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Culture and Arts
Anna Chen’s poetry, theatre, reviews and fiction
Writing by Anna Chen, London-born poet, performer and broadcaster
Anna was an early cultural outrider in the Chinese British diaspora, challenging stereotypes and carving out new ground in her creative work. Finding herself bridging two major cultures, she uncovered a vital means of expression sparked by the books, television, cinema and music of her childhood. Her embrace of the arts, linking theatre and poetry with the political conditions from which they arise, provides a sui generis perspective in remarkable circumstances.
The originality of her world-view writing can be read through the lens of groundbreaking events in her life. These include being the first homegrown Chinese Brit punk before the movement was popularised in the media; the first to take a show to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival with her stereotype-busting play Suzy Wrong – Human Cannon; presenting the trailblazing BBC series The Chinese in Britain for Radio 4; introducing a new generation to Anna May Wong, Hollywood’s first Chinese screen legend in her BBC programme, A Celestial Star in Piccadilly, and being one of the first British commentators to break rank and defend China when the West turned on it during Trump’s trade war.
ASIA TIMES – Anna Chen writes about world affairs and culture: The satirical articles originally published by Asia Times are republished at the blog.
ARTS REVIEWS PAGE: Film, theatre, TV, books and exhibitions – essays and reviews.
ARTS REVIEWS ARCHIVE: Film, theatre, book and general arts reviews over the years plus cultural commentary. How the arts and the political conditions that produce them are connected – from Anna’s arts reviews archive
Suzy Wrong – Human Cannon: How to transform your body from a soft target into a lethal weapon.
Shakedown: an epic timeline of America’s 21st war on China. Opium wars on steroids.
To come …
Coolie: a novel about the Chinese workers who built America’s first transcontinental railroad. To be serialised online for subscribers
The Covfefe Papers: 500 pages of Covid timeline to be published online for subscribers
Red Guard, Yellow Submarine: a memoir by the London-born writer, poet, broadcaster and first Chinese punk. “Growing up in the swinging sixties and seventies was great as long as it wasn’t in China, South Africa, Vietnam or the US deep south and a dozen other hotspots around the world.” Play extract performed on BBC Radio 4.
Anna Chen was an early British punk before the movement was popularised in the media. Her presence at the transition between rock and punk is captured in this iconic image on the cover of the album, Vicious But Fair