Remembering the past at Qingming

Qingming Festival is also called Tomb Sweeping Day, the second of 24 solar terms on the traditional Chinese solar calendar. Other common translations include Chinese Memorial Day and Ancestors’ Day.

This is the day showing respects to ancestors, according to Northeast of Chinese custom,  every year we visited my grandmother and great grandmother’s tomb, after thoroughly cleaning up, we offered the food and drink for them, i normally talked to them about things happened in my life in front of the gravestone.

My great grandmother had a profound impact in my early years, she spent more time with me than other family members throughout my childhood. At that time, my mother was busy, my mother’s mother was busier for running a printing business, most of Chinese kids at my generation ( i think the situation remain the same, and i tried not to believe because i am a girl) was taken care by grandparents.

As I recall, she didn’t know any words but a real good storyteller, main messages were about the children who’s going out without adult’s consent would be eaten by wolf or other monsters etc, she also cooked for me, I liked her very much, given those communication i had strong Shandong accent, my mother said teachers at kindergarten made lots of efforts to change it back.

She’s a woman with small feet. When she was young, millions of Chinese women bound their feet, and she was one of them, they used a long cloth to wrap her toes, seen as beautiful, often the only way to marry the rich, they called the feet like that as ‘three-inch golden lotuses’ or  ‘San Cun Jin Lian’. ( She didn’t marry the rich though, lol.)

We were living together until I went to primary school. There’s a year, my grandmother had a terrible cold and caused her sudden heart attack, downfall of her printing business and two much pressure from family, she passed away at the day before Chinese New Year.That was my first year at junior school, my mother was busy for handling follow-up issues with my uncles, my great grandmother was back to my home again, I was feeling both sad and glad.

As the youngest grandchildren, my mother had no obligation to have her at home. I’m proud of her as she was so insist on it, such a kind woman. Part of the reasons because she took care of me well, and that was the chance to pay off her. That was the tradition of Chinese family, taking care of elder people being considered as treasured quality, she made decision to take on this responsibility, it was so rare for a Chinese career woman made this right balance between family and work,  I always appreciate her sacrifice to this family.

Great grandmother was very old that time, hearing problem, failure of vision, deterioration of the memory, still a clear minded talker, but always forgot turning off the gas after cooking, therefore my dad never smoke at home. We were still getting well, but I was getting busy on endless examinations, not spent long time with her as I recall.

My family had worked so hard so that she had enjoyed her old age. She passed away while sleeping, died at 101 years old, that was a quiet summer.



Faber Digital’s Henry Volans Offers Insight into the World of Digital and Advice for Publishing Students

Publishing By Degrees


By Chentong Hao, Publishing Correspondent at Napier

A word, which kept coming into my head throughout the whole interview is the “convincing”. As a publishing correspondent, I am duty-bound to ask the insightful questions, discovering the new angle on the existing story.

This interview was insightful and valuable enough to enlighten us to get in-depth thinking about what we have learned on this course. It reinforced what we know about the needs of the publishing employment market for the publisher-to-be. Meanwhile, those ideas mentioned successfully challenged me to think harder about how we treat the print and e-book, how we interact with the reader and the changing role of publisher, and even how we crossover with other industries. Faber Digital, first set up in 2009, is an unusual division in the Faber & Faber Publishing Company. It is slightly different from other company’s department structure, in that it is independent…

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The East Meets The Bookseller


On 14th, 15th June, the first publishing hackathon was held in London,  it was a fascinating experience to be a volunteer for “The FutureBook Hack”,  as an international student from China, I was fortunate enough to witness the first publishing hackathon in the UK, which was a remarkable event organised by The Bookseller. As an MSc Magazine student in Edinburgh Napier University with a huge obsession for both books and magazines, The Bookseller was a perfect platform for me to combine these two things together. Importantly, as a Chinese Publishing journalist, I think The Bookseller can always offer unique insights into the UK publishing world.

Although I’d previously heard of some events organised by The Bookseller, the immediate feeling I had when the first time I heard of “The Futurebook Hack”was that it would be an “obscure technology conference”. However, the reality was totally different, and “The FutureBook Hack”really engaged with publishing, bridging the digital, technology and publishing worlds. Publishers around the world are attracted by this revolutionary move in the publishing industry, and “The Futurebook Hack” was such a generous invitation to put the digital outsider into the publishing; a way of alerting people to this digital trend toward the publishing future.

My chance to be a volunteer also allowed me to encounter fabulous people here, such as the wonderfully funny host Matthew Cashmore, and the gorgeous and intelligent Alice Ryan. It was such a thrill to see so many amazing speakers from various publishing and technology companies, and to gain precious insights into their thoughts and arguments regarding the digital future. It was also a great opportunity to work with staff in The Bookseller, and inspiring to get together with these creative hacks for an endless 30 hours, an absolute joy for any digital lovers who are involved in publishing.

My favourite part of the hackathon was my interview with Henry Volans, the head of Faber Digital, this interview is both for my Chinese journalist’s job of the B2B weekly newspaper in China, China Publishing Today and for my publishing correspondent placement with Edinburgh Napier University. I treasured this opportunity so much, as Faber recently won The Bookseller Industry Award “Digital Strategy of the year”, and this excellent outcome from Faber strongly encouraged me to interview Henry Volans. To my surprise, Henry Volans also mentioned the Chinese market for publishing, “People in British publishing have a sense of the Chinese market as a very big untapped market, like the rest of the world does in so many ways”.

I consider volunteering as part of The Bookseller ideal for any publishers-to-be, and this experience will encourage publishing students to hone their existing publishing skills, and remain aware of every digital possibility to the future. Although for many the digital possibility will never offset the charm of the physical book, the optimum balance between the print and digital that is the core focus of this event is surely more representative of the future of publishing.