Alec Ash

wish lanterns

The Mountains Are High (Scribe, 2024)

A reported literary nonfiction memoir relating a year of living in a village in Dali, southwest China, where new 'reverse migrants' fleeing China's cities have come to find an alternative way of life.


wish lanterns

China's New Youth (Arcade, 2020)

A paperback re-issue of Wish Lanterns, with a new title, forward, fresh material, and an afterword updating the lives of the six young Chinese followed in the original book.

With a forward by Karoline Kan

wish lanterns

Wish Lanterns (Picador, 2016)

A narrative, literary nonfiction exploration of China's transformative young generation, following the lives of six young Chinese as they struggle to build a future for themselves and their country, including an aspiring rockstar called Lucifer and a Party official's daughter.

A BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week

while we're here

While We're Here (Earnshaw Books, 2015 – editor)

An anthology from the Anthill writers' colony, a mix of nonfiction, fiction and poetry, edited by Alec Ash and Tom Pellman, delving deep into the experience of being a foreigner in China. Ash's chapter is about his hutong neighbours in Beijing.

With contributions from David Moser and Kaiser Kuo

chinese characters

Chinese Characters (University of California Press, 2012 – contributor)

A book of reportage focusing on the human stories behind China's phenomenal growth and social change, also featuring Peter Hessler, Evan Osnos and Ian Johnson. Ash's chapter is about a young Tibetan caught between two worlds.

With a forward by Pankaj Mishra


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