Robert Louis Stevenson Fellowship

I’m very happy to say I’ve been awarded a Robert Louis Stevenson Fellowship (thank you Creative Scotland) which means I’ll be in the village of Grez Sur  Loing in France during June. Though my ostensible purpose is to work on a novel in progress,  my real goal is to recreate the atmosphere of RLS’s sojourn in the South Seas. Each morning I will convene a meeting of the elders of the village. We will toast each other with coconut milk. I will marry a snake. I will find a peace I had not thought possible, and change my name to ‘Jacques’. Finally, after weeks that will feel like years to the villagers, I will contract an exotic disease that will make me work feverishly on a manuscript I will not live to complete. For years, and generations after, the good, pure people of Grez Sur Loing will tell stories of ‘the pale one that died’.

There will be no statues.

Razing Kashgar

Kashgar’s Old Town, as it was…

My piece on the destruction of Kashgar’s old city is now up on the the London Review of Books Blog.

And here’s a more reportage-based piece from 2013.

For more on Xinjiang, see my book The Tree That Bleeds: A Uighur Town on the Edge.

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