Sex and scandal at the Shanghai International Literary Festival

Sex and scandal at the Shanghai International Literary Festival

Stepping in for Peter Hessler, Paul French presents a talk on “The Down and Dirty Secrets of Seedy Shanghai and Perverted Peking”

SILF booksLocal celebrity and intellectual Paul French wasn’t initially scheduled to speak at the 2010 Shanghai International Literary Festival (no new book to plug we guess). But he has been roped in at the last minute to fill a schedule void left by Peter Hessler’s last-minute cancellation. 

And glad we are that he'll be there. French is going all out with a talk on what Shanghai and Beijing do best: sex, politics and scandal. Only of the historical kind, of course, but still, worth a listen we think. 

In his blog China Rhyming, Paul French writes, “We’ve had the glamour, we’ve had the politics -- now it’s time for the secret and sordid history of the foreign criminal underworld of Shanghai and Peking in the first half of the twentieth century. Pimps and pros; gangsters and gamblers -- from Shanghai’s ‘Line’ and its notorious luxury bordellos full of ‘American Girls’ to the illegal casinos of the Badlands; the sexual-sadist cults of Peking’s Legation Quarter to the secret cabarets of the Tartar City -- foreigners were mad, bad and depraved on a scale few can imagine. They murdered and robbed, procured and pimped in a haze of drugs, sex and debauchery.”

Sounds like a better plot line than that DVD you watched last night and it’ll be a small insight into what Paul French is currently working on, a trilogy of books that talk about the “lower depths of low life foreign China.”

Shanghai International Literary Festival, Paul French: “The Down and Dirty Secrets of Seedy Shanghai and Perverted Peking,” Saturday, March 7, 3pm at Glamour Bar

Tickets to the 2010 Shanghai International Literary Festival Sessions are on sale now at Find the full schedule of the events, and a list of attending authors on the festival site

A borough-bred Manhattanite, editor and writer Jessica Beaton lived in Shanghai for five years and has now moved to Hong Kong.

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