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, where he edits the China Books Review.

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 second book The Mountains Are High (Scribe, 2024) follows city escapees moving to the countryside of southwest China, and was excerpted at the Guardian.

His longform articles have appeared in the New York Review of Books, the Los Angeles Review of Books, 1843 and elswehere, as well as his correspondence from Beijing as a stringer for The Sunday Times and The Economist.

Previously, Ash edited the China Channel at the Los Angeles 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.

He now lives in New York, where 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