Bored? Here’s an extract from issue 1

One of the world’s most famous princesses is an impostor, claims Asian novelist Nury Vittachi.

EIGHTY-FIVE people turned up for my creative writing class, and all of them were Chinese. I asked them to tell me the name of the story about a girl who wins a prince because her foot fits into a tiny slipper.

“Cinderella,” they chorused as one. And the name of the author?

“Walt Disney,” they trumpeted in unison.

And where was the girl from? “America”.

I had the same conversation with my own three children, all of whom are Chinese and adopted, and they gave exactly the same answers.

In fact, the name of the girl with petite feet was Yeh Xian. She lived in China, the same country where my students and my children were born. She had black hair.

The author was a man named Tuan Ch’eng-Shih. The story was anthologised in a Chinese short story collection more than a millennium ago. It was lifted by Western authors in the 1600s, making it one of the first notable examples of the piracy of creative intellectual property.

As a novelist living in Hong Kong, I spend a lot of time thinking about story structures. Anyone who knows tales from the east as well as the usual Western canon of folk stories cannot help but notice something about Cinderella. In Western folk tales, girls marry princes because they are beautiful, or clever, or both. In no Western story does a commoner win a prince because of a body part measurement. (“Your tibia is 32.5 centimetres! Marry me and share my kingdom!”).

You only need to think about it for ten seconds to realise Cinderella could only have come from ancient China, where the smallness of a girl’s feet was a key factor in the measurement of her beauty. Only there does the story make any sense at all.

But let’s not make this just a dinner party observation, or a footnote in literary history. In 1999, Adeline Yen Mah wrote an autobiography called A Chinese Cinderella. No, Ms. Mah. You’re not a Chinese Cinderella. You ARE Cinderella. Let’s make it what it is: it’s a tragedy. Yeh Xian has been kidnapped and has been replaced by an impostor: a characterless Disney blonde. We need to rescue her. This actually matters.


The rest of this article will be published in our first issue. 

ISSUE 1: what it looks like and how to support it

And how we are incredibly grateful to Neil Gaiman, Eoin Colfer, Malorie Blackman…

What do you think of our cover for issue one? Today we can exclusively reveal that the brilliant Eoin Colfer will be writing a story for us that will be published in four parts throughout our first year in print – a (practically) full list of contents can be seen in the previous blog post.

So, now you know more about what you’re getting, onto funding… We need to get the first issue off the ground and to do this we’ve decided to launch a Kickstarter campaign. There are various levels of support on this, all of which will give you a copy of the first issue amongst other things. We don’t want to offer anything more than issue one at this point, as we can’t guarantee raising enough money to go any further (fingers crossed though!).

We also have to say a massive thank you to Neil Gaiman who has helped us with our Kickstarter campaign by featuring in our video.  A massive thank you also has to go to all of those luminaries who gave us some lovely quotes for the Kickstarter page.

Once issue one is out we will then contact (ahem, pester) everyone with details of how to then subscribe via our subscription partners. But for the moment, if you’d like to support issue one please go to HERE!! Alternatively, you can buy a copy in a number of stores that we’ll list on the website nearer the time of publication. We already have Daunts on board in the UK and are looking to have many more stockists worldwide!

Thanks for bearing with us, nearly there…



ISSUE 1: there’s definitely a crossword in it

So, we’re about to announce the details of how you can get behind issue 1 and it’s only fair we let you know what’s in the magazine we hope you want to support.

Here’s some of the content list for issue 1 of TRQ. We’re really excited about the wide range of articles and the amazing spread of contributors from around the world, and we hope you like them too. Admittedly, we get a sneak preview of what the articles are about, but hopefully the article titles are tantalising enough.

We have…

‘Hunting for the Birds: A Designer’s Memories of Childhood Reading’ by Stuart Bache, UK

‘Cinderella and a World Audience’ by Nury Vittachi, Hong Kong

‘The Last Taboo: What Interactive Prints Says About the Digital Revolution’ by Elizabeth Bird, USA

‘The Artisan Publisher: Tara Books, Chennai, India’ by Gita Wolf, India

‘A New Arabic Publishing Model’ by Kalimat Publishers, UAE

‘Children and the Magic of Bookshops’ by Jen Campbell, UK

From Institution to Market: Publishing for the African Child’ by Ainehi Edoro, Nigeria/USA

‘The Theme of Independence in Children’s Literature in India’ by Jaya Bhattacharji Rose, India

‘The New Internationalists: The Changing Scene of Illustrated Books Published in the UK’ by Martin Salisbury, UK

‘A Singaporean Interpretation of Classic Children’s Stories’ by Myra Garces-Bacsal, Singapore

‘American Nonsense and the Work of Carl Sandburg and Dave and Toph Eggers’ by Michael Heyman, USA

‘The Work of Beatrix Potter and the Loss of Innocence‘ by Eleanor Taylor, UK

‘A Look at Translation’ by Daniel Hahn, UK

And that’s not all, we also have…

Original fiction (well, the the first of four parts) by Eoin Colfer, illustrated by Adrienne Geoghegan, Ireland

Original poetry by Toni Stuart, South Africa

A comic strip explaining what Gary Northfield (UK) really hates drawing

An illustrator profile on Catarina Sobral (Portugal) who has illustrated our amazing first issue cover


A Literary Crossword by Tristan Hanks, UK