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Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award: Why I wrote The Shoe King of Shanghai

Jonathan Tel is one of six shortlisted author's for the world's richest prize for a single short story. He reveals what inspired his work

By Jonathan Tel  

I’ve been asked to write this because a story of mine, The Shoe King of Shanghai, is shortlisted for the Sunday Times EFG Award—£30,000 to the winner. (Yes, writers do write in order to make money—among other motives.)

This story is the opening chapter of a book I’m writing, set in contemporary Beijing, a series of short stories that fit together to make a kind of novel. Its working title is Scratching the Head of Chairman Mao. (If you want to know if a Chinese banknote is fake, scratch the hair on Mao’s portrait, and feel the texture.) Thematic connections…

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