Alec Ash

Alec Ash is a writer and editor focused on China, where he lived from 2008-2022. He is a Senior Fellow at Asia Society.

Ash is the author of Wish Lanterns (Picador, 2016), literary nonfiction following the lives of six young Chinese. The book was a BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week, reviewed widely and featured in this New York Times interview (中文).

His longform articles have appeared in NYRB, LARB, the Guardian and elswehere, as well as his correspondence for The Sunday Times and The Economist. His new book The Mountains Are High will be published in early 2024 by Scribe.

Ash is Editor of the China Books Review, a digital magazine on all things China and bookish, published by Asia Society and The Wire. Previously he edited the China Channel at the LA Review of Books (2017-2021), founded the Anthill (2012-17), was Assistant Editor at Five Books (2010-12), and blogged at Six (2008-2010).

Born in England, Ash read English literature at Oxford University, where he edited The Isis magazine. He studied Mandarin in Beijing from 2008-10, and returned in 2012. In 2020 he moved to Dali, Yunnan province, before leaving China at the end of 2022.

In his free time he enjoys running, piano, tai chi, and writing about himself in the third person.

Twitter: @alecash


A BBC Book of the Week

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

"Lyrical ... a telling portrait" – Washington Post

"Alive with the full complications of truth" – Evan Osnos

"Compelling and beautifully written" – Prospect