Caught between fact and fantasy

For me, writing is both a profession and a passion. I write about my ethnographical research, as well as crafting speculative fiction.

In 2017 I published a book based on fifteen years of interviews and research on China’s borders with the former Soviet Union. The lands between China and Central Asia have always been in flux and, today, they are militarily, economically and geographically more important than ever before. I follow over thirty villagers, smugglers, border guards and local politicians to show how border control and nationality is experienced by individuals, and how people ‘use’ borders for their own political and economic purposes. Through this I also formulate a critique of traditional approaches to ethnopolitics and the quality of Eurasian flows for far-removed audiences.

My current Work in Progress is one that entangles fact and fiction by speculating on the drama that unfolds between revolution, death and anthropology. This work of literary science fiction follows a small group of reluctant explorers who find themselves far from the northern Russian lands they call home, ground down by the moral choices demanded by an unwelcome and hostile environment.

The manuscript of this book will be ready for beta-reading in early 2019, and I am actively seeking to expand my group of critical readers before I tackle the issue of literary representation and publication. Please do not hesitate to contact me for further details.

In 2019 I will also be embarking upon a new non-fiction book project on lives and livelihoods in China’s remarkable and mysterious second-tier cities.

“The aim of this book is to do away with overly imaginative accounts of factors (the Uighur factor, the Taliban factor, etc.), actors (China, Russia but, tellingly in a world view dominated by global capital, never Kyrgyzstan or Tajikistan), and flows (in pipelines, of extremists or narcotics).”
Introduction, China’s Borderlands

 

“Steven Parham’s illuminating book […] offers an invaluable insight into the factors that have shaped the lives, loyalties and identities of people in these regions during a period of great political change.”
– Nick Holdstock, journalist and author

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