Chu T’ien-wen wins 2015 Newman Prize
NORMAN, OK – An international jury has selected the Taiwanese novelist and screenwriter Chu T’ien-wen (朱天文) as the winner of the fourth Newman Prize for Chinese Literature. She is the first female Newman laureate. Sponsored by the University of Oklahoma’s Institute for U.S.-China Issues, the Newman Prize is awarded biennially in recognition of outstanding achievement in prose or poetry that best captures the human condition, and is conferred solely on the basis of literary merit. Any living author writing in Chinese is eligible. A jury of five distinguished literary experts nominated the five candidates last spring and selected the winner in a transparent voting process on September 17, 2014.
The Untranslatables - by Lucas Klein
The following contribution from Lucas Klein is our first post in a blog series we’re calling “The Untranslatables.” Klein was awarded the Lucien Stryk Prize in 2013 for his translation of Xi Chuan’s Notes On the Mosquito: Selected Poems, which he discusses here...
Guess Who Is Doing Literary Translation?
Best-selling author Murakami Haruki, that's who.
In Outcast of the Japanese Literary World, we learn that he is currently translating into Japanese a work by Norwegian novelist Dag Solstad. But in the past he has also translated writing by Raymond Carver and others.
Murakami obviously doesn't do it for the $$. A model for upcoming Chinese writers, more of whom have decent English (compared to older authors)?
Crowdfunding Translations of Chinese Sci-Fi
A project looking to translate award-winning sci-fi from Chinese writers spearheads this week's look at crowdfunding, but that's not all - there's a short movie about Bears learning to use fire, a card game about the Periodic table and a lot more.
Chinese Arts and Letters, a literary and academic journal, solicits
English-language contributions for issue No. 3. Texts not exceeding
10,000 words will be considered, consisting of translations of
contemporary Chinese-language literature in any genre, essays on the
Chinese arts and letters of any era, and creative writing in any
genre about China. Translated texts or inquiries for translations
must also submit the original Chinese text, and all translations will
be reviewed for accuracy and style. Payment for contributions is 0.80
RMB per word (contributions) or per Chinese character (translation),
before tax. Texts with a focus on Jiangsu may be given special
Please address inquiries or submissions to the editors at
firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com The
deadline for inquiries for issue No. 3 is December 31, 2014; the
deadline for submissions is January 31, 2015.
By Eric Abrahamsen, September 15 '14, 2:28a.m.
When you have trouble moving product overseas -- and cash in your pocket -- you can always call on a classic strategy: take control of the distribution channels.
There are four traditional ways to do so: set up your own local firm; invest in a local firm; merge your firm with a local firm; or simply acquire an existing player in that market which owns a respected brand name.
Is China getting ready to do so in the publishing field, as part of its soft power push?
By Bruce Humes, September 14 '14, 8:35p.m.
Children's Books in China: A Q&A with Xiaoyan Huang
Xiaoyan Huang is editorial specialist for children’s books at dangdang.com, China’s leading online shopping service provider, and the country’s top online children’s bookseller. She has worked in the Chinese book market for more than 20 years, for HarperCollins China, Amazon China, Macmillan China, and Hachette China.
Copied from Writing Chinese website:
Saturday November 1st, 2014. Public talk @11am – 1pm. Translation masterclass@ 2pm – 5pm. Venue to be announced (University of Leeds)
For our morning event, which is open to the general public (no registration required), author Yan Ge and her translator Nicky Harman will be talking about their work together. Yan Ge’s novella White Horse, translated by Nicky, will be released in October by Hope Road Publishing. And for a taster of more of Yan Ge’s work and why Nicky recommends it so highly, have a look at this recent article in Words Without Borders.
Our afternoon event is a literary translation masterclass, led by the author and her translator, and is open to anyone interested in the translation of contemporary Chinese fiction into English.
The masterclass is free but registration is required. If you’d like to attend, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will then email all attendees in advance with the text that we’ll be translating on the day.
We’re also pleased to announce that the masterclass will be followed by the launch of the Bai Meigui Literary Translation Competition. More details to follow soon!
By Helen Wang, September 8 '14, 2:26p.m.
Now for "Selective Translation"
On August 25, the Paper posted a Chinese translation of London-based magazine the Economist's August 23 cover article, "What China Wants." The Economist feature proffered several recommendations for how the United States can accommodate China's economic and military rise without forfeiting U.S. interests in Asia. But the abridged Chinese translation left out several key passages . . .
China Fiction Book Club (Twitter @cfbcuk) is now on Goodreads.com. We are on their lists - Listopia - and can be found by typing in any of a number of keywords e.g. Chinese + translated + fiction. The point of it is to get an open-access list of published translations onto Goodreads. So... get posting, people! You can also vote for books already listed (Helen and I put up 20 or so, just to get the list started) if you want.
By Nicky Harman, September 3 '14, 11:07a.m.
If I were a political cartoonist, of the WWII-era ilk where they label
everything in the cartoon so the point gets across better, I would
draw a cartoon to illustrate China’s “Going Out,” the policy which is
meant to bring Chinese culture to the rest of the world, and it would
look something like this:
A patch of land representing China; in the center stands The Leader
(it says that on his chest). He gazes off into the distance, one hand
pointing outwards in the best 指点江山 style, and the words “Going Out
Policy” are written on that sleeve. The other hand is loading
sumptuous food onto crescent tables to either side of him. The food
could be labeled “Government Budget,” but that should be
self-explanatory. Seated around the outside of the tables are a host
of people we could label “Government Functionaries,” until I think of
The functionaries are shoveling food into their mouths, their gazes
fixed in rapt devotion upon The Leader. They’ve all scootched
backwards until their rear ends hang out over the border of China, and
they’re saying things to The Leader like: “We have ‘Gone Out,’ and it
is wonderful!,” and, “The foreigners are all amazed!”
Meanwhile, a few big-nosed foreigners (in berets and cowboy hats!) are
standing around the outside of the border, looking at this line of
plumber’s cracks, and asking each other, “What on earth are they
trying to tell us?”
If only I could draw…
By Eric Abrahamsen, September 3 '14, 12:18a.m.
Chinese science fiction to be a feature of Clarkesworld
Clarkesworld has entered into an agreement with Storycom International Culture Communication Co., Ltd. to showcase a short story originally published in Chinese in every issue. Each month, an all-star team of professionals intricately familiar with Chinese short fiction will be recommending stories for this special feature and I’ll select which ones get translated and published in each issue. This team includes: Liu Cixin, Yao Haijun, Zhang Zhilu, Wu Yan, and Ken Liu.
Chen Xiwo's blog at the Free Word Centre (UK)
Dancing with shackles on...
Chen Xiwo is one of China's most outspoken, and most censored, novelists. He's also our new online writer in residence. Over the next few months he'll be posting about writing under the shadow of censorship, with the help of our former translator in residence, Nicky Harman.
Translation Notes: A Tabby-cat’s Tale (Han Dong/Nicky Harman)
It wasn't easy to find a publisher. I once tried, as an exercise, to shorten A Tabby-cat’s Tale to a length more acceptable to a western literary magazine. It simply went flat. I ditched my attempt without even submitting it, and went back to the current, full, version.
7 Literary Translators on their Craft
Brief answers -- in Chinese -- to questions by 7 translators working into or out of Chinese, including Chinese-English, Chinese-French, Chinese-Korean, children's literature, etc.
Canaan Morse Wins Susan Sontag Prize for Ge Fei Translation
Canaan Morse is a literary translator and editor whose work has appeared in The Kenyon Review, Chinese Literature Today, Words and The World, Pathlight: New Chinese Writing, Chutzpah!, and Cha: An Asian Literary Journal. A recent graduate of Peking University's Chinese department with an M.A. in Classical Chinese Literature, he lived in Beijing for six years where he co-founded the literary quarterly Pathlight: New Chinese Writing. His translation of Ge Fei's The Invisibility Cloak is due for publication by New York Review of Books in 2015.
New in Chinese: “The Chilli Bean Paste Clan” by YAN Ge
The latest in "Dispatches" from Words Without Borders. By Nicky Harman:
You might imagine that I thought long and hard in choosing my best untranslated book, because China has so many writers and so little of their work reaches the West, at least in English. But I plumped without any hesitation for Yan Ge’s The Chilli Bean Paste Clan. (The title in Chinese is 《我们家》Our Family.)
Towards the end of last year, the China Writers Association announced the inception of two new literary translation funds, one for general fiction, and the other specifically for minority fiction. Many applications were submitted, and then we all commenced to wait. And wait, and…
We started to suspect that the whole thing had foundered on some hidden bureaucratic sandbar, but just recently we heard that the program is, in fact, still under way – not only that, the CWA is actually ready to announce its first round of winners. Not announce, exactly: the winners will be contacted on the down-low. We're trying to convince them that publicizing the full list is in everyone's best interest, but it's not clear if that argument will take.
If you applied for funding, and have been chosen, expect to get that news "soon". The translators among you will know how to translate that "soon" into English. You publishers can probably also figure it out.
If you applied and didn't get it… you may never know! Unless we can talk them into publicizing the list.
By Eric Abrahamsen, August 25 '14, 6:30a.m.
Winners of the "2013 China International Translation Contest," co-hosted by the State Council Information Office, Chinese Writer Association and the China International Publishing Group, have been announced. According to 国际翻译大赛, the organizing committee provided 30 pieces of contemporary Chinese short stories from which to choose, and 1,006 renditions were received from over 30 countries in English, French, Spanish, Russian and Arabic.
By Bruce Humes, August 24 '14, 3:06p.m.
Sinologists' Seminar on Literature and Translation
The seminar, held by the Chinese Writers Association, gathered some 70 Sinologists, academics who specialize in China, from all over the world to "parse Chinese stories" with a dozen Chinese authors, including Mo Yan and Mai Jia. (With a great photo!)
The Lu Xun Prize - questions of credibility
BEIJING, Aug. 14 (Xinhua) -- China's prestigious Lu Xun Literature Prize has come under fire after its most recent award winner for poetry was denounced as a "shame on poetry."
Beijing Int'l Book Fair: Evening Literary Events
Chinese authors Xu Zechen and Wang Gang, Russian poet Maxim Amelia, Chinese and Swedish illustrators, Chinese translator Huang Liaoyu, and more, including venue addresses in Chinese and English . . .
The deadline for the CELT translation training course has been extended to August 18 (2014), since (for reasons I personally cannot fathom) the number of applicants to date has amounted to something less than a tidal wave.
I want to emphasize what a worthwhile thing this is: personally, the two courses I attended were not only the most helpful things I've done for my development as a translator, they were also instrumental in the solidification of a society of C-E literary translators, a social circle or support group, a mafia even. And needless to say they were a hell of a lot of fun. So do it, already!
See below, and after the jump, for more details:
The Chinese English Literary Translation course will run from 22nd to 27th September 2014 in the Yellow Mountains. The course will offer a mix of literary translation and creative writing workshops, with guest speakers.
By Eric Abrahamsen, August 12 '14, 6:48a.m.
Aug 21 Update: Qingdao to Host Translation Conference in Run-up to Beijing Int’l Book Fair
. . . 26 international Sinologists and translators will be taking part from Austria, Egypt, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Italy, Japan, Korea, Romania, Russia, Turkey, Ukraine, and the U.S. They include the (in)famous German Sinologist Wolfgang Kubin, Ezra Vogel (author, Deng Xiaoping and the Transformation of China), Nicoletta Pesaro (Italian translator of Ma Jian and Yu Hua), Turkey’s Giray Fidan (author, Ottoman Firearms and Ottomans in China during the Kanuni Era) . . .
Aug 21: just learned that authors Chi Zijian, Wang Gang, Bi Feiyu and Zhang Wei will also be taking part in several forums, as well as literary agent Toby Eady
[Note: China-based translators and publishing professionals welcome to attend]
China Launches Premier Kazakh Literary Competition
Winners will be handsomely rewarded: 1 grand prize winner, 120,000 yuan (US$19,500); and 30,000 yuan (US$4,875) each for 4 winners in original fiction/poetry, 2 winners in the translation category, and 2 “promising new writers" under 40 . . .
The Interbellum Manhua Boom
Between World War I and World II, Republican era Shanghai experienced a boom in manhua--Chinese cartoon magazines--that has yet to be matched even today.
9 Oct - "Writing Chinese" launch - Chen Xiwo in Leeds
Writing Chinese Launch – Chen Xiwo 陈希我 in Leeds
October 9th, 2014 @4.30 pm – 6.00 pm. Venue to be announced
We’re delighted to be joined by author Chen Xiwo, translator Nicky Harman, and Make-Do Publishing’s Harvey Thomlinson for the official launch of ‘Writing Chinese’. Chen will be reading from his new collection The Book of Sins (冒犯书), which will be followed by a talk and discussion by Chen, Nicky and Harvey.
Extract: “Back Quarters at Number 7” by Manchu Writer Ye Guangqin
Grandpa Zhao’s narration was forever populated with fairy foxes, Siberian weasel spirits, and serpents. We were terribly afraid of these creatures, and all of them were inseparable from Number 7’s courtyard. It seemed behind that small gate were hidden innumerable deadly demons:
It was an inauspicious residence. No one would rent or buy it. In 1900, during the reign of Qing Emperor Guangxu, the Eight Allied Armies took the capital, and the retinues of the two palaces – the Emperor’s and the Empress Dowager’s – departed in great haste with Their Highnesses . . .
The notorious – nay, infamous – Chinese-English Literary Translation course is coming around for its third incarnation this coming September (2014). For five days, translators and writers will gather in Huangshan to pick each other's brains, watch each other work, and try to teach each other a little something. Be part of the event that has launched so many illustrious translation careers! Or at least, introduced some fairly interesting people to one another.
This time, the course is being run by the Foreign Languages Teaching and Research Press (FLTRP), in partnership with the British Centre for Literary Translation (BCLT), and SAPPRFT.
The course will be held this fall, September 22 to 27. The application deadline is August 10: be sure to send your completed application form and a scan of your passport to email@example.com before then. Attendance free, but you'll have to get yourself there, and also pay for room and board (I had this wrong intially, my apologies!).
The Chinese-to-English writers and workshop leaders are:
- Li Juan, 李娟, led by Andrea Lingenfelter
- Li Pingyi, 李平易, led by Bonnie McDougall
- A Yi, 阿乙, led by Eric Abrahamsen
For more information about the course, you can download the full information sheet.
By Eric Abrahamsen, July 21 '14, 4:30a.m.
Reveiw of Running Through Beijing (Xu / Abrahamsen)
As a prisoner, I am fascinated by others in my predicament, especially by those imprisoned in other countries. Running Through Beijing begins in a Chinese prison, or more accurately, with the words, “I’m out,” spoken by Dunhuang, a former seller of fake I.D.’s. We don’t get a look inside an actual prison until later when he goes to see his friend, and then we only go as far as the visiting room...
Penguin China is hiring an acquisitions editor
Penguin Books is recruiting an acquisitions editor. You will be responsible for building Penguin's award-winning publishing list in the English language, finding books for us to publish, and managing the editing and print process. ... This position will be based in Hong Kong, Beijing, or Shanghai, and applicants should be native-level English speakers. For a full job description, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with a recent resume and cover letter before August 15, 2014.
New project on contemporary Chinese writing at Leeds University
'Writing Chinese: Authors, Authority and Authorship' is a new project based at the White Rose East Asia Centre in the University of Leeds, UK. Bringing together writers, translators, publishers, literary agents and academics working in the field of contemporary Chinese literature, we aim to foster closer links and dialogue, and to help promote contemporary Chinese writers in the UK.
The project is funded by the UK’s Arts and Humanities Research Council and will involve a series of talks, readings and other activities over the coming academic year, culminating in a symposium at Leeds in summer 2015. We will be holding a translation masterclass and competition, as well as a regular blog on this website, featuring articles on contemporary Chinese fiction and interviews with writers, translators, and others working in the field. And beginning in October, we will also be running a monthly virtual book club, focusing on up-and-coming authors.
56-year-old “Manas” Libretto Surfaces
There are several noteworthy things about this brief report:
The word “Kyrgyz” is not used to describe the cadre, the epic poem or the language used in the manuscript . . .
If you're in London, come and join a lively discussion about the possibility and impossibility of translation, at the FreeWordCentre. Joining Xiaolu Guo for the evening's discussion are her editor-turned-agent Rebecca Carter, and Free Word's former Translator in Residence Nicky Harman. Together, they'll use the novel, I am China as a starting point to explore questions of translation, censorship, Chinese culture, and what it means to call a country your home. Book in advance. It's 21 July 7pm.
By Nicky Harman, July 10 '14, 4:40a.m.
My contact with China-focused academic presses has increased substantially over the past three months or so, and each one of them has come back looking for Chinese to English translators qualified to take on academic projects, usually monographs on topics in the humanities -- Chinese social science, political economy, literary history and theory are just a few examples. Sourcing translators for academic work can be harder than sourcing for trade, for reasons I'll list below, so I thought I would put out an open call here to get everyone's attention.
By Canaan Morse, July 9 '14, 11:38a.m.
English PEN supporting Chinese fiction
The Book of Sins by Chen Xiwo, tr Nicky Harman (Make Do Publishing) -- winner of a 2014 English PEN award for promotion.
A Perfect Crime by A Yi, tr Anna Holmwood (Oneworld Publications) -- winner of a 2014 English PEN grant for translation.
Author Murong Xuecun summoned by police over Tiananmen Square event
The author had earlier pledged to turn himself in on his return from Australia.
"On the surface the government appears to be stronger than ever … yet it is actually so fragile that its leaders lose sleep when a few scholars meet and talk in a private home," he wrote in the New York Times in May.
"If the situation in China continues to deteriorate, I cannot stand idly by. If I too am arrested, perhaps more Chinese people will awaken to the realities of their situation. My arrest will be my contribution to resisting government efforts to erase the nation's memory."
Save the date.
Booking here: http://www.bl.uk/whatson/events/event162774.html
By Nicky Harman, June 13 '14, 12:49p.m.
I recently made a number of suggestions on concrete steps that could help ensure greater success for the “campaign to take Chinese literature global.” They are detailed in Open Letter to China Literary Exports, Inc..
中华读书报 (China Reading Weekly) interviewed me about my proposal, including the establishment of a Translator-in-Residence program. If you'd like to read the interview (in Chinese), and see the part of the draft text that was deleted just before publication, visit 建议：建立 ‘驻地翻译基金’，积极征募外国翻译家到中国短期居住.
By Bruce Humes, June 12 '14, 11:51p.m.
Master "Manaschi" Jusup Mamay Passes from the Scene
Along with the Tibetan King Gesar and the Oirat's Janggar, the Kyrgyz Manas is one of China's three officially recognized, classic oral epics originating among non-Han peoples.
Jusup Mamay, the last master "manaschi" (玛纳斯奇) capable of performing all 8 parts of the massive trilogy, has just passed away . . .
Capturing Xibe, "Language of Exile," for Posterity
The China Xibe Language and Culture Research Center in Ili, Xinjiang, has announced that it will soon begin systematically recording speakers of this Tungusic tongue that is closely related to Manchu (锡伯语言数字化). This is part of the national “Chinese Language Audio Database Project” (中国语言资源有声数据库工程) inaugurated in 2008 by the State Language Commission, and the center aims to complete the Xibe portion by August 2015 . . .
We're not blocked, are we? 'Course, it's hard to tell these days, they seem to be blocking most everything…
By Eric Abrahamsen, May 24 '14, 4:06a.m.