In September 2022, Five Leaves Bookshop started its (online) journey around the world’s UNESCO Cities of Literature with a visit to Québec City. One of the cities on the tour was Nanjing in China, where Shreya Sen-Handley met Ding Jie.
Both writers are multi-talented – Shreya has written in many formats including memoir, poetry, fiction, plays, opera, and journalism. She has also illustrated children’s books. Ding Jie is not only a novelist, but he is also a fine artist.
Nanjing UNESCO City of Literature were kind enough to ship us some physical prints of Ding Jie’s paintings to hang in the bookshop, and they’ve also sent us digital images of those and others. As Shreya is no mean artist herself, we thought it would be fitting to host an online gallery of both their work. We hope you enjoy this departure from our usual focus on words!
Ding Jie is a best-selling writer and artist. His novel Snuggling (依偎) won the Asian Youth Literature Award in 2014 and the English translation was launched at the London Book Fair. He has published over 20 works, including novels Excitement (亢奋) and Pursuit (追问), and an artworks collection, Ding Jie’s Literati Paintings. Several of his works have ranked among China’s Top 10 Bestsellers. He has received many literary awards across China, including the China Book Prize and the China Contemporary Novels Award
Ding Jie currently serves as Vice President of Jiangsu Provincial Association of Writers, Vice President of Jiangsu Provincial Association for Classic Poetry Studies, Consultant for Nanjing UNESCO City of Literature, and Adjunct Professor at several universities, including Nanjing University of Aeronautic and Astronautic and Nanjing University of the Arts.
A Big Luck (2022)
World Series – Heavenly Bodies
Four Fish of Luck – Everything is Going My Way
A Flourishing Family (2021)
A Lotus Pond (2022)
Fish of the Year (2020)
Ding Jie’s paintings in Five Leaves Bookshop
Nanjing UNESCO City of Literature kindly sent us six of Ding Jie’s paintings to hang in the bookshop so our customers could enjoy them. We’ve had to put up a special rail to hang four of them in the window, but I think you’ll agree it’s worth it!
Shreya Sen-Handley began her career as a television journalist and producer in India. She wrote monthly columns for Indian newspapers and has continued to do so since moving to Nottingham, as well as writing for other publications such as National Geographic. She has published three books: Memoirs of My Body, Strange (short stories), and Handle with Care (travelogue), all of which have been bestsellers in India. She has had a play performed, and written for opera with the Welsh National Opera. She has made music videos for MTV and continues to make short films. She lives in Sherwood Forest with her husband, two children and a dog.
Illustration for ‘The Pledge’
This illustration for the Welsh National Opera’s Creating Change film series in 2020, is for my poem/song ‘The Pledge’, which formed the basis for two films, and depicts the Hindu Goddess Durga at war against the forces of darkness.
Illustration for The Merry Adventures of Harshabardhan and Gobardhan
An illustration for the children’s book The Merry Adventures of Harshabardhan and Gobardhan, published by Hachette in 2014, depicting the comic pair having a traditional Bengali meal with their family.
Illustration for Memoirs of My Body
An internal illustration for my award-winning debut book Memoirs of My Body, on gender, sexuality and health, published by HarperCollins in 2017, depicting the young person’s journey towards understanding their bodies.
Illustration for Memoirs of My Body
An internal illustration Memoirs of My Body, depicting one of the many misadventures related in the book.
Where We Call Home cover illustration
My cover illustration for the book ‘Where We call Home’, an anthology of children’s writing on what home means to them, published by Young Hustlers, Nottingham City Council, and Nottingham UNESCO City of Literature, in 2019.
Cover Illustrations for The Merry Adventures of Harshabardhan and Gobardhan
My cover illustrations for the children’s book The Merry Adventures of Harshabardhan and Gobardhan, published by Hachette in 2014, a compilation of the classic Bengali comic stories by Shibram Chakraborty, translated into English by Arunava Sinha.
Shreya Sen-Handley’s illustrations in Phoenix Cloud Bookstore, Nanjing