Alec Ash


*Listen at BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week*

Praise for Wish Lanterns

"Wish Lanterns announces the arrival of a talented young observer of today’s China. Alec Ash documents the lives of Chinese millennials with detail, insight, and sympathy, and his book is an invaluable resource for anybody hoping to understand the country’s future possibilities"

Peter Hessler, author of River Town

"Alec Ash's book has opened a window in the wall between China and the west for us to see the hopes and fears of these young Chinese who are struggling to build their lives in a world that their parents could never dream of"

Xinran, author of The Good Women of China

"A gem of a book. Its brief chapters flow like a skillfully crafted set of interconnected short stories, yet all are rooted in the real life experiences of six individuals. An impressive debut book by a writer to watch"

Jeffrey Wasserstrom, author of China in the 21st Century

"Alec Ash hangs out with China's "post-80s" generations to give us a series of fascinating and insightful snapshots of where the country might be heading"

Paul French, author of Midnight in Peking

"A beautiful and thoughtful book about the life of young people in China. Alec Ash has succeeded in giving us an intimate and complex portrait of the one child generation. I enthusiastically recommend you to read it"

Xiaolu Guo, author of I Am China

"Alec Ash weaves the joy, heartbreak, drama and trauma of this group, making up a highly realistic, and at times poetic, portrait of the people who will likely have the greatest future impact in the world today"

Kerry Brown, Professor of China Studies, King's College

"A fascinating mosaic that gives us a wonderfully vivid sense of what it's like to grow up today in China. Alec Ash gives an immediate feel of just how contradictory life is in this dynamic but still unresolved country"

Orville Schell, Director, Center on US-China Relations

"Through deep dive longitudinal reporting and masterful storytelling, Alec Ash lets readers feel closely connected to the coming of age experience in today's China"

Eric Fish, author of China's Millenials

"A completely novel take on contemporary China. The result is a work of heart-felt reportage and also great suspense, as we wait to learn each character's fate. I couldn't put it down"

Michael Meyer, author of In Manchuria

"Raw, heartfelt and ultimately inspiring. Ash effortlessly dissolves stereotypes with this refreshing and nuanced portrait of individuals who are shaping the China of tomorrow"

Rob Schmitz, author of Street of Eternal Happiness


Wall Street Journal – Howard French

Washington Post – John Pomfret

Financial Times – Jonathan Fenby

Prospect – Rana Mitter

Standpoint – Graham Hutchings

LA Review of Books – Gail Pellet

South China Morning Post (from Asian Review of Books)

That's Beijing

Bookish Asia

HK Magazine

City Weekend

Author Q&As

New York Times – with Ian Johnson

Wall Street Journal – with Te-Peng Chen

Forbes Asia – with Marianna Cerini

The Diplomat – with Tyler Roney

Young China Watchers

Bookish Asia

Smart Shanghai

Tianjin Plus

Oxford Today

That's Shanghai

The Beijinger

World of Chinese

Why I Write


ChinaFile (Fred – politics)

Lit Hub (Dahai – netizens)

Picador (Xiaoxiao – opening chapter)

the Anthill (Lucifer – reality TV)



PRI: Whose Century Is It?

Council of Foreign Relations

Barbarians at the Gate

Intrepid Times




London, Oct 5 2016: Asia House, London

Cheltenham, Oct 7 2016: Cheltenham literary festival

London, Oct 13 2016: Westminster University

Oxford, Oct 14 2016: Oxford China Centre

Hong Kong, Nov 11 2016: Hong Kong literary festival

Shanghai, Mar 11 2017: Shanghai literary festival

Beijing, Apr 11 2017: Beijing Bookworm

Foreign language editions


Korean (to come)

Greek (to come)

Italian (to come)


Beijing book launch, with live music from Lucifer

At the Beijing Bookworm, with Christina Larson

At the Shanghai Literary Festival, with Mia

Tedx Beijing talk


Selected as a BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week

"Compelling and beautifully written" – Prospect

"One of the best I have read" – FT

"Fascinating and insightful"
Paul French

"A talented young observer of today’s China"
Peter Hessler