There was something poignant about receiving the news that sales of the audio book of Brushstrokes in Time (BiT) have been hit by hints of ‘cultural appropriation’ on the same day that Liu Xiaobo died . Liu appears briefly in my novel in the chapters on the events in Tiananmen Square in1989 . To mention those events in China puts you in danger which is why a Chinese writer couldn’t have written BiT.
My friends of every colour from the four corners of the world know my respect for different cultures and that it has informed by life. I couldn’t and wouldn’t have written BiT without interviewing Chinese people who had grown up during those years. It was my desire to tell a virtually untold story that of the courageous Stars Artists (1979) that motivated my 10 years work. My novel emerged into a strange world where empathy is not encouraged. It is trapped between a one party state that imprisons dissidents and a ‘progressive’ West which denies my ‘write‘ to walk in their shoesQu_Lei_Lei and I with BIT