April 26th 7:30pm
Pandas, Politics and Poop, A Decade Tracking Wolong’s
Elusive Giant Panda – An Illustrated talk by Matthew
April 5th , 7:30pm
The Sawdust House – A Book Talk by H. Ronken Lynton
Ronken Lynton was born and grew up in Minnesota,
with links to the Scandinavian community there.
She broke with the family tradition and went off
to Radcliffe to study. After working in Washington
during World War II, she became the third woman
to be appointed to the Harvard Business School faculty.
In 1953 Rolf Lynton came to her department on a
fellowship, and in 1955 they were married and set
out for Asia. Of the past 50 years, besides traveling
in Asia they have spent more than 20 years in India,
5 in Indonesia, and one in Botswana. She has published
a lot of management books, as well as three biographies
of leading Indian figures. This is her first novel
and first non-management writing to be based in
will talk about her life’s journey, and read excerpts
from her novel The Sawdust House.
April 7th , 7:30pm
Book Talk by Author of “The Good Women of China”
was born in Beijing in 1958. Her family was well-off
and westernised: her grandfather worked for GEC.
Her parents were imprisoned during the Cultural
Revolution, and she was brought up by Red Guards
as a child of the Revolution, not regarding her
parents as her family. In
the late 1980s, as part of the move to open up broadcasting,
she was asked to run a late night radio programme
Words on the Night Breeze.The
phone calls and the letters she received at Words
on the Night Breeze showed her much that she had
not known about the lives of women in China: the
emotional poverty of a society just emerging from
the Cultural Revolution, when even the mildest sexual
display was seen as delinquent, the material poverty
of the majority of people, especially in the villages,
the low value attached to women’s lives.
1997 Xinran moved to London, and it was there that
she began to put together all the stories she had
been told by women who had struggled through the
most appalling experiences, but who would be judged
by these bizarre and arbitrary standards. The result
was her first book, The Good Women of China. Now
she has written another book, and again it is the
true story of a woman’s life. Sky Burial is the
story of how Xinran was introduced by a listener
to her radio programme to Shu Wen, a Chinese woman
who had spent 30 years in Tibet, searching for her
lost husband: it sounds like a romance, and Xinran
says her publishers urge her to try writing fiction
but that she has no idea how to write fiction. The
book is shaped by her dedication to telling the
truth of the story as it was told to her, and as
she has been able to piece it together since. There
is yet another layer of strangeness here: strange
as China seems to us, to Xinran it is Tibet which
is the extraordinary place.
is particularly enthusiastic about Mother Bridge,
a charitable organisation which she has founded
to help to build bridges between China and the west,
helping each to reach a better understanding of
the other. While everyone can benefit from this,
the people who need it most are Chinese children
growing up with adoptive families in the west, knowing
little or nothing of their background, and their
adoptive parents. Hitherto she has written about
the China of today and its roots in its recent past;
now she is ready to start building from that past
on into China’s future.
April 12th 7:30pm
Oracle Bones – A Talk by Peter Hessler
Hessler is from Columbia, Missouri, and came to
China in 1996, with the Peace Corps. For two years
he taught English at a teachers college in Fuling,
a small city on the Yangtze River. Afterwards, he
wrote a memoir about this experience, River Town,
which was published in 2001 by HarperCollins in
the US and John Murray in the UK.
the spring 1999, Pete has lived in Beijing, where
he is a freelance writer. In recent years he has
written feature stories about a range of subjects
(Shenzhen, archaeology, Uighurs, Yao Ming, the Three
Gorges dam, to name a few) for the New Yorker and
National Geographic. He is accredited as the New
Yorker correspondent in Beijing.
Peter is currently editing his new book, Oracle
Bones, which will be published in 2006, also by
HarperCollins and John Murray. He will read some
passages from Oracle Bones and talk about writing
narrative journalism in China.
April 20th 7:30pm
Magic with Ben Moyle
At this month’s lecture, Ben Moyle will
talk about his adventures living in Mongolia, China’s
fascinating northern neighbor. Monglia still stirs
up images of wild horses galloping across the steppes,
camels wandering through the desert, and a fascinating
nomadic culture. Ben Moyle, co-founder of 4th World
Adventure, along with his father Simon, runs Natures
Door eco-site at Lake Hovsgol in northern Mongolia
with his Mongolian business partner Otga, a woman
they met while cycling through Mongolia in 1999.
As Ben said, " I knew her for three hours before
we became business partners and even then I didn’t
know her name! All I knew was that she was studying
in Ulaanbaatar during term time so I had to get
a friend who is a lawyer to go and search the universities
asking for the English speaker from Lake Hovsgol!
" Ben, an intrepid traveller himself was bored
with his job in England and decided he wanted to
live in Outer Mongolia and make a go of things even
if it meant him living in a ger without electricity.
Ben will not only regale us with his stories living
in Mongolia, but will also give us a deeper look
into the rich Monglian culture and its modern reality.
April 26th 7:30pm
Panda Man – An Illustrated talk by Matthew Durnin
Matt Durnin has spent years studying
pandas in Wolong Nature Reserve, living for months
at a time in thin-walled wooden shacks without electricity
or running water. Come and join us to hear some
of his hilarious stories and also learn about the
wild panda and its fantastic habitat.
E. Durnin, earned his Ph.D. in Wildlife Ecology
from the University of California Berkeley, in 2004
and has been studying wild giant pandas in the Wolong
Nature Reserve, Sichuan, China for almost 10 years.
He is an Associate Researcher with the California
Academy of Science conducting mammal biodiversity
surveys in Yunnan. He is also the Founder of the
non-profit organization Collaborative Research for
Endangered Wildlife, Inc.