Some feng but also plenty shui in five China homes

Some feng but also plenty shui in five China homes
© Miodrag Kojadinović 2014 from a roof balcony of an admin building at Guangzhou University on the Higher Education Mega-Centre island in Guangzhou, Guangdong
The trials and tribulations but also joys and pleasures of life in China homes for non-Chinese over 11 years (ie 2 x 4, with a 3-year break inbetween)

Miodrag Kojadinović
Belgrade, Serbia
Team members
Miodrag Kojadinović
Field of work
Photography, Communication, Research, Other
Project category
Project submitted

I am a Serbian-Canadian writer, lecturer, editor, and translator who has taught at four universities and two colleges in China for 8 years. Before that, I have researched and taught at universities in Norway, Serbia, Holalnd and Hungary (for a year or longer each) and Latvia, Turkey and Belgium (for 1-3 months each). In the past I was also a translator/interpreter of three embassies to Belgrade, print journalist in Vancouver and radio co-host of a weekly broadcast in Amsterdam.

My own books:
• Under Thunderous Skies, ISBN 9789888273331, Earnshaw Books, Hong Kong, 2015
• Érotiques Suprèmes, ISBN 9780692516690, Choose the Sword, San Mateo, CA, USA, 2015

Books I edited:
• Čitanka istopolnih studija, ISBN 9788690260515, Belgrade, Serbia, 2001
• Birkensnake VI: Neverending Tales anthology, Providence, RI (USA), 2013 (one of two co-editors)

Shorter than books:
Hundreds of individual pieces in English, Serbian, French, Russian, Portuguese, Chinese, Hebrew, Dutch, German, Hungarian, Frisian, Slovenian... in anthologies and journals in 20+ countries on 4 continents (North America, Europe, Asia, Oceania). Full list available upon request.

Select Literary Prizes :
• 2016 Lambda Literature Award for the best book in its genre published in English during 2015 (awarded in New York City) for Érotiques Suprèmes (the book itself is in English, just the title is in French)
• 2012 First Prize for short story in English at the trilingual competition of the 1st Macau Literary Festival “Rota das Letras” (Macau)
• 2011 One of ten equal prize winners, ntergenerational Storytelling Contest (Colorado Springs)
• 2011 Top Prize winner in Simha Kabiljo Short Story Competition with a Jewish Topic in Countries-Heirs to Former Yugoslavia (Opatija, Croatia)
• 2011 1st Prize winner for Amazing Guangxi Essay Competition (Nanning, China)
• 2010 Grand Prize winner & 1st prize winner for non-fiction, WriteQueer London (London, UK)

The few colleagues I keep in touch from my years in China, “foreign experts” as I was known, tell me I would not be able to recognise the campus of the Guangxi University where I taught 2005-2008, that the six storey buildings housing expat teachers, and the ones across, where foreign students lived have all been pulled down and replaced with new development.

China is changing at an enormous pace, likely unprecedented except maybe in a few North American cities before the Great Depression. And yet, as in Daphne du Maurier’s classic Rebecca “last night I dreamt I went to” Nanning of my younger days.

The five buildings at the four universities and a college I taught at marked me personally, my understanding of China and that of my fellow-foreigners, but also of Chinese understanding of us.

Each had a unique, distinct socio-cultural context closely related to it (Cultural Revolution and its aftermath in the late 1980s, Sun Yat-Sen, Portuguese occupation of Macau, modern post-Deng Xiao Ping China), Spiritus Loci (just two out of five were in the same, but colossally huge city of Canton, over 15 km apart, so the feeling was quite different). The problems were unique to each: a 3-room flat for a single person where one room was unusable because of a leak from above bathroom; a detached apartment in a city highrise from the 1960s in a shared apartment (this only in Macau), a sixth (top) floor with no elevator and a roof leak, which I described in my story published in 2 anthologies and my own collection etc.

This also gave context to how the administration dealt with issues in accordance with personal Weltanschauung and the repercussions thereof on my own and lives of my fellow-teachers.

So it is this contextualisation and social critique that I — as an internationally recognised writer especially good in describing faraway locales and details, rather than a mere narrative flow — can introduce to this project to make it a perfect, easy and interesting book.