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On The Noodle Road
 – A book talk with Jen Lin-Liu


On The Noodle Road
 – A book talk with Jen Lin-Liu

Thursday, September 12, 7.30 pm

Admission Free

A food writer travels the Silk Road, immersing herself in a moveable feast of foods and cultures and discovering some surprising truths about commitment, independence, and love.

Feasting her way through an Italian honeymoon, Jen Lin-Liu was struck by culinary echoes of the delicacies she ate and cooked back in China, where she’d lived for more than a decade. Who really invented the noodle? she wondered, like many before her. But also: How had food and culture moved along the Silk Road, the ancient trade route linking Asia to Europe—and what could still be felt of those long-ago migrations? With her new husband’s blessing, she set out to discover the connections, both historical and personal, eating a path through western China and on into Central Asia, Iran, Turkey, and across the Mediterranean.

The journey takes Lin-Liu into the private kitchens where the headscarves come off and women not only knead and simmer but also confess and confide. The thin rounds of dough stuffed with meat that are dumplings in Beijing evolve into manti in Turkey—their tiny size the measure of a bride’s worth—and end as tortellini in Italy. And as she stirs and samples, listening to the women talk about their lives and longings, Lin-Liu gains a new appreciation of her own marriage, learning to savor the sweetness of love freely chosen.


Q and A with Vicky Mohieddeen, Curator of EUFF Shorts

The Bookworm will be hosting three days of short films as part of the EUFF. Showings are free to attend and there will be specials on food and drinks. The films will be shown in the original language with English and Chinese subtitle. Check here for the full schedule!

Below, read our interview with Vicky Mohieddeen, founder of Electric Shadows and curator of this year’s EUFF Shorts.

Bookworm: What is EUFF?

Vicky Mohieddeen: EUFF is the European Union Film Festival in China, a chance for all 27 European member states to showcase the best of their national cinema, and help create cultural bridges between Europe and China.
BW: What does it mean to be a curator?

VM: A short film curator’s job is not only to select certain films but to put them together in interesting ways, creating new stories and
meaning through juxtaposition. The challenge with EUFF: SHORTS was finding a way to create cohesive strands with extremely diverse source material.
BW: How many entries?

VM: We viewed over 100 films from all over Europe to create the programmes.

BW: How many were chosen to be included? How did you choose?

VM: We included one film from every country which submitted – 18 in total. We wanted films which evoked a stunning sense of place and after selecting the films which reached this goal best, I started places the films in different combinations and identifying common themes and selected films which told interesting stories through place and brought a new sense of storytelling to the Chinese audience.

BW: Did you have any favorites? Why?

VM: I absolutely love the UK entry PARIS/SEXY – although it’s pretty difficult to watch at times, it is one of the most beautifully shot
films I’ve ever seen. The Dutch film JACCO’S FILM is funny, interesting and heartfelt – it’s a great short, very enjoyable and from the second programme the French film WALKING is an absolute pleasure!

EU Film Festival Shorts Full Schedule

The Bookworm will be hosting three days of short films as part of the EUFF. Showings are free to attend and there will be specials on food and drinks. The films will be shown in the original language with English and Chinese subtitle.

About EUFF Shorts:

A dynamic selection of short films from cutting-edge European filmmakers. Experience the diversity of Europe fromt he frozen arctic circle to the sun-soaked Mediterranean coast; from forests and farmland to cities and skyscrapers. These short films will show you that Europe is not only one landscape or climate or culture. Europe is many places, many people and many stories.

Friday, November 16 7pm

Saturday, November 17 7pm
Sunday, November 18 7pm 


Friday 16 November 7pm 


Dir: Ivan Pavljutskov, Estonia, 18mins

Boy Zakhar desperately tries to enter hide and seek game with other village boys. Situation changes after Zakhar meets a mysterious fellow Sasha… This film is based on a novel of the same name by Zakhar Prilepin.


Dir: Maximilian Liebich, Austria, 18mins

The playfulness of a child by a stream turns to a trip into natural forms and disarrangements of microcultures – A notional maze of fear and beauty.


Dir: Martin De Thurah, Denmark, 25mins

The world, as we know it, is changing. Buried in problems, worried that tomorrow may turn out worse than today, adults warn children and each other that the world is “an evil and horrible place”. One day, the hopelessness and despair overwhelms them.  The blood of the adults turns from red to gray and then they leave – just disappear and no one knows where they go. The children are the last survivors – with dreams and hopes of the future – but left on their own, will they manage to fend for themselves?


Dir: Orla Walsh, Ireland, 5mins

A surfing duel breaks out between a male and female surfer off the West Coast of Ireland. Breaking waves, racing hearts, and the treachery of Lycra.



Dir: Arūnas Matelis, Audrius Stonys, Lithuania, 11mins

The film features an incredibly low angel’s flight over the dunes of Nida, Trakai castle, the lakes of Aukštaitija (Highlands), the roofs of the Old Town of Vilnius and the fantastically beautiful church steeples. It’s like a mystical gliding just above the treetops, meadows covered by early morning mist, as well as the narrow streets of Vilnius.



Dir: Daan Bakker, Netherlands, 25mins

Jacco is a scientist, an explorer, a musician, a philosopher, an architect and a top athlete. At the moment he’s still living with his parents – after all, he is still only ten years old. While his mother and father argue, he shows us how much he knows about deep-sea fishing, how to spy on the neighbourhood with a telescope and the advantages of an underground hut. In Jacco’s world there are no problems that can’t be solved – unlike the small war his parents are engaged in every day.


Saturday 17 November 7:00pm



Dir: Jeanne Herry, France, 15mins

A woman is about to become a grandmother. Nothing changed in her daily life, and yet… Just like every week, this renowned actress walks to her English lesson. But on the way, and after succession of unexpected encounters, she sees the extent to which the imminent birth of the child occupies her.


Dir: Anne Milne, Spain, 16mins

This film beautifully observes Maria who is positioned on a famed pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela in Spain, one woman’s calling is to sit by the narrow thoroughfare greeting and counting the travelers as they pass by. 


Dir: Polly Hulse & Jez Butler, Malta, 4mins

This film highlights the charm and eclectic ‘do-it-yourself’ artistry applied to shop signage in Malta. Such signage has remained unchanged for decades.


Dir: Matjaž Tančič & Marko Murč , Slovenia, 15mins

Young artists Matjaž Tančič and Marko Murč have travelled to the picturesque villages of Slovenia and visited a number of outstanding individuals – People of the older generation that found a passion of their lives – such a strong passion, that they are still living it, still working, still creating and are still prepared to share their priceless stories with the younger generation. Many of them devoted their life to the occupation which does not exist anymore or is very unique.  They are remembering the times in which they have lived (or they may still be living) their passions. Stories of the past for the future.


Dir: Astrid Bussink, Hungary, 30mins

Gradually we discover the extent of the ‘arsenic murders’ that were discovered in 1929, when a large group of women of the village where arrested for poisoning their husbands with arsenic. Rather than presenting the historic facts, the film shows us how the older members of village remember the events and how they reflect on it. The villagers’ stories give us a better insight into the circumstances surrounding the murders as well as an insight into the ongoing male-female saga.

PROGRAMME 3: DISQUIET Sunday 18 November 7:00pm



Dir: João Salaviza, Portugal, 15mins

Mauro is under house arrest. Tattooing helps him while away the time. Three local kids taunt him through his window. Outside, the midday sun beats down. This film was the first Portugese film to win the Palm D’Or at Cannes.


Dir: Marta Minorowicz, Poland, 23mins

It is the last days of the summer holidays. A grandfather, who works in the Bieszczady Mountains, awaits the arrival of his grandson. Surrounded by wild nature they try to reach an understanding of each other. The camera keenly and poetically observes, with slow and subtle pace, their developing relationship to one another and to the world that envelopes them.


Dir: Ruth Paxton, UK, 23mins

Greer’s weird.  Everyone in the Village thinks so…

This ravishingly visual short takes the audience on a beautiful journey to its dark heart with compelling performances by Kim Chapman, Finbar Furey, Elisa Lasowski and Martin Compston.  Ruth Paxton has written and directed a captivating tragedy where virtue is not rewarded and dreams don’t come true. 


Dir: Elina Talvensaari, Finland, 19mins

Visitors from a distant place appear in the misty swamps of Northern Finland. The locals grow restless – things are changing, secret berry spots are revealed and everything is getting uncomfortable. Who is to blame and who is profiting from all this? How to Pick Berries is an exploration of Finnish mind and the absurdities of global economy.


Dir: Erik Rosenlund, Sweden, 15mins

A woman on her way home becomes a victim of a strange infection.
She soon realizes that an epidemic is spreading and there are larger forces at work. While struggling to find a cure she also discovers that desperate times require hard choices.



Dir: Michal Žabka, Czech Republic, 12mins

Mrs. G. is a puppet love story full of funny situations that can occur during the co-existence of a man and his unusual female life-partner. You can expect humor, romance, and at times even thrills.

Thanksgiving at The Bookworm

Join The Bookworm November 23, 24 and 25 for a special Thanksgiving dinner. All the classics served family style.

Thanksgiving is right around the corner and and The Bookworm family would like to invite you and your family to join us. Menu items will include the traditional spread: Turkey, port wine, maple-honey glazed baked ham, stuffing, sweet potatoes, garlic “smashed’ potatoes, wild mushrooms, brussel sprouts, biscuits and gravy and, of course, Pumpkin Pie.

If you have any special menu requests, please email Andrew at and he will see what he can do to make your holiday that much more special. No guarantees and prices subject to change. Email for reservations or more information.

The Poetry Project – Photo Gallery

Here are some snaps from The Poetry Project events: show at 2Kolegas with Residence A, Interschool Slam and workshop with 二中students.

The Poetry Project at The Bookworm Beijing

The Bookworm’s Poetry Project is a celebration of the art of contemporary spoken word. From school workshops and an inter-school battle, to public performances at The Bookworm and genre-defying showcases at venues around Beijing, The Poetry Project is a two-week immersion into performance poetry for all ages.

The Poets

Bodhan Piasecki

Bodhan Piasecki is a poet from Poland currently based in the UK. He has featured at some of the country’s most exciting spoken word nights and festivals and has completed several international poetry tours. Piasecki is Poland’s first Slam poet and launched the first Poetry Slams in the Cultural Palace in Warsaw. Piasecki writes and performs in English and Polish. Piasecki’s performances deliver a mix of languages, cultures, rhythms and mediums.

Omar Musa

Malaysian-Australia rapper and poet Omar Musa is on a mission is to “introduce a new level of poetry to Australian hip- hop”. Musa has won numerous awards for poetry and music, including the Australian Poetry Slam and the Indian Ocean Poetry Slam. He has released a book of poetry and three hip-hop albums recorded in the USA and has toured throughout Asia, Europe and Australia, for writers festivals and hip-hop shows, including tour support for Gil Scott-Heron.

Luka Lesson

An Australian writer whose work blends hip-hop, poetry and music, Luka Lesson brings his dynamic and powerful spoken word performance to our stage. Blending roof-raising hip-hop bravado with social consciousness, Lesson creates an unforgettable experience for every audience. The winner of the 2011 Australian National Slam Championship, Lesson is the cofounder and co-director of The Centre for Poetics and Justice, an organization that uses poetry for community engagement and development. He has spent years conducting hip-hop or poetry workshops with Indigenous, Islander, African and other marginalized communities in Australia.

The Poetry Project is brought to in part by the Australian Embassy and the Polish Embassy.

Ian Johnson on Yu Hua and Chinese Literaure

Yu Hua at BLF 2012

In the October issue of the New York Review of Books, Ian Johnson (Wild Grass, Chinese Characters) profiles fellow Bookworm Literary Festival participant Yu Hua (Brothers, To Live, China in Ten Words). After spending some time with the author in Yu’s hometown Hangzhou, Johnson muses that “[Yu’s] bawdy books might not be purely fictional; their characters and situations seemed to follow him around in real life too.”

During a “boozy lunch where the head of the local writer’s association ogled the legs of the deputy head of propaganda, while a paunchy singer for the People’s Liberation Army showed off a ‘talented young lady’ he had taken under his wing,” Yu Hua “treated the local notables to jokes, innuendos about corruption, and the failings of the Communist Party” and reduces one official whimpering: “We’re neighbors, we’re neighbors. Ha-ha. He’s joking.”

Johnson notes that “Yu’s career shows how these political and literary issues are linked. While in Hangzhou, Yu and I had a chance to talk about literature and politics, and what struck me most was a comment he made on criticism. What China most lacked, he said, was publications that would help create great literature: the journals, reviews, and magazines where young writers can get a start and receive honest criticism. In China, literary journals are either politicized or open to bidding, with favorable reviews bought by authors or their publishers. This isn’t to say that all criticism in China is corrupted, but much of it is, stifling the honest give-and-take that might encourage the creation of genuinely superior work.”

Read the rest of the piece here.

Mo Yan Wins 2012 Nobel Prize in Literature

And the winner of the 2012 Nobel Prize in Literature is…

Mo Yan!

The BLF 2009 alum Mo Yan, author of Red Sorghum and Big Breasts and Wide Hips, beat out early favorite Haruki Murakami to take home the field’s top honor. Announcing the decision, The Nobel Committee cited Mo’s use of “hallucinatory realism” to merge “folk tales, history and the contemporary.”

Peter Englund, head of the Swedish Academy, says of Mo’s work:

“He writes about the peasantry, about life in the countryside, about people struggling to survive, struggling for their dignity, sometimes winning but most of the time losing. The basis for his books was laid when as a child he listened to folktales. The description magical realism has been used about him, but I think that is belittling him – this isn’t something he’s picked up from Gabriel García Márquez, but something which is very much his own. With the supernatural going in to the ordinary, he’s an extremely original narrator.”

Mo Yan in conversation with Howard Goldblatt at BLF 2009

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