John Pomfret

John Pomfret is a reporter for The Washington Post. Formerly the Post’s Beijing bureau chief, he is now the Los Angeles bureau chief. In 2003, Pomfret was awarded the Osborn Elliott Prize for Excellence in Asian Journalism by the Asia Society, an annual award for best coverage of Asia. He lives with his wife and family in Los Angeles.

John Pomfret

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John Pomfret

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Q & A

Where are you from?
Raised in NYC.

Who are your favorite writers?
Thomas Pynchon, Jared Diamond, Peter Hessler, Evan Osnos, Jonathan Spence, David McCullough, David Hacket Fisher.

Which book/books have had the biggest influence on your writing?
Washington’s Crossing, To Change China, Prisoner of Ma.

What are your hobbies and outside interests?
Running, basketball.

What is the single best piece of advice anyone ever gave you?
Blow smoke up their ass.

What is your favorite quote?
No everybody is as dumb as a journalist.

What is the question most commonly asked by your readers? What is the answer?
Why did you go to China in 1980? Because it was a long way away.

What inspired you to write your first book?
I wanted to show how China’s multitude changes affected the lives of average Chinese and to make the connection between "Red China" of the 1950s and 60s and the China of today.

Where do you write?
I like to write sitting or standing at my stand-up desk. I do it in the piano room of our apartment in Beijing or in my bedroom in Tremont, Maine.


by the author

Chinese Lessons

John Pomfret
Holt Paperbacks

A first-hand account of the remarkable transformation of China over the past forty years as seen through the life of an award-winning journalist and his four...

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