Upcoming Meetings

Join Us: 20 February 2023, 6.30pm

Our February 2023 choice is Cocoon by Zhang Yueran, translated from the Chinese by Jeremy Tiang (World Editions, paperback and eBook). We are delighted that Jeremy Tiang will join our discussion.

‘This novel by Zhang Yueran, a bestselling author in China from the “post-80s generation” – millennial to you and me – arrives in English on a wave of praise from Junot Díaz, Yan Lianke and Ian McEwan’ John Self, Guardian

Cheng Gong and Li Jiaqi go way back. Both hailing from dysfunctional families, they grew up together in a Chinese provincial capital in the 1980s. Now, many years later, the childhood friends reunite and discover how much they still have in common. Both have always been determined to follow the tracks of their grandparents’ generation to the heart of a mystery that perhaps should have stayed buried. What exactly happened during that rainy night in 1967, in the abandoned water tower?

‘Zhang’s prose is meticulously economical and is well served by her long-term translator, Jeremy Tiang. In this expertly constructed novel she achieves a masterful blend of narrative suspense, emotional intimacy and self-discovery: as her characters struggle to recapture their childhood friendship’ Isabel Hilton, Observer

Cocoon by Zhang Yueran, translated from the Chinese by Jeremy Tiang, is published in paperback and eBook by World Editions and is available from Litfest’s online bookshop.


Zhang Yueran is one of China’s most influential young writers. Her novel Cocoon sold more than 120,000 copies in China and has been translated into several languages. In France it was nominated for the Best Foreign Book Prize 2019 and won the Best Asian Novel of the Prix Transfuge 2019. Zhang has been chief editor of Newwriting since 2008 and teaches literature and creative writing at Renmin University in China. Cocoon was voted one of the New Yorker’s Best Books of 2022.

Zhang Yueran. Photograph © Li Jinpeng

Jeremy Tiang is a novelist, playwright and literary translator. They have translated over twenty books from across the Chinese-speaking world, including novels by Yeng Pway Ngon, Yan Ge, Lo Yi-Chin, Liu Xinwu and Zhang Yueran. They are the co-editor with Dr. Kavita Bhanot of Violent Phenomena: 21 Essays on Translation. In 2022, Tiang was the Princeton University Translator-in-Residence and an International Booker Prize judge. Originally from Singapore, they now live in Flushing, Queens.

Join The Club

To join the Litfest International Fiction Book Club, email Bill Swainson at [email protected]

You can buy a paperback copy of Cocoon and many other book club choices by going to our online bookshop and in this way – or by donating – support the book club and Litfest’s work.

Litfest’s international programme is funded by the Jan Michalski Foundation.