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Anna May Wong Must Die!


Anna's columns for New Internationalist magazine

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Anna Chen's writing for print, web and broadcast



CHOPSTICKS AT DAWN: orientalism in Western music
13:30 Tuesday 8th June 2010
BBC Radio 4
Presented by Anna Chen
Written by Anna Chen with Dr Jonathan Walker
Produced by Chris Eldon-Lee and Culture Wise
"I always wondered how it was that those cartoon strains of cod Chinese music used to have me running for cover when I was growing up. Siouxsie And The Banshees' Hong Kong Garden, David Bowie's China Girl, Carl Douglas's Kung Fu Fighting, they're only a few examples of the sort of orientalism in music that was the bane of my young life. Who needed crude verbal epithets when a few bars of plonkery could do the job?"

More about Chopsticks At Dawn here

Anna Chen previews her personal journey through the life and crimes of the Hollywood screen legend at The Salthouse Gallery, St Ives in Cornwall, as part of the St Ives Literary Festival on Friday 8th May at 7pm. It's a multimedia show with music, film and poetry. You can watch an extract of the show as a work in progress here.

More about Anna May Wong Must Die! here


TUBE LOVE. Short story about the dangers of snogging in public with a novel horror climax.

Above the great metropolis the sky was blue, the breeze was light and the trees were in bloom. It was the first day of the year that felt like spring had arrived and they were in love. The kind of love that throws up that magical bubble of crazy happiness around your nation of two and renders you invisible to your fellow citizens. At least that’s how it felt. The thought that people weren’t looking out of politeness, embarrassment or had just eaten breakfast and didn't want to lose it, never entered their collective mind as it floated somewhere over north London. ... Read more here


Anna Chen writes and presents a half-hour profile of Hollywood's first Chinese movie star for BBC Radio 4. Broadcast 11:30, Tuesday 13th January 2009. Chosen as Pick of the Week by BBC R4, Guardian Guide, The Daily Mail, Mail on Sunday. Produced by Culture Wise.


Anna Chen writes and presents a groundbreaking ten-part series on the history of the Chinese In Britain from the first documented Chinese, Shen Foutsong, a Jesuit who was admired by James 1st and who helped to translate the Chinese books in Oxford's Bodleian Library, to the influx of the 1950s and 60s who gave us a takeaway on every High Street. Made by Culture Wise and first broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in 2007.

More about Chinese In Britain here and here


ALL GREASED UP AND NOWHERE TO GO. Short story written in answer to Private Eye's damning review of the erotic chick lit anthology, In Bed With.

"So they finally greased her up and threw her over the prison yard wall. She’d heard of this fabled activity so often in her life, as have we all. A strange unlikely event that only happens in bar-room banter and TV comedy scripts. Yet here she was. Naked. Shivering in her fresh bikini wax and three hundred dollar haircut. Oiled. Waiting. ..."
More ...


SHORT STORY: Anna serialises her short story, Jeb 'n George Go Hunting. A nasty little gothic tale of country folk. Some might think this is about what the neo-cons are doing to the rest of us... I couldn't possibly comment.


BBC Radio 4 Woman's Hour Travel Stories: Upturned Roots series
Broadcast 10.45am, Thursday 10th November 2005. Repeated at 7.45pm

So you've been brought up as a Red Guard ... in Hackney. You make your first ever visit to the motherland during the Chinese Cultural Revolution. How will clashing ideologies compete in the fragile battleground that is you? How high a price would you pay in order to belong?

Written and narrated by Anna Chen
With Kwong Loke and Carolyne Pickles
Produced and directed by Pam Fraser-Solomon
Series produced by Shabina Aslam

Click here to listen
Requires Real Player

Anna Chen Madam Miaow cultural revolution


A story of race and class
A novel in progress about some of the thousands of Chinese workers who built the transcontinental Central Pacific railroad in the 1860s through hostile terrain, and the strike that won them pride and solidarity.
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Every year BBC radio drama selects a dozen writers for their development course. This year Anna became one of those writers and co-wrote Smoked a short play for the radio with Lance Woodman. Recorded February 2004 at Bush House.


YOKO ONO: A Life In Flux, BBC Radio 3
Anna presented and co-wrote this profile of Yoko Ono the artist, and the Fluxus group of which she was a key member, in 1999 for BBC Radio 3.
Review ...


An essay on film arts and review of the special centenary edition of The Eisenstein Collection (Tartan Video, Faber & Faber). Illustrated with film stills, plus useful links
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GEORGE ORWELL: a literary revolutionary?
An essay and review of John Newsinger's book, Orwell's Politics
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THE NEXT WAVE HOME. Short story published in the 1994 anthology of new Chinese writing from London, Another Province, edited by Jessie Lim and Li Yan, foreword by Jung Chang. Runner up book in the Raymond Williams Community Publishing Award.