Pop-up bookstore in Shanghai to host different Chinese author every day for two months

Despite its tiny dimensions, the shop in former French concession promises literature lovers 3,000 ‘quality’ titles

PUBLISHED : Monday, 06 November, 2017, 5:06pm
UPDATED : Monday, 06 November, 2017, 5:09pm

Literature fans in Shanghai flocked to a tiny pop-up bookshop in the former French concession on Sunday for the first of a planned 60 visits by some of China’s most celebrated writers.

Over the next two months, a different author will visit the compact concept store – it covers just 30 square metres – each day to read from their work, recommend their favourite books and share their personal collections, news website Thepaper.cn reported on Monday.

The shop, located within the Sinan Mansions development, welcomed Leo Ou-fan Lee as its first guest over the weekend and crowds of people queued for the chance to hear him speak.

The 75-year-old Harvard University professor read from his book Shanghai Modern. First published in 1999, it explores Shanghai between 1930 and 1945, when its publishing and filmmaking industries were nurturing a new generation of artists.

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“What makes Shanghai precious today is the preservation of culture,” Lee was quoted as saying.

“I am respectful of authors such as [Shanghai-based] Chen Danyan, who writes about old Shanghai. She reminds us that life is about creativity and originality.”

Among the other authors set to visit over the coming weeks are Jin Yucheng, Pan Xiangli, Xiao Bai, Cai Jun, Zhou Jianing and Lu Nei, the report said.

The bookshop does not have a name, but the idea for it came jointly from the Shanghai Writers’ Association, Shanghai Century Publishing Group and real estate developer Shanghai Yongye Enterprise, under the guidance of the city government.

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Despite its compact dimensions, thanks to some clever interior design, the store’s movable shelves carry about 3,000 titles, the report said.

And visitors can expect plenty of variety, Shen Yu, the person in charge of stock selection, was quoted as saying.

“We care about the quality of the books rather than if they are bestsellers,” he said.

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An unnamed visitor to the opening event, said: “It’s such a great idea to have a different author every day. This place deserves to be called the cultural heart of Shanghai.”

The store will be disassembled after the 60-day exhibition period, the report said. It did not say if it would reopen elsewhere in the future.