[Marxism] New from Verso F: HU FENG'S PRISON YEARS plus launch event in London next week

VersoMail Verso Versomail at verso.co.uk
Fri Apr 19 10:56:09 MDT 2013

By Mei Zhi


Published April 2013

Event in London with English Pen, April 23. See below


China's first literary dissident's Kafkaesque journey through the prisons of the Cultural Revolution.

Hu Feng, the 'counterrevolutionary' leader of a banned literary school, spent twenty-five years in the Chinese Communist Party's prison system. But back in the Party's early days, he was one of its best known literary theoreticians and critics—at least until factional infighting, and his short fuse, made him persona non grata among the establishment.

His wife, Mei Zhi, shared his incarceration for many years. F is her account of that time, beginning ten years after her and Hu Feng’s initial arrest. She herself was eventually released, after which she navigated the party’s Byzantine prison bureaucracy searching for his whereabouts. Having finally found him, she voluntarily returned to gaol to care for him in his rage and suffering, watching his descent into madness as the excesses of the Cultural Revolution took their toll.

Both an intimate portrait of Mei Zhi’s life with Hu Feng and a stark account of the prison system and life under Mao, F is at once beautiful and harrowing.
“What kind of people are those we don't execute? We don't execute people like Hu Feng ... not because their crimes don't deserve capital punishment but because such executions would yield no advantage ... Counterrevolutionaries are trash, they are vermin, but once in your hands, you can make them perform some kind of service for the people.” – Mao Zedong


Ma Jian and Isabel Hilton in conversation: China's literary dissidents and F: HU FENG'S PRISON YEARS

April 23, 7pm
Waterstones Piccadilly

An English PEN supported launch event.

Ma Jian was born in Qingdao, China in 1953. He worked as a watch-mender and a painter of propaganda boards and was assigned a job as a photojournalist for a state-run magazine. At the age of thirty, Ma Jian left work and travelled for three years across China, a journey he later described in his book Red Dust, winner of the Thomas Cook Travel Book Award 2002. He left Beijing for Hong Kong in 1987 but continued to travel to China, notably to support the pro-democracy activists in Tiananmen Square in 1989. After the hand-over of Hong Kong he moved to Germany and then London, where he now lives. Books by Ma Jian translated in English include his novel, The Noodle Maker, his short story collection about Tibet, his critically-acclaimed masterpiece, Beijing Coma; and Stick Out Your Tongue, the book which prompted the Chinese government to ban Ma Jian's work and which set him on the road to exile.

Isabel Hilton is a London based writer and broadcaster, and founder and editor of www.chinadialogue.net, an innovative, fully bilingual Chinese English website devoted to building a shared approach on climate change and environmental issues with China.

Based in London, with offices in Beijing, Delhi and San Francisco, chinadialogue launched in 2006 and is now recognised as a unique, independent source of information on environmental and climate issues, widely read in China, South Asia and in more than 200 countries around the world. She was appointed OBE in 2009 for her contribution to raising environmental awareness in China.

Tickets £3, includes glass of wine on arrival. Please purchase tickets instore, or the phone or by emailing events at piccadilly.waterstones.com

For more information visit:





ISBN: 9781844679676 / Hardback / $26.95 / £16.99 / $28.50CAN / 332 Pages

For more information on F: HU FENG'S PRISON YEARS or to buy the book visit:


Visit Verso’s website for information on our upcoming events, new reviews and publications and special offers: http://www.versobooks.com<https://red002.mail.emea.microsoftonline.com/owa/redir.aspx?C=da4b27451a1c45a893588ecb9e6f48f3&URL=http%3a%2f%2fwww.versobooks.com>

Sign up for the Verso mailing list:

Become a fan of Verso on Facebook

And get updates on Twitter too!

More information about the Marxism mailing list