Journal of Modern Literature Call for Papers in Translation Studies
Call for Papers
We welcome papers on translation studies, with a particular interest on the translation of American texts into Chinese and of Chinese texts into English for American readers. What kind of literature may result if these world powers become conversant in each other's literatures? What are the challenges, imbalances, and theoretical issues confronting transnational/ translational exchange in general? We are looking for papers that connect translation to issues of power and cultural identity, as well as papers that address translation from other angles, both practical and theoretical.
Submission period: ENDS December 31, 2012.
I just got back from my temporary cubicle space at the operations headquarters of the Rotterdam – ArtsBeijing.com International PoetrySync Festival, an online event held concurrently here in Beijing and at the International Poetry Festival Rotterdam, which is going on as I type.
By Canaan Morse, June 14 '13, 1:29p.m.
Ten Contemporary Chinese Novels
In a country of 1.3 billion people, gaining national recognition is no easy feat. Rather than looking back to past literary classics, or exhuming the revolutionary memories of an older generation, Chinese novelists today write about the increasingly capitalistic and consumer-centred world they see and experience. These ten novels reflect the state of contemporary China today.
Asymptote Translation Contest
Would you like to be in a magazine that has published new translations of
Shen Congwen, Liao Yiwu, Xi Chuan and Yang Mu, presented a Sinophone "20
under 40," and interviewed Yiyun Li, Hsia Yü and, for the upcoming issue,
Can Xue? Would you like your work seen and judged by our contributing
editor Howard Goldblatt (fiction) and Bei Dao's current translator Eliot
Weinberger (poetry)? Most importantly, is there an untranslated or
little-translated writer that you are desperately, maddeningly determined
to bring to the attention of the English-speaking world?
Then submit to "Close Approximations," Asymptote's first ever contest for
emerging translators! Thanks to your generous support of our IndieGogo
campaign, we can make it worth your while: the winner of each category
will receive 1,000 USD, as well as the opportunity to publish with
So polish up that desk drawer full of worked-over and scribbled-on
manuscripts. The deadline is September 1st, 2013.
The Spring 2013 issue of Pathlight is out the door! This issue,
featured loosely around "The Future", features several works of
science fiction by some of China's best sci-fi writers, including Liu
Cixin, Chen Qiufan and Hao Jingfang, and an overview of the genre by
Wu Yan and Xing He.
There's also a dreamscape by Can Xue, a rural romp (and fascinating
Q&A) by Han Shaogong, and a poetry section curated by Yi Sha,
featuring China's youngest generation of poets.
See a full table of contents at the link above. This issue is
available as a digital download on both Amazon and the iTunes
By Eric Abrahamsen, June 6 '13, 1:53a.m.
Three Percent on Pathlight
It is kind of stunning that given the size of China, the insane number of writers who live there, and the general interest in what’s going on in the country on the whole, there were only 16 works by Chinese writers translated into English and published here in 2012. One can trot out all the normal reasons to explain why this might be the case, but the biggest in my mind is the utter lack of awareness among U.S. editors as to what’s going on in Chinese literature these days.
Which is why I’m going to be reading more issues of Pathlight ...
Letters from Qian Zhongshu to be auctioned, Yang Jiang Threatens Lawsuit
A Beijing auction house says it has no plans to withdraw an acclaimed scholar's letters and manuscripts from sale despite protests from his 102-year-old widow and legal experts.
On June 21, the Sungari International Auction Co Ltd is selling 66 letters Qian Zhongshu wrote to a family friend.
The sale also includes the original copy of "Six Chapters from My Life 'Downunder,'" featuring his wife's memoir of their life in Henan Province during the "cultural revolution (1966-1976)," and letters from his daughter, Qian Yuan, to the friend.
Yang Jiang, the writer's widow, said her husband made some controversial remarks in the letters that it would be inappropriate to publish. He insinuates that two famous literary figures, Lu Xun and Mao Dun, were unfaithful to their wives and that a couple, both famous translators, had not interpreted a Chinese classic well.
LARB Interview with Howard Goldblatt
SS: Did similar good fortune play a role in leading you toward Mo Yan?
HG: During a research fellowship year in Manchuria, I read a deeply affecting story of his. Soon after that, I ran into a friend who’d signed up half a dozen young writers, planning to publish story collections of each in English. Unrealistic. I saw he’d included Mo Yan, so I talked him into “releasing” him to me. No one told Mo Yan, of course. The following year, a friend sent me a copy of what would become in English The Garlic Ballads, and I was hooked. I wrote to Mo Yan, care of the now-notorious Writers Association, asking for permission to translate and locate a publisher. He had no idea who I was, but was happy to find a broader readership for his work. Before that happened, however, I read and fell in love with Red Sorghum, got his permission to switch, and, well, it was a good beginning.
China Expat Anthology: Unsavory Elements
On Thursday, May 23, 6-8pm, at Hong Kong’s Bookazine Landmark Prince’s, join publisher Graham Earnshaw, editor Tom Carter and authors Nury Vittachi, Bruce Humes and Pete Spurrier to discuss their new anthology, Unsavory Elements: Stories of Foreigners on the Loose in China, an unprecedented collection of true tales from 28 laowai writers—including Mark Kitto, Peter Hessler and Simon Winchester—about their experiences living in the 21st-century Middle Kingdom.
English PEN translation grant open for application
PEN Translates! is English PEN’s new grants scheme for translation. Launched in 2012 at the London Book Fair, this unique new fund is open to submissions from all UK-based publishers. Building on the success of English PEN’s Writers in Translation programme, we are committed to supporting: Works of outstanding literary merit, Strong and innovative publishing projects, Diverse writing from around the world.
PEN Translates! will fund up to 75% of translation costs for selected projects. When a publisher’s annual turnover is less than £100,000 we will consider supporting up to 100% of translation costs.
LARB Interview with Fei Dao
I feel lots of people are prejudiced against sci fi. They think that if you’re a certain age and still read sci fi, that’s immature and unrealistic, like you are letting your fantasies run wild. So I think that prejudice is a problem. But now that Three Body (三体) [by Liu Cixin] has been publically praised, I hope that is slowly changing people’s opinion.
Why This Book Should Win: "Notes on the Mosquito" by Xi Chuan [Best Translated Book Award 2013]
Lucas Klein brings the poems into an English that feels lively and forceful, apparent in both the lineated and the prose poems, all of which sound intriguingly new and yet spoken by a familiar friend. He has not made these poems American, but rather allowed us to hear Xi Chuan’s poetics and ideas in an American idiom, in an English that is alive with personality. Klein’s knowledge of Chinese culture and history allows references to appear without explanation or odd framing. Rather, he translates the impulse of the poems so that we might eavesdrop on one of the more important conversations about national identity happening in poetry.
Here is a fascinating podcast on translating and subtitling and working with Chinese directors from That's Beijing. With Brendan O'Kane and Linda Jaivin.
By Nicky Harman, April 23 '13, 5:38a.m.
More than a year after we began publishing Pathlight magazine, we're very pleased to announce that it is now available around the world as an e-book. The most recent issue, featuring exclusive Mo Yan content, can be found in three places:
On the Apple iBookstore
As an annual subscription for university libraries. If you think your university might be interested in a subscription, please ask your librarian to find us in the EBSCO catalog. If your institution doesn't use EBSCO, you can email us about it directly.
Apologies for the US-centric links above – if you live in a country with its own domestic Amazon/iTunes store, the magazine will also be available on the local variant of that platform. Future issues will continue to be made available through these channels.
The entire point of a project like Pathlight is that it be available to as wide a readership as possible, and that hasn't quite been the case over the past year, to put it mildly. On behalf of our authors and our translators (and ourselves!), we're celebrating right now.
By Eric Abrahamsen, April 23 '13, 12:40a.m.
We're very pleased to announce that Paper Republic has partnered with
China Book Business Report and Shanghai Eastern Book Data to begin
producing monthly reports on the Chinese book market. The reports
consist of bestseller lists (general and by category, both overall
and for newly-published books), general market analysis, and rankings
of Chinese publishing houses according to a variety of indicators.
We've created a sample monthly report for December, 2012, which you
can download here (PDF).
These reports are something we've been planning for quite some time,
and we're confident they'll be indispensable to anyone wanting an
in-depth familiarity with the book market in China, and an up-to-date
window on how it's changing.
As a bonus, we've also produced an overview of the Chinese publishing
industry for 2011, which you can download here (PDF).
We're excited about this initiative! The lack of timely information
about what's going on in China has been a major stumbling block for
many potential connections between the Chinese and international
publishing industries – this ought to go quite some way to remedying
By Eric Abrahamsen, April 18 '13, 2:21a.m.
I am very glad to let everyone know that new things will be coming from Paper Republic in the very, very near future. While most of you know us as a community and a discussion group for translators, writers, academics and all others interested in Chinese literature, fewer of you know of Paper Republic, Ltd., the US- and Hong Kong-registered company that has been building business incrementally for two years now.
That company is about to step a little farther into the open. Check back on the site in the course of the next day or two to discover how this institution is ready to serve publishers and readers worldwide.
By Canaan Morse, April 17 '13, 11:19a.m.
Jonathan Stalling Reviews Jacob Edmond’s A Common Strangeness
Jacob Edmond opens the work with a shot across the bow of more conventional two-tradition comparative studies of poetry by referencing what now seems like an anachronistic Fredric Jameson criticizing Bob Perelman's poem "China" written at the time when China still appeared largely outside academia's western/US frames of reference. If Jameson saw LANGUAGE writing practices like Perelman's poem as symptomatic of the fragmentation of the "cultural logic of late capitalism," what, Edmond leads us on to wonder, would he make of poetics of the hyper-capitalism of twenty-first century Beijing, Shanghai, or Shenzhen? This is to say, Edmond starts off with a critical dialogue that foregrounds the radical global transformations that have taken place under the feet of scholars and poets during the 1980s (USSR crumbles and China "rises" while America lounges forward into a prolonged post-structuralized culture war, etc.). Edmond notes that the global dislocations that have taken root following the Cold War "mean not just separation or estrangement from home and nation, but an aesthetic that question the solidity of the relationship between word and world through writing that foregrounds its own strangeness" (6). Therefore, Edmond moves from the sociological strangeness of late-late capitalism to the aesthetic strangeness of avant-garde language practices and conceptualist technologies citing these latter as the most appropriate texts for decoupling the cold-war binary oscillation between east-west, global-local, and same-different which he argues continue to dominate the critical frames used by comparative and world literary studies today. Instead, he points toward what he defines as a "common strangeness."
Penguin China has just announced that they've bought world-wide rights, all languages excluding Chinese, for Wang Anyi's newest novel, Scent of Heaven, in conjunction with Penguin Australia.
Scent of Heaven won the 4th Dream of the Red Chamber Award, and will be a very welcome addition to the Chinese literary landscape in English!
By Eric Abrahamsen, April 15 '13, 4:04a.m.
Yu, who notably translated Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita and Raymond Carver’s short stories into Chinese, both with a great impact on China’s literary youth in the late 1980s and early 1990s, abandoned her life as a literary editor for Foreign Literature Review by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and started anew in the US in the mid-1990s.
Xi Chuan a Poetry Finalist for Best Translated Book Award
2013 Best Translated Book Award: Poetry Finalists
Transfer Fat by Aase Berg, translated from the Swedish by Johannes Göransson (Ugly Duckling Press; Sweden).
pH Neutral History by Lidija Dimkovska, translated from the Macedonian by Ljubica Arsovska and Peggy Reid (Copper Canyon Press; Macedonia).
The Invention of Glass by Emmanuel Hocquard, translated from the French by Cole Swensen and Rod Smith (Canarium Books; France).
Wheel with a Single Spoke by Nichita Stanescu, translated from the Romanian by Sean Cotter (Archipelago Books; Romania).
Notes on the Mosquito by Xi Chuan, translated from the Chinese by Lucas Klein (New Directions; China).
Almost 1 Book / Almost 1 Life by Elfriede Czurda, translated from the German by Rosmarie Waldrop (Burning Deck; Austria).
Bruce Humes interview in that's magazines
Shanghai Baby had been a big hit in China. Many young people identified with the racy story of 25-year-old waitress Coco, an aspiring writer who finds herself torn between her love for impotent, drug-abusing Chinese artist Tian Tian and virile German expat Mark. The novel seemed to capture the zeitgeist, as China opened up to the West and foreign influences, with Shanghai at the forefront of this transformation.
It was less popular, however, with the authorities. “[Wei Hui had] been making a lot of noise,” explains Humes. “Apparently, she went to Chengdu and the TV people were at the airport. Wei Hui was wearing one of her sexy outfits. She said something like, ‘I think every man should have their own Shanghai Baby.’”
A new chapter for children's book authors in China
Children's fiction is such a profitable business that publishing houses are clamouring for more material, and this has prompted many mainland writers to switch genres. But books by Yang and her fellow children's authors often get short shrift from more educated parents.
Karen Emmerich on Words Without Borders. This link is to part 2 of her essay, follow WWB link for part 1. http://wordswithoutborders.org/dispatches/article/the-making-of-originals-the-translator-as-editor-part-2
By Nicky Harman, April 6 '13, 6a.m.
Why This Book Should Win the BTBA 2013: "Atlas" by Dung Kai-Cheung
Why this book should win the Best Translated Book Award for 2013:
1. It’s not Jackie Chan. From Kai-Cheung’s introduction: "There are enough fictitious Hong Kongs circulating around the world. It doesn’t matter so much how real or false these fictions are but how they are made up ... I am not claiming that literature represents a Hong Kong more real than the movies, but it has its unique role and methods and thus yields different meanings. It is not just a different way of world-representing but also a different way of world-building, that is, creating conditions for understanding, molding, preserving, and changing the world that we live in."
2. It’s like Calvino plus Borges... At first glance, Atlas sounds a lot like Calvino’s Invisible Cities with a touch of the Borges
3. ... except that it’s not. it’s also something quite different and all of its own. (The titles Dung’s other novels make these influences even more obvious: The Rose of the Name and Visible Cities.) At times, this is more cerebral and heady than Calvino’s work, which makes this even more interesting.
4. It’s written in Cantonese and Mandarin. ... this book is originally written in Mandarin with some Cantonese expressions. This mix occurs in other works of Hong Kong literature, but may also be why it’s not accepted as readily by mainland China.
Yan Lianke's article on amnesia (NY Times)
"The amnesia I’m talking about is the act of deleting memories rather than merely a natural process of forgetting. Forgetting can result from the passage of time. The act of deleting memories, however, is about actively winnowing out people’s memories of the present and the past."
At the end of last week on twitter this question was posed: why don't people complain about poor quality Chinese>English translations? Good manners prevailed (no one was named and shamed), and as a critical session was not forthcoming, @cfbcuk held an ad-hoc Weekend Challenge to turn the question around and try to identify the 10 best translated Chinese books. For those who aren’t on twitter, but who might be interested, we’ll post the results below. The challenge was open to all, and while some eminent people participated (thank you!) we were also happy to include translated titles that people have enjoyed reading (thank you too!). In the end we received more than 10 titles. Here they are, in no particular order, except for The Story of the Stone, which was the clear favourite.
By Helen Wang, April 1 '13, 12:27p.m.
China's Bilingual Writers: Narrative with a Difference
Of course, there are popular novelists of various ethnicities who choose to write about their people using Chinese. Part-Tibetan Alai, author of King Gesar (格萨尔王) and Red Poppies (尘埃落定), comes to mind.
But what about ethnic writers who not only speak two languages native to China, but write in both? How does their ability to move seamlessly between two tongues impact their choice of themes and their “narrative voice”?
Science Fiction Studies - special issue on Chinese Science Fiction
Great Wall Planet: Introducing Chinese Science Fiction, by Yan Wu, tr. Wang Pengfei and Ryan Nichols.
Chinese Science Fiction: A Response to Modernization, by Han Song
Beyond Narcissism: What Science Fiction Can Offer Literature, by Liu Cixin, tr. Holger Nahm and Gabriel Ascher
Science Fiction for the Nation:Tales of the Moon Colony and the Birth of Modern Chinese Fiction, by Nathaniel Isaacson
“A Tale of New Mr. Braggadocio”: Narrative Subjectivity and Brain Electricity in Late Qing Science Fiction, by Shaoling Ma
Alterity and Alien Contact in Lao She's Martian Dystopia, Cat Country, by Lisa Raphals
Variations on Utopia in Contemporary Chinese Science Fiction, by Mingwei Song
Gloomy China: China's Image in Han Song's Science Fiction, by Jia Liyuan, tr. Joel Martinsen
Translation and the Development of Science Fiction in Twentieth-Century China, by Qian Jiang
Voyage into an Unknown Future: A Genre Analysis of Chinese SF Film in the New Millennium, by Wei Yang
Variations on Utopia in Contemporary Chinese Science Fiction
In the near future of 2066, China dominates the world as its sole superpower. A team of Chinese go players is sent to the poverty-stricken United States to show off China’s cultural superiority. By 2066, the United States has been forced to adopt the policy of biguan suoguo [closing doors to the world], exactly what the Qing Empire, China’s last imperial dynasty, did in the nineteenth century when confronted by the aggressive expansionism of the Western powers. In 2066, however, China’s experience as a “weak nation” repeatedly invaded and manipulated by “strong powers” since the late Qing has been decisively erased: China and the West have reversed their roles in world politics and the Chinese are finally triumphant. This is the future setting that opens Han Song’s Huoxing zhaoyao meiguo: 2066 nian zhi xixing manji [Mars Over America: Random Sketches on a Journey to the West in 2066], a novel published in 2012 that presents readers with an apparently utopian vision of China’s rise. Under China’s global leadership, a new world order is being formalised and humanity enters a period of prosperity and peace…
Article by Mingwei Song, Science Fiction Studies, Vol. 40, No. 1 (March 2013), pp. 86-102.
Forbidden love: incest, generational conflict, and the erotics of power in Chinese BL fiction
This article focuses on father–son incest stories, a distinct subgenre of Chinese Boys' Love (BL) fiction, to examine the cultural and political implications of BL in China. We start with an overview of the development of BL fiction in China, followed by a discussion of some representative texts. Situating our textual analysis within the context of traditional Confucian ethics and contemporary Chinese society, we argue that father–son stories showcase a feminine attempt to re-order the power structure in the family by means of eros. Since the family is conflated with the state in Chinese social organization, the restructuring at the family level will have significant political consequences. We conclude that BL is not only ‘better than romance’ but also more than romance. It is, first of all, an inclusive and powerful mental tool that enables Chinese youth, both male and female, to think out of the box.
Latest Review: "Lenin's Kisses" by Yan Lianke
The latest addition to our Reviews Section is a piece by Brendan Riley on Yan Lianke’s Lenin’s Kisses, translated from the Chinese by Carlos Rojas and published by Grove Press.
This is Yan Lianke’s third book to come out in English translation, the first two being Serve the People! and Dream of Ding Village. (Interestingly, this is his third translator, with Julia Lovell having done Serve the People! and Cindy Carter having translated Ding Village.)
In terms of Brendan Riley, he was born in Dunkirk, New York in the Year of the Fire Horse. He holds degrees in English literature from Santa Clara University and Rutgers University. He has worked for many years as a teacher, translator, editor, and writer. An ATA Certified Translator of Spanish to English, he also holds certificates in translation studies from U.C. Berkeley and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His translations include works by Juan Velasco, Álvaro Enrigue, Juan Filloy, and Carlos Fuentes.
Here’s the opening of his very positive review:
PR Among "Best Best Contemporary Chinese Art and Culture Blogs"
China's rapid urbanisation and population growth of the past 30 years has been almost inevitably paralleled by rapid growth in the arts and cultural scene. Yet the vastness of China's contemporary arts and culture scene can seem daunting. The following are the best arts and culture blogs and websites that will help navigate the riches of China's vast cultural landscape.
Chinese online literature – Voices in the wilderness
Internet writing has been nothing short of a revolution for Chinese literature. It has allowed myriad voices to be heard. The digital landscape and technology have changed since the first wave of authors began to write; readers in China now access novels through smartphones and tablets rather than desktops. Yet the internet remains the "single root" in China today to kick-start a career as a wordsmith, says Jo Lusby, managing director of Penguin China, a publishing house. "There are no authors under the age of 35 who were not discovered on the internet," she adds.
Translation Masterclass - Chinese with Julia Lovell
Saturday 25 May at 2.00 p.m.
Venue: London Review of Books Offices
The art of literary translation is at the heart of World Literature series at the London Review Bookshop. Over the year, we are running a programme of masterclasses led by a team of Britain’s most distinguished literary translators.
Some of you will have noticed that the London–based China Fiction Book Club, has a thriving twitter account, @cfbcuk. Launched, serendipitously, the day of the announcement that Mo Yan had won the Nobel Prize for Literature, it's going strong and has nearly 200 followers…(198 today and counting. Several new followers arrived between yesterday and today as a result of the Dorothy Tse story which appeared in the Guardian).
PLUS Helen Wang has launched 3 more Twitter accounts, all worth browsing:
Story of the Stone @caoxueqin1760; Lin Yutang @lytwords; and – together with the Emerging Translators Network - Translated World, @translatedworld. These have daily posts - have a look. If you don't yet have a Twitter account, then google the @names and you can reads the tweets...
By Nicky Harman, March 22 '13, 7:17a.m.
Murakami Haruki’s latest novel, his first major release since the 1Q84 trilogy in April 2010, goes on sale in Japan April 12. I haven’t found any hint of its name in English, but according to a report by Shi Chenlu at Chinanews.com (村上春树新长篇) , its (temporary) Chinese title is <没有色彩的多崎造和他的巡礼之年>.
Intriguingly, now the hunt is on for the Chinese translator. You may recall that the monopoly of long-time Murakami translator Lin Shaohua (林少华) ended abruptly when the contract for rendering What I Talk about When I Talk about Running was handed over to Shi Xiaowei (当我谈跑步时我谈些什么，施小炜译).
By Bruce Humes, March 21 '13, 9:37p.m.
Ever Mo Yan
Spiegel Online interviews Mo Yan, who says “I am guilty.”
The Guardian writes that “Mo Yan dismisses ‘envious’ Nobel critics.”
Mo Yan writes that “Good Literature Should Let Readers Discover Themselves”
One “Mo reason for culture promotion”
The Complete Review notices Mo Yan has more than one agent with “full rights to represent him in copyright talks and any other negotiations on cooperation.”
Sabina Knight on “Mo Yan’s Delicate Balancing Act.”
Martin Winter blogs about Mo Yan and Liao Yiwu 廖亦武
Chad Post on a book that didn’t make the Best Translated Book Award long list.
Charles Laughlin on “Mo Yan’s Nobel Prize for Literature: Resetting Chinese Literature” (a development of his article on “What Mo Yan’s Detractors Get Wrong“).
Perry Link at the Chinese University of Hong Kong Faculty of Law, 28 March: “A Tale of Two Nobels: Liu Xiaobo & Mo Yan” (in Chinese). Click to register.
At the Popup Chinese Sinica Podcast Alice Xin Liu, David Moser, and Brendan O’Kane talk to Kaiser Kuo about Mo Yan’s writing & reception, including a quick analysis of the three anecdotes from his literary acceptance speech.
Li Er: the future of the novel in China
The contemporary Chinese novelist, if they are a serious novelist, must therefore look for a new narrative method in order to establish a corresponding relationship between the novel and present social realities, and must respond as best they can to the complexity of Chinese reality. These responses first arise out of my questioning of how to preserve my true self in contemporary society. What kind of method is there to use in order to preserve at least a shred of the individual's subjectivity? How to converse with others using personal experience is, I believe, the most crucial reason for the existence of the novel under our current heightened systematisation.
Nicky Harman to translate Chan Koonchung's novel
Chan Koonchung, the Beijing-based, HK-born author of the Fat Years (盛世) has just launched his new, sure-to-be-controversial novel in Chinese, entitled <裸命> (The Unbearable Dreamworld of Champa the Driver). Hong Kong’s Peony Literary Agency reports it has negotiated the sale of rights to Transworld Publishing, and plans are to release it in English in May 2014.
"Writers have long been fascinated by the wet stuff, and now we're opening the floodgates on a series of aquatic-themed short stories" says Richard Lea in the Guardian today. The Guardian has featured Chinese fiction before - five short stories translated from Chinese marked last year's London Book Fair. The current collection of "water" stories are from all around the world, some written in English, others translated. Dorothy Tse (谢晓红）wrote one in Chinese especially for this series, and it's translated by me.
By Nicky Harman, March 15 '13, 11:25a.m.
Literary Agent Love for Translators
Literary agent Kelly Falconer, who this week formally celebrates the launch of her Asia Literacy [sic] Agency (ALA) in Hong Kong, has some strong words to say in defence of a group of people she feels are overlooked by the industry.
“I am very concerned by the general disregard and lack of due respect given to translators,” she says. “I despair of the paltry fees offered to them, many of whom barely subsist on what they earn. I think fairer agreements need to be made more standard, and not only afforded to the big names in the translation industry.”
Yu Hua - Stealing books for the poor
All my works — my novels, essays and stories — can be downloaded free. My most recent book, “China in Ten Words,” which cannot be published in mainland China because of the climate of censorship, was accessible online here as soon as it was released in Taiwan. Pirated hard copies of books circulate just as openly — my last novel, “Brothers,” had been on sale in bookstores for only a few days when a copycat edition appeared in sidewalk stalls outside my house.
While the city boasts a bustling literary scene this month thanks to the ongoing Bookworm and Capital literary festivals with visiting international authors, journalists and thinkers, Metro Beijing spoke with some of the local writers in town, established and new. What they offer is a picture of how Beijing's wordsmiths are making their way into a successful writing career.
Featuring Sheng Keyi, Xia Jia and Vincent Qi.
The world has yet to see the best of Chinese literature
Imagine if every British novel published since the 1940s was about the Second World War. That’s about as accurate a view of contemporary China held by readers in the Anglophone West, say experts here.
Article by Samantha Kuok Leese, in The Spectator, 13 March 2013. Quotes Harvey Thomlinson, Julia Lovell, Kelly Falconer...
MCLC Review of Human, Beasts, and Ghosts
Rather, his essays are nothing short of an objective lesson of a "comprehensive" mind reflected in both content and style. The rich and myriad allusions in his essays serve to connect various "limited views," different conceptual and aesthetic categories both Eastern and Western, often in a surprising yet brilliant manner. Qian's knack for allusions, as Rea argues in his introduction, is more than simply showing off his erudition. It connotes, rather, a form of "intellectual egalitarianism" and exemplifies the working of a cosmopolitan mind. Still, even as Qian's cosmopolitanism is premised upon a conceptual equality among world cultures, this worldliness can also be daunting simply because the knowledge-scape it commands is too vast for any scholar with "limited views" to grasp.
I recently finished Jagannath, a collection of short stories from Swedish author Karin Tidbeck which, I only realized at the end of the book, belongs to the rare and strange category of books that have been translated by their own author.
"Damn this is a good translation," I thought more than once as I read the stories. There's no guarantee that an author will have the chops in a second language to do themselves justice, but Tidbeck does. From her afterword:
By Eric Abrahamsen, March 9 '13, 11:23a.m.
Columbia UP spring sale - 50% off all titles
To save 50% simply use the coupon code "SALE" in your shopping cart after you have entered all the books for your order, click "apply" and your savings will be calculated.
The fine print:
1. Sale is for North American orders only.
2. No special shipping (Next-day, 2-day, etc.)
3. All Sales final, no returns.
4. Discount applies only to orders placed through our website.
5. The "SALE" discount code cannot be combined with any other discount codes.
Chan Koonchung's new novel sold to Transworld UK
Chan Koonchung's sexually explicit novel, The Bare Truth about Champa, explores politically explosive issues in China today – relations between Han Chinese and Tibetans. Chan goes where no other Chinese writer has gone before. Transworld plan to publish in 2014.
Literary Agents in China: WTF?
Via the Complete Review:
In China Daily Mei Jia offers an appropriately muddled and confused
article claiming Literary agents open new chapter in China.
There's Nobel laureate Mo Yan announcing that: "his daughter Guan
Xiaoxiao has full rights to represent him in copyright talks and any
other negotiations on cooperation" -- though maybe that doesn't extend
globally, as Andrew Wylie still lists him as a client...
Chen Liming, president of Beijing Genuine and Profound Culture
Development Corp, who has been offering literary agent-like
services to top Chinese writers including Mo and Mai Jia, known
for his spy and detective novels.
(Personally, I think representation by them is worth it just for the
name alone -- who could ask for more than: 'Genuine and Profound
Culture Development' from their representative ?)
Of course Chen does have a problem:
Xi Chuan’s US Reading Tour 2013
Thursday, March 7:
4:30 - 5:45: AWP Boston: R267. Contemporary Chinese Literature in Translation, with Eleanor Goodman and Jonathan Stalling (Room 305, Level 3)
7:30: Cha: An Asian Literary Journal reading at the Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies at Harvard University, with Eleanor Goodman, W. F. Lantry, Kim Liao, Mai Mang (Yibing Huang), Tracy Slater, Marc Vincenz, and Nicholas YB Wong. Hosted by March issue guest editors Kaitlin Solimine and Marc Vincenz.
Friday, March 8:
12:00 - 1:30: Harvard University EALC Common Room (2 Divinity): Notes on the Mosquito – Poetry Reading and Talk by Xi Chuan, moderated by David Der-wei Wang and Lucas Klein
Monday, March 11:
7:00-8:00: Middlebury College Axinn Center 229: Poetry Reading by Xi Chuan
Tuesday, March 12:
4:30: Middlebury College Robert A. Jones '59 House conference room: Translating Poetry: A roundtable discussion with Chinese poet Xi Chuan, Central Academy for Fine Arts (Beijing), and his translator, Assistant Professor Lucas Klein of City University of Hong Kong, and Middlebury College faculty.
Wednesday, March 13:
TBA: reading at NYU China House
Friday - Saturday, March 15 - 16:
2013 Princeton Poetry Festival
Residency Fellowships for Chinese Poetry & Translation - Apply by April 1st
Henry Luce Foundation Chinese Poetry & Translation Fellowships at VSC. The Vermont Studio Center (VSC) invites applications for its Chinese Poetry & Translation Fellowships Program supported by the Henry Luce Foundation. In 2013, VSC will award 10 outstanding Chinese poets and literary translators with 4-week joint residencies to create new work individually and in collaboration as part of VSC’s diverse creative community.
Applications for this inaugural round of VSC/Luce Foundation Chinese Poetry & Translation Fellowships are accepted online or in printable form at www.vermontstudiocenter.org/apply as part of VSC’s April 1, 2013 international fellowships deadline.
2013 VSC/Luce Foundation Chinese Poetry & Translation Fellowships:
-- Five awards for poets whose primary language is Chinese. These awards include roundtrip travel and a discretionary stipend.
-- Five awards for English-language translators working with Chinese poetry.
-- These fellowships are available to individual poets and translators, as well as established working pairs.
Yu Hua: Inconsistent Censorship
Wait...a balanced, truthful, well-considered opinion about China, posted in the New York Times?
Could - could it be the NYT's Beijing Bureau is finally moving away from poorly informed, ideologically rigged reportage and toward transparent journalism? A miracle!
Oh, wait...Yu Hua wrote it...
SCMP on Bai Hua’s Wind Says
The South China Morning Post has published a review of Wind Says 风在说 (Zephyr Press), by Bai Hua 柏桦 and translated by Fiona Sze-Lorrain.
It’s a positive review, but it’s a horribly written one: full of cliches about Chinese essences (“Messages are conveyed in sharp but poignant images, paying homage to Chinese and Western writers of the past, as well as to the philosophical tradition in which Chinese writing is steeped.”), the untranslatability of translated poetry (“one must question how much is lost to the non-Chinese reader in translation”), and literary historical nonsense (“realism is, after all, a defining characteristic of Misty poetry, a reaction against restrictions on art during the Cultural Revolution”). By the time we reach the end line (“In Bai’s poetic voice, one can almost feel the winds of change blowing through the pages”), I feel queasy and am embarrassed to say I like the translations in a book that could inspire such homely homilies.
Oh, and there’s a picture of Chinese mountains enshrouded in mist–you know, because Bai Hua is post-”Misty,” get it?
This week I came across these two expressions for the first time. I'm about curious to know if there are Chinese translations of these expressions; if they come up in discussion in China; and if so, what people are saying?
By Helen Wang, February 23 '13, 6:34p.m.