Bestselling author Paul French (Midnight in Peking, City of Devils) has returned to the theme of the Chinese capital to tell 18 true stories of fascinating people who visited the city in the first half of the 20th century. Now he is giving a talk on his new book, hosted by the Royal Asiatic Society Hong Kong.

From the ultra-wealthy Woolworths heiress Barbara Hutton and her husband the Prince Mdivani, to the poor “American girl” Mona Monteith who worked in the city as a prostitute; from socialite Wallis Simpson and novelist JP Marquand, who held court on the rooftop of the Grand Hôtel de Pékin, to Hollywood screenwriter Harry Hervey, who sought inspiration walking atop the Tartar Wall; from Edgar and Helen Foster Snow – Peking’s ‘It’ couple of 1935 – to Martha Sawyers, who did so much to aid China against Japan in World War II; Destination Peking brings a lost pre-communist era back to life.

“Paul French resurrects a Peking that was filled with glitter as well as evil, but was never known for being dull.” – The Economist

Speaker: Paul French
Date: Wednesday, 28th April 2021
Time: 7pm – 8pm Hong Kong time
Venue: Online over Zoom
Admission: No charge, please register your attendance in advance
Booking: Please email in advance to register your attendance and receive the link

Further reading on old China: Paul has just written a feature for the SCMP’s Post Magazine on the Shanghai Academy of Art: the school that gave the city its early 20th-century aesthetic.