Jung Chang Inspires at Cheltenham Literature Festival

Jung Chang cheltenham ladies' college

By Charlotte Jiang

Having written her bestselling book ‘Wild Swans’ many years ago, and then having released her second paper publication on a biography of Mao a few years ago, Jung Chang’s success with words has prompted her to write her third book, titled ‘Empress Dowager Cixi’. This book tells the story of China’s most fearless Empress, and became the main subject of Jung Chang’s talk at the Cheltenham Literature Festival. Interviewed by Nick Higham, Jung Chang spoke of her new book and the inspiration behind this.

The audience was captivated by the authoress’ interesting and captivating overview of her book, and everyone enjoyed a few laughs too. Having attended the talk myself, I enjoyed listening to Jung Chang immensely, and I felt privileged to have been to a highly animated history lesson about China which I certainly would not have had experienced inside the classroom.

Because CLC was sponsoring this event at the Festival, Jung Chang also visited CLC immediately after her book-signing and spent a few minutes talking to some of the girls. In particular, she showed us a shoe which belonged to her grandmother who had been forced to have her feet bound. The shoe was no more than six inches in length and looked more like a child’s. The unanimous wince in the room as she described how the toes were smashed and then prevented from repairing by the binding process showed just how engaging her stories were. She was truly inspiring.

Jung Chang cheltenham ladies' college

I thoroughly enjoyed this talk, and I would recommend anyone to find her interview online and listen to it. You will find yourself laughing, I can assure you. Jung Chang is a wonderful interviewee and her voice is inspiring.

‘Wild Swans’ is in Main Library, and it too is an amazing read which I would not hesitate to recommend.

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