First press on Chinese Characters comes from Beijing

The collection of essays about everyday lives in China that I have been working on for about two years made its pre-publication debut in China at the M Literary Festival. Chinese Characters contributors Evan Osnos, Ian Johnson, Michelle Loyalka, Christina Larson and my co-editor Jeffrey Wasserstrom spoke on the “Art of the Profile” at a Beijing panel discussion earlier this month.

Our first mass media press, therefore, also happened in China. The English-language Beijing newspaper Global Times sent a reporter to the panel, who in turn wrote a preview article of our book. The story, “China at face value,” begins this way:

“There has never been a lack of good books about the history of China, from detailed analytical narration of its 5,000-year civilization to numerous travelogues depicting the country’s vast, grandeur landscapes.

“Although the Middle Kingdom has always held allure to outsiders, ordinary Chinese folks, or laobaixing, are often seen as just faces in the crowd. However, those faces are given a chance to bask in the spotlight in Chinese Characters: Fast-Changing Lives in a Fast-Changing Land, a book co-edited by Jeffrey Wasserstrom, a history professor at the University of California, and Angilee Shah, a freelance journalist and editor in Los Angeles.”

Read more on First press on Chinese Characters comes from Beijing…


My name is Angilee Shah and I am a journalist, editor and blogger. I work on stories as diverse as features about women in tech, investigative reports on Sri Lanka’s civil war, and scholar and journalist collaborations for a book on China. The common thread is always my interest in the world, the way people interact across cultures and boundaries and the endless variety of cultures to explore. Lucky for me, I was born in a generation that has Internet access, VOIP and budget airlines. These are the tools that allow me to work as a writer and editor on issues related to the broad topics of politics and culture. I am the social media manager at Public Radio International, where I focus on global health and development as well as immigration and cultures in the U.S. mostly with PRI’s The World. I also help to conceptualize and design publications (I served as the community manager at, the social site of the USC Annenberg California Endowment Health Journalism Fellowships for two years and helped launch a magazine for South Asian American women). I am a consulting editor to the Journal of Asian Studies and the co-editor of a book of narratives essays about China, Chinese Characters, published by UC Press in 2012.

Read more on About…