Ep. 6: Spy novels, a real-life thriller, and the BBC

China Books

Mar 5 2024 • 56 mins

Acclaimed spy novelist Adam Brookes started out in China as a languge student in the mid-'80s, skipping class to travel in trucks and buses to Tibet and other parts of China that had just opened up after being shut off to foreign visitors for decades. He want back as a BBC China correspondent, informed by his earlier experiences in remote parts of China, and informing a huge global audience about China's transformation. He has since parlayed both of those early chapters in China into vivid and thought-provoking writing, both in his spy novel triology Night Heron, Spy Games, and The Spy's Daughter, and in his narrative non-fiction thriller Fragile Cargo: The World War II Race to Save the Treasures of China's Forbidden City. In this episode, he talks about how, with each form of writing, he has tried to bring China to life for his audiences, and deepen understanding of a complex place and people, and China's impact on the world.

The China Books podcast is hosted and produced by Mary Kay Magistad, a former award-winning China correspondent for NPR and PRI/BBC's The World, now a senior fellow at Asia Society's Center on U.S.-China Relations. This podcast is a companion of the China Books Review, which offers incisive essays, interviews, and reviews on all things China books-related. Co-publishers are Asia Society's Center on U.S.-China Relations, headed by Orville Schell, and The Wire China, co-founded by David Barboza, a former Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times China correspondent. The Review's editor is Alec Ash, who can be reached at editor@chinabooksreview.com.

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