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Yuan Yang for Private Revolutions: Coming of Age in New China, a Toppings Event

17 June @ 6:30 pm 8:30 pm

Yuan Yang for Private Revolutions

Join Toppings for an evening with Yuan Yang for Private Revolutions: Coming of Age in a New China, a sweeping yet intimate portrait of modern China told through the lives of four ordinary women, each striving for a better future in an unequal society.

A Sunday Times, Observer, Waterstones and BBC Highlight for 2024

‘Beautiful, immersive . . . Told through the lives of four extraordinarily resilient and idealistic Chinese women’ JULIA LOVELL

‘A book of delights. Yuan Yang shows us the real China in all its complexity’ JOHN SIMPSON

‘A revelatory, moving and tender tale of hopes, fears and change’ PETER FRANKOPAN

This is a book about the coming of age of four women born in China in the 1980s and 1990s, dreaming of a better life.

It is about Leiya, who wants to escape the fate of the women in her village. Still underage, she bluffs her way on to the factory floor. It is about June, who at fifteen sets what her family thinks is an impossible goal: to attend university rather than raise pigs. It is about Siyue, ranked second-to-bottom of her English class, who decides to prove her teachers wrong. And it is about Sam, who becomes convinced that the only way to change her country is to become an activist – even as the authorities slowly take her peers from the streets.

With unprecedented access to the lives, hopes, homes, dreams and diaries of four ordinary women over a period of six years, Private Revolutions gives a voice to those whose stories go untold. At a time of rising state censorship and suppression, it unearths the identity of modern Chinese society – and, through the telling, something of our own.

Yuan Yang was born in 1990 in China, where she lived with her grandparents for four years before her parents brought her to the UK. She returned to China as an adult, posted there as a correspondent for the Financial Times; after the mass expulsion of journalists from China in 2020, she was one of the few journalists writing in English left in the country. She moved back to the FT‘s London headquarters as their first China-Europe Correspondent, and at the end of 2023 was selected as the Labour Party’s parliamentary candidate for the new constituency of Earley and Woodley. Private Revolutions is her first book.

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