Read Paper Republic
Say it’s the grief of lonely autumn
Say it’s the longing of distant seas
If someone asks about my sorrow
I do not dare to mention your name.
I do not dare to mention your name.
If someone asks about my sorrow
Say it’s the longing of distant seas
Say it’s the grief of lonely autumn.
Xu Zechen and Eric Abrahamsen shortlisted for the 2015 National Translation Award
The American Literary Translators Association (ALTA) has just published its 2015 NTA shortlists in Poetry and Prose. Winners to be announced at the annual ALTA conference, in Tucson, AZ, Oct. 28-31, 2015.
Svetlana Alexievich, Nobel Laureate: China Media’s Initial Reactions
Given China’s Nobel complex, it’s always interesting to see how the media reports on the newest winners. Year after year, those trouble-makers in Stockholm put the spotlight on the wrong sort of people, such as China’s own Liu Xiaobo (now serving time in a Chinese prison), Gao Xingjian — the China-born-and-raised author the state refuses to recognize as Chinese — and foreigners such as dissident writer Herta Müller, who wrote about the gulags.
So what is China’s media saying about Belarus’ 斯韦特兰娜·阿列克谢耶维奇 (Svetlana Alexievich)? It’s still early days, and we can expect more reportage and commentary soon. But that’s what makes the initial pronouncements significant; the state’s cultural spin doctors may not yet be sure how politically correct — or incorrect — she is.
Includes links to free excerpts from her Boys in Zinc, Voices from Chernobyl and The Wondrous Deer of the Eternal Hunt.
Feature on translator Shelly Bryant in The Straits Times
Ms Bryant became well-known on the local literary scene after she translated local writer and Cultural Medallion winner Chew Kok Chang's short stories about Singaporeans' experiences abroad in Other Cities, Other Lives for Epigram Books in 2013, followed by In Time, Out Of Place, a collection of travel stories by You Jin, another Cultural Medallion winner, earlier this year. They came after her successful translations of three novels by Chinese writer Sheng Keyi, namely Northern Girls and Fields Of White for Penguin Books, and Death Fugue for Giramondo Books.
The 30 Bestselling Children's Books in China, August 2015
In China, A New Literary Translation Publisher is Born
The Bookworm bookstore chain has launched a literary magazine, a new writer’s prize and will begin publishing English translations of Chinese novels next year.
Chad W Post and two interns have been adding the author's gender to his database of translated fiction published for the first time in the US between 2008 and 2014. Here's the weblink to Chad's report.
Total figures: 2471 fiction translations, of which 657 were written by women, and 39 by both men and women. Percentage of female authors: 26.6%.
For poetry collections, it’s 169/571 collections by women (29.6%).
For China it's 76 male authors, 21 female authors (20%)
By Helen Wang, October 6 '15, 3:28a.m.
By David Haysom, October 3 '15, 1:20a.m.
Profile: Xinjiang-based Uyghur Writer Perhat Tursun
Chinese children's books in Africa
Yan Lianke on censorship
Yan — one of China’s most celebrated authors — gave a talk entitled “Literature and Censorship in Contemporary China” Friday at the John Hope Franklin Center.... “Politics determines everything, so our language and literature is determined by politics,” he said.
"Chutzpah!: New Voices from China"
Chinese Literature Today Book Series, 10 December 2015. Edited by Ou Ning and Austin Woerner.
Jusup Mamay, Manaschi: A Rehabilitated Rightist and his Turkic Epic
A while back I stumbled upon a short Chinese news item about a newly discovered handwritten manuscript of the Kyrgyz Epic of Manas (玛纳斯史诗) in Xinjiang. This centuries-old trilogy in verse recounts the exploits of the legendary hero Manas, and his son and grandson in their struggle to resist external enemies and unite the Kyrgyz people. Along with heroic tales such as Dede Korkut and the Epic of Köroğlu, Manas is considered one of the great Turkic epic poems.
"Folding Beijing", by Hao Jingfang, tr Ken Liu
Blog post by Alan Baumler: "It is a nice story that touches on lots of things in modern Chinese society. One thing about it that I liked as a historian is that while it does a nice jobs of showing (and resenting) class distinction there is a certain nostalgia to Third Space, where people are together and it is more 热闹 and you can get stinky dofu (not available in First Space.) Hao is not the first to note how class distinctions are also time distinctions, with the poor stuck in the past, but it is a good example."
"The Landlady" by Yan Geling, in Granta
Translated by Lawrence A. Walker, published online 21 Sept 2015
Over the last few years, the veil has been partially lifted on what has been China’s long-running and most coveted literary set of awards for the novel, the Mao Dun Literature Prize, which is awarded once every four years. You can bone up on the scandals behind this and other awards here if you like.
The Beijing Daily has just published an interesting article (茅奖销售) which details “before and after” sales figures, queries authors on how winning the award has affected their work, and concludes with a brief overview of 1982-2015 winning titles by literary critic Bai Ye (白烨).
By Bruce Humes, September 18 '15, 1:56a.m.
“Funeral of a Muslim”: Sales Top 3m, TV Series in the Pipeline
Sales of Funeral of a Muslim (穆斯林的葬礼, 霍达著), Huo Da’s classic saga of a Hui family in Beijing that spans the turbulent years of the Japanese invasion, World War II and part of the Cultural Revolution, have now topped three million copies, according to a press conference held in the capital on September 11.
What's missing in US college philosophy classes? Chinese philosophers.
Considered globally, moreover, Confucius, Laozi and, to a lesser extent, the other major ancient Chinese philosophers have been enormously influential — probably more influential in East Asia than Socrates, Plato and Aristotle have been in the West.
A Yi on the state of Chinese literature today
BBC Radio4 - Open Book - podcast (from 26:52, lasts about three minutes).
He mentions Yu Xiuhua, Jin Yuchong, Lu Yao, Mo Yan, Yu Hua, Ma Yuan, Hong Fen, Sun Ganlu.
“Wolf Totem” Author Awarded Prize by World Mongol Authors Association
Su Tong's "Rice" Launched in Romanian
Yi-Fen Chou: Michael Derrick Hudson and/or Ronald Reagan
Ezra Pound’s “The River-Merchant’s Wife: A Letter” is a translation and was part of the redefinition of Chinese poetry and Chinese culture in English in the early twentieth century. The Love Poems of Marichiko were an attempt at an imagined empathy with a cultural other, the poems narrating a passion with an unknown lover that dissolves boundaries as the passion dissolves as well. And the Araki Yasusada phenomenon undermined our prevailing notions of authorship to expose and critique the cultural double standards at work in the American poetry industry.
Yi-Fen Chou, on the other hand, looks motivated by a desire to take advantage of the prevailing notions of authorship and our double standards in the American poetry industry. And this is why I’m thinking of Ronald Reagan.
The Reagan era was when American poetry of all stripes turned inward, as if mirroring not only the government’s xenophobia, but its configuring of trade into a neo-liberal assertion of American dominance, now called globalization ... The lack of interest in engaging with the culture he names and his use of a minority name to get published make him "Yi-Fen Chou" the poetic equivalent of the domestic and international policies of the Reagan presidency.
A white guy named Michael Hudson couldn’t get his poem published. So he became Yi-Fen Chou
Hudson, who is white, wrote in his bio for the anthology that he chose the Chinese-sounding nom de plume after The Bees was rejected by 40 different journals when submitted under his real name. He figured that the poem might have a better shot at publication if it was written by somebody else.
. . . But Hudson’s critics said the literary bait-and-switch was fraudulent and racist.
“When you’re doing this from a position of entitlement, you’re appropriating an ethnic identity that’s one, imaginary, and two, doesn’t have access to the literary world,” poet and Chapman University professor Victoria Chang said.
Interview: Ken Liu on Bao Shu’s “What Has Passed Shall in Kinder Light Appear”
In Fantasy & Science Fiction, 26 March 2015.
One Belt, One Road: China's Soft Power Campaign Inches its Way to Middle East, North Africa
In fact, since 2014 many publishers and state bodies have been hard at work helping to extend China’s reach into West Asia, the Middle East and North Africa via various publications projects. Here’s a quick list for reference . . .
Ghost of a chance: spooky stories catapult Chinese online-fiction writer to fame
Xu Yunfeng (pen-name She Congge) is one of the hottest names in the digital serialisation of fiction – where chapters are posted online under a pay-as-you-read system. And his fans don't like to be kept waiting.
Aug 2015 Update: Strategies for Exporting More of China’s Ethnic Fiction
I was invited to the “2015 Sino-foreign Literature Translation & Publishing Workshop” (2015 中外文学翻译研修班) that just ended in Beijing, but didn’t make it. It looks like it was a major happening with more than 50 translation and publishing professionals attending from 30+ countries.
I suggested beforehand to the organizers that they discuss how to increase the overseas profile of China’s non-Han authors, and apparently they did . . .
Interview - Liu Cixin on Fantastic Fiction
Liu offers a view into creating visions of the future and addresses how he feels about being a pioneer in the development of science fiction in China.
A translated excerpt of an interview he recently gave to Caixin follows.
Family Revolution: Marital Strife in Contemporary Chinese Literature and Visual Culture
Hui Faye Xiao' s Family Revolution: Marital Strife in Contemporary Chinese Literature and Visual Culture. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2014. 224 pp. $75.00 (cloth), ISBN 978-0-295-99349-2; $30.00 (paper), ISBN 978-0-295-99350-8.
Reviewed by Ping Zhu (University of Oklahoma)
Published on H-Asia (August, 2015)
Commissioned by Douglas Slaymaker
2015 China Bookworm Literary Award Winners Announced
The China Bookworm Literary Award was initiated in January 2015 to select a previously unpublished novel by a mainland Chinese writer. Entries for the award came from both published and unpublished writers across the country and covered a broad range of topics and styles. The judging panel for the award was made up of three distinguished literary figures – Guo Xiaolu (A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers, I Am China), Karen Ma (Excess Baggage) and Eric Abrahamsen (Pathlight Magazine) – all of whom have worked with both Chinese- and English-language literature, as well as literary translations.
Author Wang Zhezhu Wins Inaugural China Bookworm Award
1st prize: Wang Zhezhu's The Train That Came to Its End
2nd prize: Li Ziyue’s I Am in the Red Chamber, You are on the Journey to the West
3rd prize: Lin Weipan’s When A Cloud Meets A Sheet of Paper
The success of Shen Wei's "A Dictionary of Xinjiang"
The 50-year-old was surprised to find the expanded edition of his collection of essays－A Dictionary of Xinjiang－sold out in months after it was published in October 2014, and that Shanghai Literature and Art Publishing House had to reprint more copies for this year's book fair in the city.
In A Dictionary, Shen uses 111 entries to represent his experience and understanding of the region's history, geography, plants, animals, landscapes, products, arts and literature.
Eleanor Goodman, an American poet and Sinologist, says Shen has genuinely represented the "spiritual geography" of innermost Asia. Her selected translation of the book also won her a literary award in 2013 by the US magazine Ninth Letter.
Congrats to Liu Cixin and Ken Liu, whose joint product volume one of The Three Body Problem just won the 2015 Hugo Award in the novel category. This book just won't stop!
By Eric Abrahamsen, August 24 '15, 4:43a.m.
Links to China's Ethnic-themed Literature in Translation
Includes links to excerpts and/or introductions to short stories, novels and a bit of poetry whose themes touch on cultures of the Evenki, Hui, Kazakh, Kyrgyz, Manchu, Mongolian, Lisu, Miao, Oirat, Seediq, Tibetan, Uyghur, Xiongnu and Yi peoples. Many of the pieces, but not all, were penned by writers of these non-Han ethnicities. For the most part, the original is in Chinese and the translation is in English. But I've also included a handful of renditions into French, Spanish and Japanese.
On Political Dissent and the Remarkable Similarities Between Mark Twain and Yu Hua
By Jeffrey Wasserstrom.
"What if Yu Hua had become the first Chinese author, still based in China, to win a Nobel Prize for Literature?
And, secondly, was Mark Twain a dissident?
I’ve been pondering this pair of questions about two of my favorite authors since November 2012..."
Ha Jin and the double life of a Chinese spy in the United States
Ha Jin is much more an immigrant who has found his place in the United States than an exile or a dissident. He has written a novel of very high standard but he warns us for the future: "To be a professional writer, it’s like becoming an athlete. You have to perform constantly, you have to jump higher and higher although you know that’s impossible."
5 Reasons Indian Publishers Should Not Ignore China
Three state-level visits in last twelve months have created an atmosphere of positive enterprise. ... But is the Indian publishing industry paying heed? If the participation in national book fairs an indication, no: the sole Chinese presence at the 2015 New Delhi book fair was one Bob Song, president of Royal Collins, China. Meanwhile, the Beijing International Book Fair saw an average of only 3-5 Indian publishers in each of the last five years. Where is the trade happening, if at all?
As Bruce has already noted, Paper Republic is helping the Beijing International Book Fair plan a series of literary events during the book fair in Beijing next week. It's a relatively small affair, but we've had fun with it, and I think have some very nice events on the way.
Do note: These events are aimed at a Chinese-speaking audience, and most will not cater to English-speakers!
You can see the full event schedule, plus our awesome posters (designed by Sun Xiaoxi, about whom more later), at this link.
Events we're particularly excited about include a few with Alan Lee, illustrator of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, a conversation between Enrique Vila-Matas and Ge Fei, a writing workshop with Simon Van Booy, and a discussion about the future of publishing in China with folks from Guoren and Douban. But there's a lot going on in there, check out the link!
Lastly, one event that didn't make it into the official schedule, but which I'm very enthusiastic about, is a talk with author and poet Wang Xiaoni and editor Li Jing, about Wang's short story collection 1966. That's happening Sunday, August 30th, at 3pm, at the One Way Street Aiqinhai location, and shouldn't be missed.
By Eric Abrahamsen, August 20 '15, 2:16a.m.
Inspired at the Asian Festival of Children's Content, Singapore, 2015
By Avery Fischer Udagawa, Bangkok
Last month I attended Asian Festival of Children’s Content (AFCC) 2015 as a delegate. I enjoyed exploring Chinese literature for children, as China was the country of focus.
Translators Lab at Norwich
Organised by The Select Centre in partnership with Writers' Centre Norwich, the Translators Lab provides excellent tutelage in a supportive environment. Whether you are tackling literary translation for the first time, or you have already started but want extra guidance, this 8-week course is for you. It will run from 12 Sep – 2 Nov, 2015.
Nice to see that the BIBF (Aug 26-29) has fairly attractive Chinese and English sections to its new-look web site, both of which – congrats! – are already up and functioning here.
But as I glanced through it, it reminded me of my first trip to the New China in 1981. When my father and I went for breakfast with our tour group at Shanghai’s Old Jinjiang Hotel, we were immediately forced to choose: Chinese cuisine at this table, Western at the other. Naturally, I dragged him along with me to the Chinese table — after all, it was my first meal in China! But when I tried to order a cup of coffee for my father, the waiter snapped: “If you want coffee, sit at the Western table!”
By Bruce Humes, August 18 '15, 9:12p.m.
I have noticed that many of the promising new books about China's ethnic minorities -- their history, culture, and even award-winning short stories and novels by ethnic authors -- to which I call attention in my blog are just about impossible to track down and purchase. They are publicized in a press release duly carried word-for-word on certain politically correct web sites, and then fall off the radar.
A Manchu grad student in Beijing explained it to me thus:
By Bruce Humes, August 13 '15, 10:27p.m.
Diao Dou and Adam Marek, at Manchester Literature Festival, 17 Oct
Two modern masters of the surreal discuss the power of literary absurdism in this one-off event. Diao Dou is arguably China’s most daring contemporary satirist, writing poetry, short stories and novels. His first collection in English, Point of Origin, is a stunning display of high wire literary acrobatics.
Mongolian Shaman Songs of Praise Rendered in Chinese
Entitled 萨满神歌 (lit., sacred songs of the shaman), they offer praise mainly to mothers, and the spirits of mountains and rivers. Such songs are passed on orally and rarely written down.
Shaman and their lyrics do occasionally appear in 21st-century Chinese fiction, however. For example, here are three novels . . .
Isaacson reviews Kinkley's "Visions of Dystopia in China's New Historical Novels"
Author: Jeffrey C. Kinkley
Reviewer: Nathaniel Isaacson
Jeffrey C. Kinkley, Visions of Dystopia in China's New Historical Novels, New York: Columbia University Press, 2014. ISBN 978-0-231-16768-0.
Issue 28 of Asia Literary Review Released
We are thrilled to announce that our Summer 2015 issue (Asia and Australia, a Shared Hemisphere) has been released! Free preview articles (including a peek inside the hearts and minds of agents at a Philippine call center, and an essay that struggles with Indonesia's tumultuous political history) and our editorial are here.
Quintessential Beijing Books
List of 21 titles from 2012. Time for an update?
Interview with translator Annelous Stiggelbout
In this ongoing series about the translation of Chinese literature, we invited some Sinologists to share with us their observations about how Chinese literature is received in their countries, their opinions on the promotion of Chinese literature and their stories during their translation. In this article, we invited Annelous Stiggelbout to talk over these issues.
JOB: Teacher of Chinese Literature - Independent Girls' School, London
Reeson Education is looking for a Chinese Teacher for one of our client schools in South-West London. This is a part-time, permanent position of Chinese A (Literature) to teach in the IB Diploma and IB MYP programmes. As an international school, there are a number of native Mandarin speakers who wish to study Chinese literature as part of their IB Diploma.
Jeremy Tiang awarded NEA Literary Translation Fellowship
Jeremy Tiang awarded NEA Literary Translation Fellowship to translate Taiwanese writer Lo Yi-Chin's novel Far Away.
The Beijing International Book Fair, which takes place annually at the end of August, has always been primarily a publishing event – domestic and international publishing houses trading their wares. This year, with the help of Paper Republic, the BIBF is growing an additional limb: the Literary Salons, a small, reader-focused literary festival taking place alongside the publishing event.
Between August 22nd and 30th, Chinese and international writers will appear in more than a dozen literary events within Beijing, most taking place at the One Way Street Space.
We'll be announcing a full schedule in the next week or so, but expect to see Enrique Vila-Matas in conversation with Ge Fei, Alan Lee discussing his illustrations for The Lord of the Rings, Feng Tang reading poetry, and much more. Stay tuned!
By Eric Abrahamsen, August 4 '15, 11:19p.m.
Xi Dada’s Anti-corruption Campaign Targets the Mao Dun Literature Prize
Xinhua: The organizers of one of China's top literary awards have set up a team to supervise the judging process and make sure it is fair and free of corruption . . .
Chinese farmer writes Unit 731 novel
A farmer in northeast China's Heilongjiang Province has written a novel based on oral accounts by forced laborers in the notorious Japanese army Unit 731 in Harbin, the provincial capital. Ju Bingnan, 64, spent six years writing the 800,000-word work named "Heibao," the name of Unit 731 before 1942. It was a top-secret biological and chemical warfare research base at the center of Japan's biological warfare in China and Southeast Asia during WWII. Ju donated his books to the district government of Pingfang, where the remains of Unit 731 are located, last week, as a gift ahead of the upcoming anniversary of the end of WWII.
Hong Kong literature inside and outside of the Umbrella Movement
New essay by Dorothy Tse, translated by Michael Day
"One of Livings’ interesting techniques is switching point of view at multiple junctures within his stories, often just for a sentence or two, so that the reader slips out of a protagonist’s thoughts for an instant and sees him or her from the outside, as others might. The habit is at first disorienting, but, slowly, the disorientation gains a strength. By the end of the collection, it feels like an artistic credo of sorts: a belief in seeing things from all angles." -- Review by Jonathan Lee in The Guardian, 16 July 2015
By Helen Wang, July 31 '15, 4:07a.m.
Should Ethnicity Limit What a Fiction Writer Can Write?
Novelist Susan Barker ("British, mixed-race English and Chinese, but linguistically and culturally British") responds to Chinese man in audience who comments that her book (which he hasn't read) "is an interesting perspective on China […] but just a Western perspective. You can never understand the Chinese.”
Found: Lin Yutang's translation of Dream of the Red Chamber
An unpublished English translation of the Chinese classic novel Dream of the Red Chamber by the writer and translator Lin Yutang (1895-1976) has been uncovered in Japan, Nankai University in Tianjin recently announced.
New Journal : Chinese Literature and Culture
Chu Dongwei, founder and editor-in-chief of the print and online journal, is an associate professor at Guangdong University of Foreign Studies.
Chinese Literature and Culture, published three times a year, is devoted to translations of Chinese texts (works from the past or by contemporary authors), essays of cultural criticism and original writings－fiction or nonfiction－dealing with the China experience or life in Chinese communities around the world.
Report on the New Writing from East Asia event in Leeds
By Stefan Kielbasiewicz of York PEN.
The last part of the event "The Story of a Story" was recorded, and can be viewed on the Free Word Centre website
Chinese fiction - what to read next
From the Writing Chinese project at Leeds University: "We asked our symposium speakers for their recommendations on Chinese fiction; here's what they came up with!"
As of July 22, at least 238 people have been detained or questioned since the nationwide clampdown on China's attorneys began, according to the Hong Kong-based China Human Rights Lawyer Concern Group, reports The Guardian.
That sounds worrisome indeed!
But I'm also interested in the adjective applied to describe the apparently futile efforts of critics of the crackdown as noted below:
China’s state-controlled media have rejected claims Beijing is waging a war against civil society. “Critics should first get the facts right, get to the bottom of the problem before embarrassing themselves in another unavailing episode of finger-pointing,” an editorial by Xinhua, Beijing’s official news agency, argued this week.
My question: What's the Chinese for "unavailing"? I assume the Xinhua news item was translated from the Chinese original.
I get the feeling this term may be appearing more often . . .
By Bruce Humes, July 21 '15, 6:06p.m.
A key part of the READ PAPER REPUBLIC project, apart from publishing complete short stories every #TranslationThurs for a year, has been to make sure that people read them. So we linked up with two UK organisations with a special interest in literary translation and...fast-forward a few weeks ......produced a video of a discussion between writer Dorothy Tse, Dave Haysom (Pathlight and R P R editor) and me.
By Nicky Harman, July 16 '15, 7:48a.m.
Mainland Authors at the HK Book Fair (Jul 17)
Events to be held in Mandarin/Cantonese:
日期: 7 月 17 日 (星期五)
时间: 上午 11:30 至下午13:00
地点: 香港书展 香港会议展览中心 会议室 S226-227
日期: 7 月 17 日 (星期五)
时间: 下午 4 时至下午 5 时 30 分
地点: 香港书展 香港会议展览中心 会议室 S221
Annelise F. Wasmoen and Eric Abrahamsen make the 2015 National Translation Award Longlist
Congratulations to Annelise and Eric for their translations of Can Xue's The Last Lover and Xu Zechen's "Running Through Beijing*, respectively.
INTERNATIONAL TRANSLATION DAY, jointly organized by Free Word, English PEN, the British Library, takes place 2nd October 2015. For anyone within reach of London, there's a fine selection of talks and workshops.
By Nicky Harman, July 15 '15, 8:06a.m.
To translate Nanjing writers!
The Nanjing municipal 文联 is teaming up with the Nanjing Municipal Publishing and Media Group to dump some money on the promotion of Nanjing arts and literature. There are many programs getting funding over the next three years, but one of them is particularly relevant to our interests: they're paying translators who successfully publish translations of works by writers in Nanjing.
Here's the link to the official application instructions.
The rules, as I understand them (and I could be wrong), are:
- You sign a contract with them before the deadline, which is the end of July, 2015, ie fifteen days from the date of this posting.
- Within three years of the signing, you translate and publish either one novel-length work, or two shorter works, by a Nanjing writer.
- They pay you either 180,000 RMB (one novel), or 150,000 RMB (two shorter works). Actually it looks like the fee is disbursed in yearly installments.
- Step four is usually "profit", but that's already happened in step three.
I'm not sure of the exact definition of a "Nanjing writer". I'm also not sure what happens if you translate the novel, and then no one agrees to publish it, which to be honest seems fairly likely. There are a few other terms and conditions, for which see the full explanation at the link above.
Update: I checked with them, and you don't need to have a novel publication contract in place to apply. They will be reviewing the applications, and making decisions based on likelihood of success, and it's enough that you find a publisher within the three-year term of the contract.
What is there to lose, comrades?
By Eric Abrahamsen, July 15 '15, 4:56a.m.
Leo Ou-fan Lee, author of the year for the Hong book fair 2015
10 books by Chinese writers on early Singapore
Writer Yap Koon Chan publishes 10 out-of-print books by Chinese writers who had some connection to early Singapore.
The 10 volumes comprise short stories, poems, plays, essays and a collection of newspaper columns published between 1930 and 1948. All contain references to Singapore as most were written here.
Literary Saloon reviews A Yi's "A Perfect Crime"
A Perfect Crime is one in a long line of novels of modern anomie, with a protagonist who decides on senseless murder as the only appropriate course of action that could possibly define him or give him some sort of purpose, but A Yi's contemporary Chinese spin on that familiar story is a solid variation on it -- and disturbingly convincing.
Representing China on the Historical London Stage: From Orientalism to Intercultural Performance
By Dongshin Chang (Routledge 2015)
Modernist Literary Production in East Asia - by Karen Thornber
Chapter 5 in The Modernist World ed by Allana Lindgren, Stephen Ross (Routledge, June 2015)
"The Modernist World is an accessible yet cutting edge volume which redraws the boundaries and connections among interdisciplinary and transnational modernisms. The 61 new essays address literature, visual arts, theatre, dance, architecture, music, film, and intellectual currents. The book also examines modernist histories and practices around the globe, including East and Southeast Asia, South Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa, Australia and Oceania, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East and the Arab World, as well as the United States and Canada. A detailed introduction provides an overview of the scholarly terrain, and highlights different themes and concerns that emerge in the volume."
Documenting Folk Songs of Yunnan’s Bai People in Multilingual Format
On Yan Lianke's fiction: Q&A with translator and literary scholar Carlos Rojas
Jeffrey Wasserstrom interviews Carlos Rojas
More than Recognition: One-half the $ for Man Booker Int'l Prize Destined for Translator
Translators of foreign fiction often go unsung and unnoticed. A new incarnation of the Man Booker International Prize is to give . . .
New anti-corruption novels
Two new anti-corruption novels have reignited people's passion for the genre. A Camp by Tao Chun and The Song is Over, but Audiences Are Still There by Zhou Daxin both target corruptions within the military, a topic that few works have approached before.
Tripping the Light Fantastic: An Interview with Pan Haitian
What do you think it really means to be “Chinese?” How is it different from being, say, “American?”
Obviously, it’s more than just cheongsam dresses, the limestone karst scenery of Guilin, the canal cities of the Yangtze delta like Wuzhen, conical hats, Lao-tzu and the Tao Te Ching, kung fu and all these symbols. Because Americans use the same symbols when they film movies like Transformers or Mission Impossible in Shanghai.
As I understand it, to be Chinese you have to include the contemporary ideology of China today—Chinese people’s way of thinking, their philosophical outlook on life, their way of looking at the world. More specifically, it appears in the choices that characters make in a work, in their attitude towards new things. It can affect the entire thrust of a story.
Unconventional Love - Taiwan writer sparks discussion on same-sex relationships
...the recent popular seminars held for Taiwan writer Chen Xue's two books [Lovers in the Maze and Lessons in Love] just published in the Chinese mainland that delve into her experiences in same-sex relationships. Each seminar has been so packed that many people have been forced to crowd outside the entrances to try and listen in on these talks that start off discussing her books and love in general, but eventually turn to the topic of same-sex relationships.
Ken Liu on "The Grace of Kings" and Silk Punk
“I wanted to create a new world that draws inspiration clearly from East Asia, but isn’t China. That’s the only way I can let people see the story anew. I’m very interested in foundational narratives. Foundational narratives in the West are things like the Iliad and the Odyssey, Beowulf, Paradise Lost. These are very important epic stories which become the foundation on which new works comment and elaborate and are in conversation with. In the Chinese literary tradition, the same role is played by stories like Romance of the Three Kingdoms or the Chu-Han Contention, which is a source for The Grace of Kings. But I didn’t want to retell a story, rather I wanted to reimagine this very old important foundation narrative of the Chinese literary tradition in a brand new literary framework that I constructed myself out of my status as inheritor of both Western and Chinese literary traditions.”
Create ‘Chinese Culture’ Ebooks
From the early 1960,s until he passed away in 2015, William Dolby beaverishly translated and researched Classical Chinese drama, poetry and literature, and above and beyond his world reneowned work of A History of Chinese Drama he silently produced an unknown mountain of superb works titled the "Chinese Culture Series".
On Translations - by Nick Admussen
Guest editing the poetry in this issue, and selecting a lot of translation for it, hasn't really given me any insight into which of those theories are right and which are wrong — each seems like it has its own appropriate place and time, with none deserving endless primacy. What I realized instead was about the feeling, the sensation of translating contemporary literature — something that’s related to the sensation of conversation.
Profile of Octogenarian Orochen: Folk Song Singer, Folk Tale and Dictionary Compiler
Among one of the first batches of young Orochen (鄂伦春, aka Oroqen) chosen to receive a formal Chinese-language education in Zhalantun in 1948, E’erdenggua (额尔登挂) was just 17 at the time. She had never been outside her village on the banks of Chuo’er River (绰尔河畔) in Inner Mongolia, and didn’t speak a word of Chinese. Now 84, she was profiled recently in Zhongguo Minzu Bao (老人的鄂伦春文化情缘) . . .
Qian Zhongshu - an antidote to the idea of absolute "difference" between cultural worlds
By Kerry Brown. "This exceptionalism clearly carries dangers of its own. And a stupendous antidote to it can be found by paying attention to the figure who, of all those in the 20th century with a claim to being deeply versed in both "traditionally European" and "traditionally Chinese" cultures, surely has the best claim of all: Qian Zhongshu."
Eric Abrahamsen on "The Real Censors of China"
For years Chinese authors in China have been writing books that get banned, with no dramatic repercussions. Yan Lianke’s examinations of the cult of Mao and tragic episodes from China’s Communist history are given a wide berth by publishers on the mainland, appearing in Taiwan and Hong Kong instead. But his novels do get published here, he goes about unmolested, and he has a prestigious position at one of China’s best universities. Sheng Keyi and Chan Koonchung have both written fiction touching on the aftermath of the Tiananmen Square crackdown without, by their own accounts, so much as a slap on the wrist.
China Launches Intangible Cultural Heritage Encyclopedia
China unveiled its premier Encyclopedia of Chinese Intangible Cultural Heritage (中国非物质文化遗产, 史诗卷) on June 12, reports China Daily. This is the first of three volumes, and is dedicated to three great oral epics of the Tibetans, Mongols and Kyrgyz, respectively: King Gesar, Jangar and Manas . . .
Silk Road Economic Belt: Translators to Get their Slice of the Pie
Representatives of five of China’s northwestern provinces met June 15 in Xining to discuss how to benefit from the “Silk Road Fragrant Book Project” (丝路书香工程). This is a global publishing initiative, given the stamp of approval by China’s Ministry of Propaganda, which is designed to stimulate the mutual translation and publication of great literary, historical and cultural works that are grounded in the cultures of countries along the ancient Silk Road . . .
*The Chinese Political Novel* by Catherine Vance Yeh - review
Winners of the 2014 CALA (Chinese American Librarians Association) Best Books Awards
Winners include Decoded by Mai Jia (tr Olivia Milburn and Christopher Payne) and The Three-Body Problem by Liu Cixin (tr Ken Liu)
Inner Mongolian Artists Speak Up as Mining and Logging Encroach on Traditional Grazing Lands
I suspect that some of you out there have, from time to time,
wondered: “but what do you people at Paper Republic actually do all
day long? Surely you can’t survive by snarky literary judgments alone?
Also, can’t you make your website look a little less ’My First HTML’?”
I am here with a resolution to one of your questions, at least: what
we do all day is to get Chinese literature into English, and though
actual readable texts have been in scant supply on the site, that will
change starting a week from today. June 18th we’ll be launching
something called “Read Paper Republic”, where we’ll present one
complete free-to-view short story, essay, or poem on the site itself,
both as a webpage and a download, once a week.
We’ll be kicking off with an original translation of a story by A Yi,
translated by Michelle Deeter. Our editorial team consists of Dave
Haysom here in Beijing and Nicky Harman and Helen Wang in the UK.
By Eric Abrahamsen, June 12 '15, 1:32a.m.