In 1946, George Orwell articulated the reasons why he put pen to paper in an essay entitled Why I Write.
In this Web series, authors talk about their literary habits and reading preferences,
and examine Orwell's question that lies at the heart of being an author—why they write.

Graham Earnshaw

Tales of Old Shanghai


Graham Earnshaw is a publisher and author of One Your Own in China (1984) and The Life and Death of a Dotcom in China (2000). His translation of the Jin Yong kung fu novel Book and Sword was published in 2004. Tales of Old Shanghai, the first in the ‘Tales’ series, was published in 2008.


Why I write
To express myself, to celebrate the power of words, and to prove I can. The more you write the better you get.


Do you write every day? If so, how many hours?
If email and Gchat are included, and they should be, then yes, I write every day, pretty much all day. Email/Gchat is a different writing style, but have their own challenges and advantages. I don’t Twitter.


Worst source of distraction?
Right now, a little program called Logic 9.


Best source of inspiration?


How often do you get writers’ block / doubt your own ability?
I always seem to be able to write. Once you start, it will flow. Don’t start, it won’t. The trick is not to wait for the Muse. She won’t come unless you’re doing it.


Contemporary writer in any medium who you never miss?
Maureen Dowd, Cory Doctorow, Seymour Hersh, and the guy who does the Rifftides blog.


Favorite Chinese writer?
Lynn Pan.


Best book about China?
Peter Hessler’s River Town has stood the test of time well.


Favorite book?
Varies from month to month, year to year. I’ll go with Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World by Jack Weatherford.


Favorite writer?
Dave Barry… William Safire… Evelyn Waugh… impossible question to answer.


The book you know you should have read but haven’t?
The Story of the Stone. I’ve read parts, but not all.


You look back at the first thing you had published and think…
Wasted opportunity, could have been better in so many ways.


Does writing change anything?
Oh yes. Ideas are very powerful.


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Posted on: March 12th, 2013 by JFK Miller No Comments