30pm
    The Bookworm Wine Club – Hosted in association with ASC wines (150RMB per person)

    Join us for our popular monthly music night, where we invite musicians to take to the floor and bewitch us with their instrument of choice. Expect virtuoso piano, a cappella singing groups, a trumpet or two – and whatever you’d like to add! Masterfully hosted, as ever, by Paul Eldon.

  • Date:
    Tuesday 16th September 7.30pm
    Lily Briscoe’s Chinese Eyes: Bloomsbury, Modernism and China – A booktalk by Patricia Laurence (30RMB/20RMB – Tickets required)

    Tracing the cross-cultural romance of Julian Bell, nephew of Virginia Woolf, and Ling Shuhua, a writer and painter Bell met while teaching in Wuhan in 1935-37, ‘Lily Briscoe’s Chinese Eyes’ is a fascinating study of China’s relationship with the famous Bloomsbury Set of modernist writers. Patricia Laurence’s research draws on a recent discovery of unpublished letters and documents between Bell and Ling Shuhua, often described as ‘the Chinese Katherine Mansfield’. Unusual and intriguing subject matter, masterfully told…

  • Date:
    Saturday 20th September
    The Bookworm Third Anniversary Party! (Ticketed)

    Join us to celebrate three wonderful years of The Bookworm at our third year anniversary party! More details coming soon…

  • Date:
    Tuesday 23rd September 7.30pm
    The Slaughter Pavilion – A booklaunch by Catherine Sampson (Free – Tickets required)

    Beijing’s best loved English language crime writer Cathy Sampson is back with her fourth novel, The Slaughter Pavilion. Following the success of her previous three titles featuring journalist Robin Ballantyne, The Slaughter Pavilion exposes the hidden underbelly of Beijing. Not to be missed!

  • Date:
    Wednesday 24th September 7.30pm
    The Bookworm City Weekend Bookclub

    The Bookworm City Weekend Bookclub is back and meets for the first time in this new session tonight for a welcoming ‘meet and greet’, to make introductions and include new members in the discussions for what we’ll all be reading over the next year! All welcome. Please contact Lily Kuo at [email protected] for more details.

  • Date:
    Thursday 25th September 7.30pm
    The Bookworm Writer in Residency Programme – An evening with Linda Jaivin (30RMB/20RMB – Tickets required)

    This evening we are delighted to host our first event with The Bookworm’s Asialink Writer in Residence, Linda Jaivin. Sponsored by the Australia China Council and The Bookworm, Linda will be based with us until 10 November, during which time she will be hosting workshops, giving talks and soaking up Beijing culture. A Mandarin speaker, Linda first visited Beijing in 1980. She’s the author of five novels, including the international bestseller, the comic-erotic Eat Me and The Infernal Optimist, which was shortlisted for the Australian Literature Society Gold Medal. Her non-fiction includes the China memoir, The Monkey and the Dragon. Co-editor with Geremie Barmé of the acclaimed anthology New Ghosts, Old Dreams: Chinese Rebel Voices, her translation credits also include the subtitles for films including Farewell My Concubine and Hero. She is currently finishing a novel based on an episode in the life of George ‘Chinese’ Morrison, set in China and Japan in 1904 and working on an opera. On this evening, she’ll talk about her books and how nearly every one reflects, in some way, on her relationship with China.

  • Date:
    Wednesday 30th September 7.30pm
    An Evening With Guo Xiaolu (30RMB/20RMB – Tickets required)

    Rising star of the film and literary worlds, London-based director and novelist Guo Xiaolu pops in on an evening off from her most recent film shoot in Sichuan. Tonight she’ll screen a short film, read from her new novel ’20 Fragments of a Ravenous Youth’ and present some of her most recently translated poetry. Don’t miss this opportunity for a peek into Xiaolu’s world – it’s a fascinating place.

October Events

The Bookworm seven days in advance of each event. The ticket price includes a free glass of wine, beer or soft drink. The ticket price includes a free glass of wine, beer or soft drink.

For more details on our new ticket policy, please click HERE.

  • Date:
    Every Sunday 11am – 12pm
    Kids Club at The Bookworm (20RMB)

    Come along for our Sunday sessions of reading, games, music and activities for little readers. Each week we read new and classic children’s books with the help of our storytellers. Ages 4 and up.

  • Date:
    Every Monday 7.30pm
    The Bookworm Pub Quiz (Free)

    Flex your neurological muscles every Monday at The Bookworm pub quiz, an evening of terrific trivia hosted by Paul Eldon. All the usual rounds are featured, each week choosing six from general knowledge, music, history, sport, geography, world events, science and nature, and naturally, art and literature. Max teams of six. Great prizes up for grabs including wines from The Wine Republic.

  • Date:
    Wednesday 8th October 7.30pm
    Travels with The Bookworm: Mountains and Molecules
    With Arlene Blum (30RMB/20RMB – Tickets required)

    Arlene Blum led the first American ascent of the treacherous 26,504 foot -high Annapurna I, the world’s tenth highest and possibly most dangerous peak, and the first all-woman ascent of Denali, the highest mountain in North America. In this dramatic slide lecture Arlene shares the best photos and stories from her recent memoir, Breaking Trail and traces her evolution from a hilariously inept beginning climber and chemistry student to a noted expeditionary leader and environmental scientist.

  • Date:
    Thursday 9th October
    Basically Beethoven – A Musical Evening at The Bookworm (Free)

    Roll up roll up! for an evening of open mic musical delights hosted by the finely tuned Paul Eldon. Join in with your instrument of choice or simply listen and enjoy.

  • Date:
    Thursday 16th October 7.30pm
    Wine Club: 1000 miles from Top to Bottom (150RMB per person)

    Join us to sample four distinctively different wines from regions across New Zealand, to give some perspective on this wine producing country which stretches more than 1000 miles from North to South. In association with The Wine Republic.

  • Date:
    Sunday 19th October 11am
    Kids Event: Zhao Hui Xu – Bus Adventures (20RMB – Tickets required)

    All aboard! Children’s author Xu Zhao Hui is back with her second bilingual children’s book in the ‘Bus Adventures’ series. Join Dongdong, Xixi, Nannan, Beibei, and Zhongzhong on their second Big Bus Book adventure through the streets of Beijing. Hui provides a glimpse of Chinese public life, taking us on a journey that winds its way through a Chinese wedding, the misadventures of foreign tourists, Spring Festival, the performance of selfless acts, and why one should never cross paths with a mule. Diva Xu and her eclectic band of literati will bring the story to life.

  • Date:
    Friday 24th October & Saturday 25th October 10am – 5pm
    Creative Writing Workshops with Linda Jaivin
    (Reservations essential, 380RMB includes morning coffee and lunch)

    Join The Bookworm’s Writer in Residence, best-selling Australian author Linda Jaivin for a full one day creative writing course aimed at providing you with a toolbox of skills and techniques which can be adapted to suit many genres, styles and formats. Help with creating character, devising plot and writing dialogue is at hand, as well as a few ideas to kick the creative process off in the first place! Please note this is a one day course – please choose either 24th or 25th to attend.
    For more details mail [email protected]

  • Date:
    Tuesday 28th October 7.30pm
    ‘Living Symbols’ – A Booktalk by Cecilia Lindqvist (30RMB/20RMB – Tickets required)

    Many of the 50,000 Chinese characters in use today can be traced back to ancient, inscribed oracle bones and bronzes. Drawing on archeological finds of recent decades, Lindqvist, a Swedish scholar who studied Chinese writing in Beijing, tells the fascinating stories behind the meaning and evolution of scores of Chinese characters. The origins of Chinese ideographs were not known until 1899, when a scholar went to an apothecary for some medicine made of “dragon bone.” To his surprise, the bone, which had not yet been ground into powder, contained a number of carved inscriptions. Thus began the exploration of the 3000-year-old sources of the written characters still used in China today. In this unparalleled and deeply researched book, Cecilia Lindqvist tells the story of these characters and shows how their shapes and concepts have permeated all of Chinese thought, architecture, art, and culture.

  • Date:
    Wednesday 29th October 7.30pm
    The Bookworm City Weekend Bookclub (Free)

    Join Elyse Ribbons and Lily Kuo for The Bookworm City Weekend Bookclub. Each month the group reads great new and classic fiction, non fiction and memoir, and invites you to read, meet like minded Bookworms, and participate in group discussion on each of our chosen texts. October’s book is ‘Wolf Totem’, by Jiang Rong.

  • Date:
    Thursday 30th October 7.30pm
    Spinechilling Tales at The Spookworm (30RMB/20RMB – Tickets required)

    Is there anything more terrifying than a perfectly told ghost story? Join us at The Spookworm this evening for some truly ghoulish goings on as we set the scene for Halloween with some of Beijing’s spookiest storytellers. Not for the fainthearted.

  • Date:
    Friday 31st October 7.30pm
    Chris Patten (Price TBC)

    Lord Patten, Chancellor of the University of Oxford, best selling author and former Governor of Hong Kong comes to The Bookworm.


Plase see below for an alphabetical list of previous speakers to have appeared at The Bookworm.

  • Abrahamsen, Eric – The Essays of George Orwell (Read More)

    As part of our series of Penguin Classics Literary Lunches, writer and translator Eric Abrahamsen explores the essays and polemic of the great George Orwell. Describing Orwell’s zero tolerance for sloppy language and political doublespeak, Abrahamsen makes fresh observations on the relevance of Orwell’s work for China.

    Aldrich, Michael
    Beal, Tim
    Becker, Jasper – North Korea: Rogue Regime (Read More)

    Veteran correspondent Jasper Becker (The Chinese, Hungry Ghosts, Dragon Rising) brings his unique insight and vast experience as a journalist in Asia to bear in his latest book, this time exposing the fascinating world of the hermit kingdom, North Korea. North Korea: Rogue Regime explores life for the world’s most isolated citizens, investigates the life of Kim Jong Il, and poses the ultimate question: should the nations of the world allow this regime to survive?

    Bell, Daniel
    Bidini, Dave
    Bonner, Nick
    Brahm, Lawrence J
    Brooks, Geraldine – March (Read More)

    A matter of weeks after being awarded this year’s Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, Bookworm are delighted to play host to writer Geraldine Brooks. Having served as a war correspondent in some of the world’s most conflict-ravaged areas, and now a respected commentator for the New York Times, the standard of Brooks’ fiction clearly matches that of her journalism. Tonight Bookworm audiences are treated to a reading from her prize winning novel March, which takes as it’s inspiration the character of Mr March from Louisa May Alcott’s much-loved Little Women.

    Brown, Lester – Plan B (Read More)

    Author Lester Brown, founder of the Worldwatch Institute and head of the Earth Policy Institute, makes a special Bookworm appearance to discuss his new book, Plan B : Rescuing a Planet Under Stress and a Civilisation in Trouble. As well as highlighting the terrible things we’re doing to our planet, Lester Brown also provides helpful, practical approaches and solutions to some of the biggest challenges facing the environment today.

    Chang, Gordon – North Korea: Nuclear Showdown (Read More)

    Asia expert Gordon Chang follows up his controversial success, The Coming Collapse of China, with the first book to discuss the full extent of the North Korean nuclear threat, its origins, international implications, and possible solutions.

    Chun Shu
    Cotter, David
    Crow, Dennis George
    Elegant, Robert
    Fan Wu – February Flowers (Read More)

    Fan Wu represents a new wave of Chinese writers living and working overseas but drawing on their formative years in China as inspiration for fresh, lively and necessary writing. Her first novel, February Flowers was chosen by Pan Macmillan as the novel to launch their brand new publishing imprint, Picador Asia, headed up by Toby Eadie, best known for bringing Chinese writers such as Jung Chang and Xinran to international audiences.

    Fratti, Mario
    Friedman, Thomas – The World is Flat (Read More)

    Foreign Affairs columnist for The New York Times, Thomas Friedman is a world renowned commentator on the forces political, cultural and economic that are changing and shaping the world as we know it. Thrice winner of the Pulitzer Prize, he discusses his prize winning book ‘The World is Flat’ (Goldman Sachs Business Book of the Year 2005) with Bookworm audiences.

    French, Paul
    Gargan, Edward
    Gaita, Raymond
    Gao Xiaolu
    Gao Hodges, Graham Russell
    Gifford, Rob
    Goodall, Dr Jane
    Graddol, David
    Griffith, Firth
    Gray, Nathan Hotorua – First Pass Under Heaven (Read More)

    Nathan Gray was part of a five man team who attempted the dizzying feat of walking the length of the Great Wall in 2004. His book, First Pass Under Heaven, describes their fascinating adventure, which eventually included everything from being struck by lightning to being held in police custody. Tonight he reads excerpts from First Pass, as well as inviting some Maori friends along to bless the evening’s proceedings…

    Harkness, James
    Harris Rees, Charlotte
    Hartnett, Sonya
    Hessler, Peter
    Howie, Fraser
    Jocelyn, Ed – The Long March (Read More)

    In 2003, Ed Jocelyn and Andy McEwen walked the entire trail followed by the 5th Red Army in 1934. Famously arduous, and spanning somewhere in the region of 5000km, the journey was certainly not for the faint hearted. Begun as a social history project to interview veterans of the original Communist Long March, Ed and Andy’s journey became first a sensational story in the Chinese media, and then a successful book, published in the UK by Constable and Robinson. But while Andy promoted the book, Ed was off completing ‘The Long March 2’ – exploring the routes taken by the less famous red armies during the 1930’s. Tonight he describes his second long march, which this time brought him into contact with many of the ethnic minorities who live in China’s remote Western regions.

    Karen Smith – ‘Nine Lives’ a booktalk (Read More)

    Since Karen Smith first completed the manuscript for her critically acclaimed study of the lives of nine contemporary Chinese artists in 2005, a great deal has changed. With the explosion of interest in Chinese art following the equally explosive market that emerged in spring 2006, a new, updated edition of Nine Lives was evidently necessary. Tonight she launches the revised updated edition, charting the dizzying changes shaping the Chinese art market from within, and without, through the eyes of her nine original subjects.Karen Smith is one of the foremost Western commentators on Chinese contemporary art, writing for numerous worldwide publications and serving as a consultant, critic and curator for such prestigious institutions as the Tate International Council, the board of the New York Museum and the Museum of Modern Art, NY. Don’t miss her fascinating insights on one of the most dynamic aspects of Chinese culture today.

    Kedl, Kent
    Kesey, Roy
    Kids Club at The Bookworm (Read More)

    Now hosted weekly by our fabulous teacher storytellers, Veronica and Judy, the Bookworm kids club is back and in full swing! Great kids books are selected and read from every week, in order to promote a love of reading outside the classroom in a warm, fun and encouraging atmosphere.

    Kynge, James – China Shakes the World (Read More)

    Winner of the Goldman Sachs Business Book of the Year 2006, China Shakes the World has quickly risen to the top of the list of ‘China must reads’ for anyone interested in the political and social future of China, and the impact its unstoppable rise is having on everyone else. Financial Times correspondent and seasoned China-watcher James Kynge is an essential voice in the debat – not to be missed!

    Lanfranco, Ed
    Larmer, Brook
    Lui Gang
    Logan, Pamela
    Lynton, Ronnie
    Macleod, Calum
    Ma Jian (Read More)

    Outspoken, challenging and charming, Ma Jian is one of the most strident voices in Chinese writing today. Now resident in London, his previous work (Red Dust, The Noodlemaker) has caused controversy in China since he began writing in the late 1980’s. Tonight he reads from Stick Out Your Tongue, a collection of short stories set in contemporary Tibet. By turns shocking, hilarious and bitingly satirical, Stick Out Your Tongue is classic Ma Jian, and a highlight on our literary calendar.

    Marchetta, Melina
    McEwen, Andrew – The Long March (Read More)

    In 2003, Ed Jocelyn and Andy McEwen walked the entire trail followed by the 5th Red Army in 1934. Famously arduous, and spanning somewhere in the region of 5000km, the journey was certainly not for the faint hearted. Begun as a social history project to interview veterans of the original Communist Long March, Ed and Andy’s journey became first a sensational story in the Chinese media, and then a successful book, published in the UK by Constable and Robinson. Andy describes their journey, and shows some of the amazing archive of photos and footage they collated over their year-long odyssey.

    McGregor, James – One Billion Customers (Read More)

    As former The Wall Street Journal China bureau chief turned successful corporate executive James McGregor explains, nothing about doing business in China is easy. One Billion Customers shows how to navigate the often treacherous waters of Chinese deal making. Brilliantly written by an author who has lived in China for nearly two decades, the book reveals indispensable, street-smart strategies, tactics, and lessons for succeeding in the world’s fastest growing consumer market.

    Menzies, Gavin
    Mike Meyer – The Last Days of Old Beijing (Read More)

    Long term Beijing resident and journalist Mike Meyer decamped to a hutong in Dazhalanr for two years to experience hutong life as an insider, just as he perceived that way of life to be in rapid decline. Receiving glorious reviews from fellow China watchers, journalists and the publishing world in general, his fascinating insights are a must-read. Don’t miss his appearance, on the back of his sell-out US book tour, at The Bookworm on Aug 5th.

    Niven, Liz
    Nombri, Sir Joseph
    Opium Literary Magazine
    Phathanothai, Sirin
    Pilkington, Doris – Follow the Rabbit Proof Fence (Read More)

    Doris Pilkington (Nugi Garimara) was born on Balfour Downs Station in Western Australia. As a toddler she was removed by authorities from her home, along with her mother Molly Craig and baby sister, and committed to Moore River Native Settlement, the same institution Molly had escaped from ten years previously, the story of which is told in Pilkington’s Follow the Rabbit-Proof Fence. Internationally acclaimed, and filmed as ‘Rabbit Proof Fence’ in 2002, Doris Pilkington’s story is by turns touching and shocking.

    Pomfret, John – Chinese Lessons (Read More)

    A rare opportunity to hear from John Pomfret, an award winning journalist currently firmly positioned at the top of the hotlist of China commentators. John Pomfret came to China to study at Nanjing University in 1981. Immersing himself in Chinese society and culture, he gained a unique insight into China at a time when few foreigners had the opportunity. His brand new book, ‘Chinese Lessons’, published in August this year, tells the stories of his classmates at Nan Da, recounting how their lives have been shaped by the rise of ‘new China’ over the past thirty years.

    Rittenberg, Sidney – The Man Who Stayed Behind (Read More)

    In China from World War Two until the eve of the economic reforms at the end of the 1970’s, Sidney Rittenberg saw the change and development of China throughout three and a half turbulent decades as no other foreigner could. Member of the Communist party, translator to Mao, and eventually a political prisoner, Rittenberg endured unbelievable hardship, whilst maintaining an unshakeable faith in China and the Chinese people. This talk represents a unique opportunity to hear from a truly remarkable ‘old China hand.’

    Robinson, Eric
    Rogers, Benedict
    Sampson, Catherine
    Saran, Mishi
    Schafer, Nathaly
    Schell, Orville
    Sichuan Photo Projection (Read More)

    When the deadly earthquake struck Sichuan Province on May 12th 2008, many dedicated photographers and journalists traveled down to the region to report and document the aftermath of the tragic event. Tonight, a group of internationally acclaimed photographers will project a series of poignant images taken in the days that followed. Combined, these pictures tell the heartfelt stories of the multitudes of people whose lives were affected by China’s worst natural disaster in recent years.

    Sun Shuyun
    Smith, Karen
    Spindler, David
    Trebach, Arnold S
    Willcocks, Sir David
    Williams, Adam
    Willoughby, Anthony

Special Events

Win Your Height In Books Competition!Enter this brilliant competition and win your height in books, sponsored by the lovely folks at penguin publishing! All you have to do is to show us your bookworm membership card, or purchase a new one, and let the staff measure you against our fabulous bookworm height chart! We’ll draw a winner at random from your entries on September 20th, and send a stack of books your way!!

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