2018 BAME Prize: Yiming Ma Q&A

Yiming Ma is one of our six shorlisted authors for the 2018 Guardian 4th Estate BAME Short Story Prize with his story Swimmer of Yangtze. Get to know him a little bit better with this Q&A, and find out more about all six shortlisted stories here.

The story: Swimmer of Yangtze

Set in Cultural Revolution China, ‘Swimmer of Yangtze’ follows the unlikely rise and fall of an armless swimmer born into a nameless village near Wuhan. Narrated by an elder, the story is an unforgiving exploration of how societies create and abandon their heroes.

What’s your name? Yiming Ma

Where do you live? London / New York / Berlin

What’s your main occupation? Entrepreneur-in-Residence for Penguin Random House

Can you remember the title of the first story you ever wrote? The Spy

What are you reading now? Night Sky with Exit Wounds, by Ocean Vuong

What’s your favourite word? 義: my tattoo.

What one book everyone should read? Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, by Susan Cain (non-fiction: because I’d feel dishonest if I named only one book of fiction which I thought everyone should read and ponder)

Which writers have influenced you most? Haruki Murakami, Maggie Nelson, Ottessa Moshfegh, George Saunders

What’s the most memorable sentence you’ve ever read? “Suppose I were to begin by saying that I had fallen in love with a color. Suppose I were to speak this as though it were a confession; suppose I shredded my napkin as we spoke.”

Where’s your favourite place to write? Out in the madness of cities.

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