Making sure there’s enough to go around isn’t confined to the dinner table. Part of our mission is to help people of all ages and walks of life reach their potential, and we’ve founded a variety of projects to reach out and give back.
The Shanghai International Literary Festival is China’s leading English-language literary festival, creating a dialogue between writers and readers along Shanghai’s famous Bund. Founded and organized by Michelle Garnaut of the M Restaurant Group, each year the festival brings together emerging and established writers of all genres for a taste of the current literary landscape.
About Literary Festival
Each festival spans two weekends and includes panel discussions, literary lunches, workshops and live events throughout the week as well as kids’ sessions, big names and more on the weekend. All sessions are uploaded online via the festival podcast (available on iTunes, Stitcher and Google Play).
Over the past 18 years, the Shanghai International Literary Festival has hosted over 1,000 writers and has seen some of the world’s greatest writers and thinkers in conversation.
Listen to the conversations from years past.
The Shanghai International Literary Festival PodcastThe Shanghai International Literary Festival Podcast
Sessions are primarily in English, though some are held in other languages as well. The festivals feature both acclaimed and emerging writers and winners of the world’s leading literary prizes, including the Pulitzer Prize for fiction, the Man Booker Prize, the National Book Award for Fiction, the Miles Franklin Award, the Commonwealth Writers Prize and many others.
The festivals are entirely not-for-profit and we rely on the generous contribution of our sponsors and partners to help underwrite the substantial costs involved and to make it possible.
Read about the Shanghai International Literary Festivals of previous years:
About M Literary Residency
After 10 years bringing budding literary talents from around the world to Shanghai, the M Literary Residency is taking 2021 as a year of reflection. In order to provide outstanding and inspiring residency experiences to our recipients who could not travel to Shanghai last year, we will not be accepting new applications. In the meantime, we want to take a moment to review our focus and format in preparation for 2022.
When we began the M Literary Residency in 2010 its aim was to encourage a true exchange of ideas between cultures; to foster artistic, cultural and intellectual links between individuals and communities locally and internationally. Since then, we have supported seven generations of writers in residencies in China and India and have seen more than 24 books published as a result, many of which have been shortlisted and longlisted for major world literary prizes like the Man Booker. Our esteemed alumni include Malaysian novelist Tash Aw, whose novel Five Star Billionaire was longlisted for the 2013 Man Booker Prize; Italian novelist, actress and award-winning screenwriter Francesca Marciano; and Canadian novelist, poet and musician Madeleine Thein, whose novel Do Not Say We Have Nothing, written during her stay in Shanghai, was shortlisted for the 2016 Man Booker Prize.
If you are interested in the writing and careers of our past residents, please explore the bios and testimonials on this page; we are incredibly proud of all they have achieved.
In 2021, we remain committed to our international, intercultural aims. However, the world has changed a lot in the last decade, and we believe that it is now time for us to change too. Amongst other initiatives, we want to focus on promoting international perspectives amongst writers in China and on providing the right experience for emerging authors today. As we reflect on our priorities and capabilities this year, the M Literary Residency may take on a new form when it returns. We are excited to share our growth and development with you, so please check back later for more information if you are interested in applying in future years.
The M Literary Residency 2019-2020
We are delighted to introduce the recipients of the 2019/2020 M Literary Residency:
JULIET PETRUS is a classical singer and Chinese music specialist. She will use her time in Shanghai to complete the manuscript of the upcoming release, SINGING IN MANDARIN, the next edition in the ‘Singing in’ Vocal Diction Series for the American publisher Rowman and Littlefield. The M Literary Residency will allow Juliet close collaboration with her co-writer Katherine Chu, who is based in Suzhou, and give her access to the resources unique to the classical vocal music scene in Shanghai and China.
STEVEN SCHWANKERT’s book project is to solve the mystery of one of China’s forgotten maritime disasters; one that claimed more lives than the Titanic and that is unexplained to this day, more than 70 years later. It’s the story of one of the world’s great shipwrecks, the victims of which could have been observed boarding and setting off from where M on the Bund and M Glam now stand.
VARSHA UPRAITY is a Nepali writer and researcher, currently based in Kathmandu. She writes poems and narrative fiction and has academic interests in the relationship between gender and resilience in the aftermath of traumatic phenomenon. She is currently working on two independent projects; a collection of short stories revolving around the experiences of women in contemporary Kathmandu, and a novel that tells the story of a man who disappears and the impact of this event on seven people who know him.
For more information, please contact Jane Chen at firstname.lastname@example.org.
M Residency Recipients 2018 – 2019
Shanghai: Jeremy Tiang
Shanghai, March 16, 2018 – M Restaurant Group is thrilled to announce the winner of the 2018 M Literary Residency. Jeremy Tiang has been chosen for the residency in Shanghai.
Jeremy Tiang is the author of State of Emergency and It Never Rains of National Day (shortlisted fo rthe Singapore Literature Prize), and the translator of more than ten books from Chinese, including novels by Zhang Yueran, Chan Ho-Kei, Yeng Pway Ngon and Tianxia Bachang. Hehas been awarded an NEA Literary Translation Fellowship, a Henry Luce Foundation Fellowship, and the People’s Literature Prize Mao-Tai Cup for translation. He lives in Brooklyn.
“There is something a bit magical about Embankment House, where the M residency is contained. Its bulk looms over Suzhou Creek, and from my top floor window I could watch the skyscrapers of Pudong rising through the fog. (It surely wasn’t misty the whole time I was in Shanghai, but that is my most vivid memory of the city.) I later found out that the building was originally shorter, and the upper storeys were a later addition. It seems fitting that the space I occupied was once empty air – though of course that’s true of all places, and just as true that they will one day be empty air again.
I spent some of my days wandering the city, getting to know it (both for myself and through the eyes of my characters, many of whom are encountering Shanghai for the first time) – but just as often, I holed up in the flat and wrote, sometimes forgetting to eat until I emerged, semi-feral, in search of food. Listening to the neighbors shout in Shanghainese, a dialect I do not speak, I tried to work out whether they were quarrelling or merely exuberant.
Apparently, a number of M residency novels end up being set in Embankment House, and that makes perfect sense. The place imprints itself on the imagination, as does the city. As I continue working on my novel, I find this geography remains fresh in my mind. However it turns out, I will always be grateful to have had these two months, in this place carved out of empty air.”
M LITERARY RESIDENTS TALK ABOUT THEIR RESIDENCY EXPERIENCE
Open to budding literary talents from around the world aged 21 and above, M Literary Residency allows writers with an interest in China to deepen their understanding of this vital and fascinating cultural well. Fully funded by M Restaurant Group, the residency aims to foster artistic, cultural and intellectual links between individuals and communities, and grows its roots in the Shanghai and Beijing Literary Festivals, which are also founded by Michelle Garnaut and M Restaurant Group.
Now presenting its seventh generation of residents, M Literary Residency already commands an esteemed list of past recipients, including Malaysian novelist Tash Aw, whose novel Five Star Billionaire was longlisted for the 2013 Man Booker Prize and is currently being adapted to film in Shanghai, Italian novelist, actress and award-winning screenwriter Francesca Marciano, and Indian novelist, poet, musician and Madeleine Thien, whose novel Do Not Say We Have Nothing, written during her stay in Shanghai, was shortlisted for the 2016 Man Booker Prize.
We asked our previous M Literary Residents to tell us about their Residency experiences, and how the Residencies benefited their writing. If you’re considering applying for an upcoming Residency, be sure to read the testimonials:
2010 Shanghai Tash Aw
2010 India Colie Hoffman
2011 India Francesca Marciano
2013 Shanghai Madeleine Thien
2014 Shanghai Jeet Thayil
2014 India Liam Pieper
2015 India Giles Hazelgrove
2016 Shanghai Meng Jin
2017 Shanghai Fiona Wright
2017 Beijing Diana Xin
2019 Shanghai Steven Schwankert
We are delighted to share the news that Mentor Walks have been established in Hong Kong, Sydney, Brisbane and Wagga Wagga (of all places!).
What’s the first step in founding an NGO? What should you know before setting up a business in China? How do you get your artwork into a gallery? Whether you’re someone with a million questions or someone who has a few of the answers, Mentor Walks is the place for you. Here, on Friday mornings in Beijing and Shanghai, women who’ve learned a thing or two about working and thriving in China lend a hand to their up-and-coming counterparts, while taking a walk in the park.
“The programme brings together established and emerging women leaders in our community for a morning walk to discuss professional and personal successes, challenges, and aspirations”
Bring questions. Bring your experience. And join the community.
Begun in 2015 by Michelle Garnaut, the International Professional Women’s Society (IPWS), and the Shanghai British, American, and Australian Chamers of Commerce, the Mentor Walks program brings together women from all background and experiences. Every month, groups of 3-5 mentees – young professional women who have begun to make their mark walk with a mentor who shares their interests, whether in finance, the arts, foreign affairs, international development, law, architecture, hospitality or any number of other fields. It’s an invaluable chance to get advice, perspective and honest feedback from a seasoned professional.
Beijing Schedule 2021
- Friday, September 17
- Saturday, November 6
Shanghai Schedule 2021
- Sat. March 13
- Fri. April 9
- Fri. May 14
- Fri. June 11
- Fri. July 9
- Fri. August 13
- Fri. September 10
- Fri. October 15
- Sat. November 13
Where It All Began…
In 2003, M founder, Michelle Garnaut, joined forces with Josephine Price, a private equity banker, an Paula Delisle, a management consultant, to see what they could contribute to the growing world of grassroots NGOs in China. They soon focused on the arid, remote villages of Shaanxi and Gansu Provinces, where business opportunities are few and modern amenities scarce, and founded the Village People Project, dedicated to building solar-powered bathhouses that are then run as businesses by local families. Since then, four bathhouses have opened, and in 2015 alone, more than 7,000 showers were taken.
The Village People Project Today:
Now, VPP is working in concert with Lotus Charity Association to install bathrooms with solar-powered water heaters in the homes of more than 2,000 families in Qinghai Province in its third village.
Two more villages are still waiting for funding for their bathrooms – and you can help.
“VPP believes that solutions should not only be ecologically and economically sustainable, but also community-driven. Therefore, VPP promotes community involvement and leadership throughout all projects”
Educating Girls in Rural China
Educating Girls of Rural China is dedicated to provided high school and university educations to impoverished young women from rural regions of Western China through financial sponsorship, personal support and mentorship.
The traditional belief for Chinese families is that having a son is vital. Some families will have six, seven or more children in the attempt to produce a son. The son would receive all the opportunities to advance himself. In contrast, daughters are expected to take care of their male siblings, marry early or take jobs to support their families.
In most people’s eyes China is a wealthy country today. But in rural regions, where EGRC works, people live in a different world. EGRC is selecting girls who are in most desperate situations but who are determined to change their lives through education.
EGRC has provided the girft of education to 695 girls from the poorest regions of rural China.
The girls have achieved a 100% graduation rate.
The Renewal Center
People come to The Renewal Center with complex problems. Some have addictions. Other have lost touch with family or been in trouble with the law. Some have spent many years without stability, have lost confidence and are unable to find a job, a permanent home, or in some cases even to stay clean and eat well.
Your support helps us work with each person as an individual through four important stages: Essential Services, Life Skills Workshops, Work Experiences and Employment & Support.
From a shower and clean clothes to safe shelter and job training, your gifts provide everything a person needs to turn their life around.
Visit the Renewal Center WebsiteVisit the Renewal Center Website