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.

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
23 Mar 2020 - 1:50PM
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.

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?
22 Feb 2020 - 7:16AM
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.

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
12 Jul 2019 - 10:31PM
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.

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
10 May 2019 - 1:14PM
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

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
10 May 2019 - 3:32PM