RAS Chinese History Club

Zoom online meeting – connection link will be sent to all registered participants 24 hours before the event

Destination Peking – Revisiting the ‘Foreign Colony’ with author Paul French

Speaker: Paul French

New York Times bestselling author Paul French (Midnight in Peking, City of Devils) returns to the Chinese capital to tell 18 true stories of fascinating people who visited the city in the first half of the 20th century. From the ultra-wealthy Woolworths heiress Barbara Hutton and her husband the Prince Mdivani, to the poor “American girl” Mona Monteith, who worked in the city as a prostitute; from socialite Wallis Simpson and novelist JP Marquand, who held court on the rooftop of the Grand Hôtel de Pékin, to Hollywood screenwriter Harry Hervey, who sought inspiration walking atop the Tartar Wall; from Edgar and Helen Foster Snow – Peking’s ‘It’ couple of 1935 – to Martha Sawyers, who did so much to aid China against Japan in World War II; Nazis and Bolsheviks; artists and bank robbers. Destination Peking brings a lost era back to life. And, following on from his previous collection of essays Destination Shanghai, French asks the major question behind so many of these sojourners decisions to remain – why Peking? And why not Shanghai?

RAS China Members & Friends are welcome to use the discount code RB21 at checkout on www.blacksmithbooks.com to get 10% off Paul French’s latest book, Destination Peking. Online payment options include credit cards, Paypal, Alipay and Wechat Pay.

About the author

Paul French lived and worked in China for many years. He has written a number of books, including a history of foreign correspondents in China and a biography of the legendary Shanghai adman, journalist and adventurer Carl Crow. His true crime book Midnight in Peking was a New York Times Bestseller, a BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week, a Mystery Writers’ of America Edgar award winner for Best Fact Crime, and a Crime Writers’ Association (UK) Dagger award for non-fiction. His Kirkus-starred book City of Devils: A Shanghai Noir focuses on the dancehalls, casinos and cabarets of wartime Shanghai. Both Midnight in Peking and City of Devils are being adapted for film and TV.

He occasionally works in audio drama with recent productions including Peking Noir for BBC Radio 3, and the twelve-part Audible Original, Murders of Old China. His 2020 researched-novella about the Jewish refugees who left Shanghai for Macao during World War II, Strangers on the Praia, is currently being developed as a Sino-Australian co-produced movie from his own script.

RSVP: bookings@royalasiaticsociety.org.cn