Frances Wood 芳思

Frances Wood

Frances studied Chinese for four years at Cambridge, 1967-1971, taking papers in Chinese art and archaeology and wanting to work in a museum but always seemed to fail to get a job!

Not managing to find a job in which she could use Chinese for about a year after graduating when she was finally appointed to a junior post in the Chinese section in the Library at SOAS. The only 'perk' was being able to attend SOAS courses (She completed first year Japanese twice!) and to begin a part-time PhD in Chinese architecture.

In 1977, after spending a year as a British Council student in China, Frances moved to the Chinese section of the British Library where she remained until her retirement in 2013 about which she commented “the language is essential for cataloguing but also for the stream of academic visitors we have, since Chinese Dunhuang specialists tend not to know English”. Frances has found that the language has also been a wonderful way in to Chinese history and culture and has greatly enjoyed writing books such as Did Marco Polo go to China? (1995), No Dogs and Not Many Chinese: Treaty Port Life in China, 1843-1943 (2000), and China's First Emperor and His Terracotta Warriors (2008).

We are grateful to the following organisations for their support
BACS University of Leeds BCI
British Council