David Leffman

David Leffman

David Leffman was born and raised in Britain, has a degree in Photography at the London College of Printing, and spent twenty years in Australia before returning to Britain, in 2009. Since 1988, he has worked as a travel writer and editor, authoring and updating guidebooks to Australia, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Hong Kong and Iceland for Rough Guides and Dorling Kindersley. He has also helped compile a Chinese cookbook, and written articles on subjects ranging from true crime and horse racing to Chinese culture and history. In 2016, Blacksmith Books (Hong Kong) published “The Mercenary Mandarin”, his biography of the nineteenth-century British adventurer William Mesny.

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Latest from David Leffman

Singapore’s last Chinese deity statue carving shop, Say Tian Hng, is in danger of disappearing

For nearly 125 years, the family run workshop has been hand-carving statues, but competition from mass-produced products means the craft could very well die out.

23 Mar 2020 - 1:50PM

For nearly 125 years, the family run workshop has been hand-carving statues, but competition from mass-produced products means the craft could very well die out.

Singapore’s last Chinese deity statue carving shop, Say Tian Hng, is in danger of disappearing
Chinese immigrants went to Australia looking for gold and found communities. Why does so little of their legacy remain?

Driven off Queensland’s goldfields, arrivals from China pioneered trade and agriculture in the north of the country, until discriminatory legislation and changing times forced them out.

22 Feb 2020 - 7:16AM

Driven off Queensland’s goldfields, arrivals from China pioneered trade and agriculture in the north of the country, until discriminatory legislation and changing times forced them out.

Chinese immigrants went to Australia looking for gold and found communities. Why does so little of their legacy remain?
How China’s last surviving woodblock-print artists are keeping an ancient art alive

Once ubiquitous across China, woodblock printing was nearly lost amid its 20th century tumult. Today, a handful of artists scattered across the country have become unwitting guardians of a fragile tradition.

12 Jul 2019 - 10:31PM

Once ubiquitous across China, woodblock printing was nearly lost amid its 20th century tumult. Today, a handful of artists scattered across the country have become unwitting guardians of a fragile tradition.

How China’s last surviving woodblock-print artists are keeping an ancient art alive
A remote Chinese village kept a courtesan’s secret for centuries – now its founding mother takes centre stage

One of China’s great beauties, Chen Yuanyuan was born to a peasant family, orphaned and sold as a prostitute, later becoming the consort of general and despised traitor, Wu Sangui. What eventually became of her was never known, until now.

10 May 2019 - 1:14PM

One of China’s great beauties, Chen Yuanyuan was born to a peasant family, orphaned and sold as a prostitute, later becoming the consort of general and despised traitor, Wu Sangui. What eventually became of her was never known, until now.

A remote Chinese village kept a courtesan’s secret for centuries – now its founding mother takes centre stage
Smuggler, general, journalist - the China exploits of a British adventurer

William Mesny's exploits in 19th-century China are the stuff of legend and make for a thrilling book, David Leffman’s The Mercenary Mandarin

10 May 2019 - 3:32PM

William Mesny's exploits in 19th-century China are the stuff of legend and make for a thrilling book, David Leffman’s The Mercenary Mandarin

Smuggler, general, journalist - the China exploits of a British adventurer