Sam Meekings received his undergraduate degree in Modern History and English Literature from Oxford University, and his masters degree in Creative Writing from Edinburgh University. Originally from southern England, he now lives in China with his wife and two children.
From a Q & A at Publishers Weekly with Meekings about Under Fishbone Clouds, his first novel:
You are British. How did you end up working and living in China?--Marshal Zeringue
At the end of my university course in 2003 I would spend the days frantically revising in the library with friends, and everyone would talk about what they would do when all this was finished. Everyone had something to look forward to. Except me. So I ended up on the university careers Web site and stumbled across a short note from a girl who had graduated a year before. She had spent the last year teaching at a college in China, and had been asked to help find more native English-speaking teachers. Two months later I was on a plane to Beijing.
Was China what you expected?
I knew almost nothing about China when I got on that plane. I had heard of Confucius and Chairman Mao, but that was about it. I naïvely expected to arrive in Beijing and see pagodas and ancient temples all around, so I was a little disappointed to be greeted by a sprawling metropolis. I'd arrived with another two "foreigners," and we were driven to a place called Hengshui in Hebei Province. It was clearly a place few Westerners ever visited, since wherever we went local people would stop whatever they were doing and point at us in amazement. I spent the first couple of weeks trying to think of a way to get out of my contract and escape. However, the more I learned, the more I wanted to stay, and have been here for six years.
The novel is based on your wife's grandparents?
Yes. Those are even...[read on]