Nanjing International writers’ residency program was officially launched in April 2019, hosting writers from the United Kingdom, France, Spain and Ireland. With the ongoing global impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic, Nanjing Literature Centre has decided to turn the 2020 residency into a virtual residency. This online program is believed to offer participating writers opportunities for cross-culture literature discussion, virtual experiences of visits to Nanjing, and meetings with their counterparts in China.
What does the virtual residency offer?
Special events will be held to help visiting writers learn about different aspects of local culture and better understand Chinese literature. A tailored residency program will be prepared for each writer. During the residency, all participating writers will make her or his own choices of attending online discussions, literature salons, specialists meetings, and/or virtual visits to Nanjing’s attractions. Guest writers will have a chance to get to know Nanjing’s urban characteristics, including local people’s cultural lives and Nanjing’s literature.
Detailed information is listed below:
1. Exploring Libraries
Duration: 15-30 minutes
Option1: Nanjing Library
Nanjing Library is the third largest library in China and the fourth largest in Asia. It covers an area of 80000 square metres with a collection over 10 million books. Historical documents are the most prominent feature of this library, among which 700,000 historical documents out of its collection of 1.6 million are left from the Republic of China era; while 140,000 are accredited as the best edition, and 524 inscribed into China’s List of Ancient Documents. Nanjing library has the first-class historical document restoration technology. A simple look at those antique pieces offers a wonderful experience of travelling back in time.
Option2: Jinling Library
Jinling Library makes a city library for Nanjing. Apart from its rich collections, the Jinling Library is best known for its development of creative culture products; it is the place where unique design encounters literature. The library develops its cultural creativity industry with elements from classical opera; It has built an ‘opera’ library within a library. Here, you will perceive the charm of Nanjing’s cultural heritage.
2. Saunter in a Unique Bookstore
Nanjing currently has around 400 bookstores, each of them unique in some way.
Duration: 15-30 minute
Option 1: Librarie Avant-Guard
Librarie Avant-Guard has been hailed by CNN as ‘the most beautiful bookstore in China. The bookstore has also been rated as ‘the top 10 most beautiful bookstore in the world’ by BBC, ‘The Guardian’, ‘National Geographic’ and ‘Der Spiegel’. The bookstore is also ‘the second library’ for university students in Nanjing. ‘An outsider on this land’ is the motto for this bookstore. Elements from academic research, cultural salon, coffee, art gallery, film, music, creativity, life, fashion meet each other at the same space. Open a book here, enjoy the reading time.
Option 2: Dazhong Bookstore (Xinjiekou store)
Dazhong Bookstore, literally a general public mall for books, is an urban bookstore that adapts the commercial form of cultural department stores. The bookstore is popular among all age groups due to its down-to-earth characteristic. Staircases here are made of books to demonstrate the idea of ‘Books are steps toward human progress.’ It has well-proportioned space with romantic features from fairy tales; the scents from the past are flowing within the bookstore.
Option 3: Wanxiang bookstore
Wanxiang bookstore is located in a narrow alley with lush trees; this is a delicate bookstore with a sentimental appeal where you can cut off from the hustle and bustle of modern cities. The bookstore has been granted the title of ‘readers’ favourite bookstore’. It locates right next to Nanjing University, and there are many students in this bookstore; as a result, the store is also known as ‘Nanjing University’s library’.
Option 4: Phoenix cloud (24-hour bookstore)
Phoenix cloud 24-hour bookstore has been designed as ‘Nanjing City’s Literature Parlor’. It means a harbour with 24-hour lamp for bibliophiles living in or traveling to Nanjing. There is always a lamp of literature for any-time arrival at Nanjing. Apart from its reading space for book lovers, the bookstore has launched a handicraft art brand with oriental aesthetics – phoenix cloud handicraft. The brand brings new possibilities to the bookstore and the readers. The bookstore has delicate interior design and comfortable lighting; all these details demonstrate this bookstore’s creativity and its caring to the readers. With its reading elegant and comfortable space, visitors feel peace in this place.
Option 5: Singularity Bookstore
This bookstore marks a physical illustration of the simple rule of ‘less is more’. The bookstore is featured by its space design that makes visitors want to read books; it also help encourage creativity, even when visitors drop in with exhausted bodies. The bookstore caters to young people’s aesthetic taste and their views of life and consumption. During your trip to Nanjing, it is a must place to go.
Option 6: Youth Bookstore
This store is located inside Nanjing’s ancient city wall. Ancient heritage gives a great contrast to passionate youth, and it is the most prominent feature of this bookstore.
3. Reading Series
Nanjing Literature Center has co-sponsored a series of reading events in 2020, attempting to bring literature to different age groups in Nanjing. Events themes cover pandemic challenges, child development, Chinese traditional festivals, and classics sharing.
The readings plan is waiting for residency writers. These are the events thus far:
Duration: 60 minutes
Event 1: 5-minute Reading Classics
Held on April 23rd to mark the first 'World Reading Day' after Nanjing's designation as a UNESCO Creative City of Literature. This initiative witnessed participation by well-known writers from eight countries, who chose to read out lines and paragraphs from their own works or from favored writers. Their sharing videos, some taken in lockdown, helped deliver literary strength to the readers then still suffering from the severe uncertainty of the pandemic. Nanjing Literature Centre had the videos translated into Chinese, produced a new video clip and broadcast it to the larger audience across China.
Event 2: Featured Literature Event
The April reading of the Read on the Lake Series was staged in the Yingzhou Study Room, a reading space on Xuanwu Lake. The event exhibited letters, diaries and stories from medical workers who volunteered to support Wuhan during the outbreak of COVID-19. During the event, some pandemic-related letters and stories were shared.
The solidarity posters from UNESCO Cities of Literature for Wuhan were exhibited during the Jiangsu Book Fair in July. During the outbreak of COVID-19 in February, those posters reached people in Wuhan. With the exhibition, warmth and solidarity from Cities of Literature to the Wuhan City of Design were delivered to readers.
Event 3: Children's themed reading
Read on the Lake series serves young readers with a featured reading on the Children's Day of 1 June We. Children literature writers, primary school students and their teachers were invited to the event venue on the Xuanwu Lake. Apart from reading and sharing, they had a discussion on the topics of 'How to let children enjoy reading' and 'what is the charm of children literature like'.
Event 4: Reading of Traditional Chinese Festivals
Dragon Boat Festival fell on 25 July. The festival has been inscribed into the intangible cultural heritage list; it is also known as the Poets' Festival. Therefore, it was the right time to appreciate some Chinese poetries. During the event, there were ballad concert and recitation performance from little poetry fans. Audiences were able to participate in traditional games of Dragon Boat Festival such as Touhu.
Event 5: Sharing of Classics
Classics are the witness of history and culture. In modern days, ancient classics seem to detach from our daily lives. However, as a component of Nanjing’s and the world’s historical-cultural heritage, they deserve preservation and respect. As a theme reading of ‘Read on the Lake’ series , ‘Nanjing City of Literature Classics Series’ was held on in a classical boat on the Xuanwu Lake on 28 July. Historians, researchers, poets and writers gathered to share their views on reading classics. The sharing was joined by over 100,000 readers online.
4. Writers/Poets Face-to-face
Resident writers will have a face-to-face discussion with Nanjing’s local writers. They will discuss literature and have a conversation on topics of interest.
Duration: 15-30 minutes
Option 1: Ye Zhaoyan
Novelist and author of “Ominous Flowers”, “The Shadow of Flowers”, “Candlelight Ball”, “Love in 1937”, “Nanjingers” and “Nanjing: the Biography”.
Option 2: Bi Feiyu
Novelist and author of “The Moon Opera”, “Massage”, “Three Sisters” , “The Plains”.
Option 3: Xue Bing
Writer and author of novels “A Disaster for Beauties” “Love Story”; essay collections “The City of Six Dynasties is My Home”, “The Memorial Archway of Jiangnan” and “The Daughter of Nanjing”.
Option 4: Yu Bang
Poet and novelist, author of “Goodbye, Beetle”, “Identity Card”, and poetry collection “The War Within”.
Option 5: Hu Xian
Poet and author of poetry collections “Rain Shower”, “Hourglass” and “The Empty Staircase”; essay collections “Vegetables” and “The Man Shall Never Return Home”.
Option 6: He Tongbin
Literary Critic and author of “History is a Catastrophe of Spirits”, “Reconstruct Youth” and “The Lingering Night Watch”.
Option 7: Pang Yu
Young writer and author of “Boxing with One Arm” and “Our galloping Sadness”.
Option 8: Shuashua
Young writer of children’s literature, and author of “The Train to Happiness” and “Girls with no Growing Pains”.
5. Wandering in the City of Museums
Nanjing has 58 registered museums. These museums kept the treasure and past glory of an ancient capital city. A walk into these museums will trace this beautiful city with its past.
Duration: 15-30 mins
Option 1: Oriental Metropolitan Museum
The Oriental Metropolitan Museum holds China’s most comprehensive thematic exhibition on the period of Six Dynasties (222-589), displaying relics and introducing the culture and history of Six Dynasties. The museum complex was designed by world renowned Pei Architects, using Pei’s techniques and theories such as Pei construction modulus, Pei’s geometry, Pei’s light and shadow theory. The exhibition is to manifest the beauty of Nanjing as an oriental metropolis. The exhibits include stone carvings, paintings, calligraphy works, building blocks, epitaphs, celadon wares, etc. Display of the exhibits gives an artistic feeling of the combination of art and history.
Option 2: Jiangning Imperial Silk Manufacturing Museum
Building style of the Jiangning Imperial Silk Manufacturing Museum is rooted in China’s landscape painting tradition, a classic piece of the combination of modern architecture and traditional landscape garden. Permanent exhibitions include Silk Manufacturing, Imperial Silk Clothing, Red Dream Mansion, Chinese Style Cheongsam, etc. Other facilities of the museum include a red-dream-mansion-themed theatre, a fashion press release center, an opera stage, a bookstore, a library, etc. This is a state of the art museum showcasing Silk Manufacturing, Imperial Silk Techniques and the culture of Red Dream Chamber.
Option 3: Imperial Examination Museum of China
Imperial Examination Museum of China is a museum showcasing China’s imperial examination system. It tells us why Nanjing was a cultural capital and education center of China. The museum has three levels underground and boasts itself as the only underground museum in China.
6. Historical Cultural Walk Tours
Duration: 15-30 mins
Option 1: Ming Xiaoling Mausoleum
Ming Xiaoling Mausoleum is the burial place for Hongwu Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang and his queen. It is named "Xiaoling", which literally means filial piety, since the ethic of filial piety was given great importance in Ming dynasty’s governing. Covering an area of more than 1.7 million square meters, it is one of the largest emperor’s mausoleums in China, and an excellent example of the combination of Chinese traditional architectural art and natural aesthetics. It represents the highest achievement of architecture and stone carving art in the early Ming Dynasty. It is enlisted as an UNESCO world cultural heritage site.
Option 2: Ming Dynasty City Wall
The Nanjing Ming Dynasty City Wall is 35.3 kilometers long, within which a total of 25.1 kilometers remains intact. It is the largest, longest and best preserved ancient city wall in the world. It has witnessed the history of the rise and fall of Nanjing, and its existence is the most vivid description of "stone city", a nick name of Nanjing. The study rooms, museums, and even coffee houses within the city walls will take you between old times and today.
Option 3: Nanjing University
Nanjing University is a century-old school with a long history and outstanding reputation. Since its establishment at the beginning of the last century, Nanjing University has been one of the most active Chinese universities in international exchanges and cooperation. It has established close cooperative relations with many first-class universities and high-level scientific research institutions in the world. Among them, the Nanjing University-Hopkins University Sino-American Culture Research Center, which was founded in the 1980s, has been successfully running for more than 30 years and has wide-reaching influence at home and abroad.
Option 4: Confucius Temple Qinhuai Scenic Belt
The Qinhuai Scenic Belt of Confucius Temple is centered on the ancient buildings of Confucius Temple, ten miles of Qinhuai River is the axis, and the Ming City Wall is the link. Confucius Temple is China’s first national high school. The world's largest ancient city wall, the three are intertwined to form a large number of scenic spots, forming a unique cultural scenic spot with Nanjing characteristics. With the connotation of Confucianism, imperial examination culture, and folk culture, it integrates natural scenery, landscape gardens, temples and schools, street dwellings, local people, gourmet shopping, science education, and festival culture. It is not only a place where Nanjing’s history and culture gather. It is also the largest traditional ancient street market in China.
Option 5: Nanjing Porcelain Tower
Nanjing Porcelain was built by Yongle Emperor Zhu Di to commemorate Hongwu Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang and his Queen Ma. The construction was extremely sophisticated, and it was built in full accordance with the standards of an imperial palace. It was the highest temple at its time. The porcelain tower was 78.2 meters high. The whole body was made of glazed glass. It has left a mark in the history of world architecture.
7. Dialogue with Nanjingers
Resident writers will be invited to engage in dialogues with Nanjingers. The representative Nanjingers will be selected from the volunteer team for Nanjing Literature Center, including Nanjing citizens, students, literature lovers, professors, journalists, etc.
Duration: 15-30 mins
Option 1: Citizen volunteers
Option 2: Student volunteers
Option 3: Literature lovers
Option 4: Scholars, professors
Option 5: Journalists
How to make a residency plan
Resident writers may choose 4-5 items of interest from the above experience programs. Nanjing Literature Center will develop advance communication with the selected writers to make sure of the smooth progress of the project. Tailored programs and events participation will be finalised upon mutual consultation. And resident writers are encouraged to leave their creative writings published in Nanjing.
October 20, 2020 – December 20, 2020.
Thursday 17 September 2020.
Please send your application to firstname.lastname@example.org via email;