On Monday the translation aficionados of Beijing descended on iQiYi to hear author Sun Yisheng discuss his story《猴者》("Apery" née "Monkey Business") with translator Nicky Harman and Pathlight editors Eric Abrahamsen and Dave Haysom. Raw first drafts were exposed, ancient linguistic enmities unearthed, and the democratic process defiantly spurned. A big thank you to everyone who came, to all the people at the Bookworm and iQiYi for hosting us (and resolving our inevitable technical crises), to Lacey for the seamless interpretation, and to Karmia for the photos!
By David Haysom, March 26 '15, 1:12a.m.
Zhang Guangyu’s Manhua Journey to the West (1945) – Part 6 of 6
Upon seeing the beast, Wukong was dumbfounded, so he replied, “Old Sun doesn’t know you, but I reckon that you’re a monster that’s here to make trouble, so I want to ask you, do you know who your daddy is?” The dragon replied, “Let’s not mince words, and I won’t ask what your name is. Everyone who comes here has to follow the rules: I get to test their intelligence. I give them all a riddle to solve, and if they guess correctly they get to go past. If not then I get to finish them off!” So saying, he opened his mouth and stretched out his tongue, spitting out several white bones to show the sincerity of his threat.
People's Literature 人民文学 launches new THINKER app
The app is a digital reading platform, where readers can download full texts of literary works published by People's Literature, and the app serves as a social network platform for writers and readers, where registered users can leave comments below an article and discuss their reading experiences.
Review of The Four Books in The Asian Review of Books
The novel, as with Yan’s other works, has been characterized as a satire. In truth, however, though there are satirical exaggerations in the novel, not least an extended metaphoric side-narrative in which a character attempts to grow wheat by feeding the grain with his own blood, the facts of the Great Leap Forward are so absurd that they require little overstatement by the politically motivated novelist.
Those of you who are in Beijing: come to the iQiyi cafe next Monday night (March 23rd) at 8pm, for an event with Sun Yisheng, Nicky Harman, Dave Haysom and myself, talking a bit about Pathlight magazine, but mostly about Sun Yisheng's story 《猴者》, and Nicky's translation of it: "Apery". Expect the usual keen textual autopsy, mixed with general literary commentary and snarky asides.
The event is part of the Bookworm Literary Festival, and is 60 RMB. It's taking place at iQiyi, the cafe sort of kitty-corner to the Bookworm that sticks up all by itself, you know the one.
By Eric Abrahamsen, March 19 '15, 10:27a.m.
Each year the London Book Fair hands out awards in a number of categories as part of its International Excellence Awards program. We're pleased to announce that Paper Republic has made the shortlist for this year's International Literary Translation Initiative Award. This is a wonderful bit of recognition, and many thanks to all who made it happen.
The short list is short: besides us it's Asymptote and the Dutch Foundation for Literature, so we're in excellent company.
By Eric Abrahamsen, March 18 '15, 10:03p.m.
Interview with Can Xue by Anelise Finegan Wasmoen
Feature and interview by Anelise Finegan Wasmoen in BOMB Magazine.
"For intrigued readers, Can Xue's body of work in English is substantial, including several story collections and two novels from among the hundreds of short stories, novellas, novels, essays, and criticism published in Chinese over her thirty-year career."
Can Xue's "The Last Lover" longlisted for The Independent Foreign Fiction Prize 2015
Translated by Anelise Finegan Wasmoen, published by Yale University Press, 2014.
Last Words From Montmartre Nominated for Lamda Literary Award
The 27th Annual Lambda Literary Awards–or the “Lammys,” as they are affectionately known–kick off another record-breaking year with today’s announcement of the finalists. They were chosen from a record 818 submissions (up from 746 last year) from 407 publishers (up from 352 last year). Submissions came from major mainstream publishers and from academic presses, from both long-established and new LGBT publishers, as well as from emerging publish-on-demand technologies. Pioneer and Trustee Award honorees, the master of ceremonies, and presenters will be announced in April. The winners will be announced at a gala ceremony on Monday evening, June 1, 2015 in New York City.
Zhang Guangyu’s Manhua Journey to the West (1945) – Part 5 of 6
Upon arriving at the Kingdom of the False Qin, Sun Wukong looked down and saw that the assembled monsters wanted to use artillery to attack the fleet. The monkey Sun couldn’t let this happen and so he firmed up his resolve and plucked 72 hairs from his body. Blowing them into the wind, he shouted, “Change!” And with that they changed into a multitude of air balloons, filling the sky. With that, he shouted, “Change!” again, and the air balloons all let loose bombs, and crashing thunder fell all around like the falling rain, exploding and sending off thick plumes of smoke, until the whole sky was filled with flames, until walls collapsed, ramparts fell in on themselves, and cries of distress could be heard, causing Tripitaka to shout loudly, “You brutish monkey, making a mess of things like this! You’ve committed a great sin by taking life, this is unacceptable, unacceptable!”
Fiberead Helps Foreign Authors Break Into China’s E-Book Market
"One of the reasons Fiberead is able to get book ready for the Chinese market more quickly than traditional publishers is because it works with about 300 qualified translators... Fiberead’s revenue-sharing model gives 30 percent of money earned by a book to authors and 40 percent to its translators and editors. The company, which does not require a down payment from authors, keeps the rest..."
Covering China Best-seller “Kite Runner”: Taking Translator Invisibility to the Extreme
So I saw Wolf Totem last night, and I think stayed awake for enough
of it to be able to write a short review.
A bit ago Bruce posted some thoughts and questions about the film,
focusing as he does on the ethnic minority angle, and asking about its
depiction of Mongolia and Mongolians.
Having seen the film, I can say with some confidence: it’s not really
about Mongolia at all.
By which I mean, this is a storyline that has been cooked down to its
essentials until it looks more like a film-school exercise in
story-boarding than it does a real story. It ended up being a
prototype for any and all films that follow the “civilized man visits
wise natives and learns their wisdom but doesn’t get the girl” arc.
Sure it’s set in Mongolia, and sure its got wolves, but all the plot
particulars are so rudimentary they feel like placeholders that the
filmmakers later forgot to replace with actual content. The Mongolians
could just be blank blobs tagged INSERT NOBLE SAVAGES HERE. Chen Zhen
might have a sign on his chest reading INSERT NAIVE IDEALIST HERE.
Mongolian is spoken, in exactly the same quantities as Lakota was
spoken in Dances With Wolves, or Na’vi in Avatar. In the same
quantities, and to the same purpose. Those movies – and a barrel more
like them – fleshed out the civilization-meets-savagery theme into
something that (even if you objected to it) had specificity, and the
emotional weight that comes with that. Wolf Totem remains an
insubstantial Platonic ideal.
Even the wolf scenes, sad to say. I did enjoy the night storm scene
with the wolf-pack chasing the horses. The shot of the horses the next
morning was the film’s most arresting visual image. And yet… the
“thrilling” wolf scenes were filmed in an entirely generic way. The
cinematography and the score were more appropriate to Avatar’s
scenes of dragon-riding or attack helicopters than wild animals.
Wolves have their own pace, their own tension, their own menace, and
the camera failed to find that.
Try reading this Q&A with Jiang Rong and you’ll see what I’m talking
about: his comments on the differences between the film and his book
immediately restore a sense of depth and reality to the story. And no
- Discussion of ethnic conflict removed.
- Doomed cross-cultural romance added.
- Death of wolf-cub removed.
This last is probably most revealing. Jiang Rong’s first explanation
is “Westerners would not be able to bear this. They would think this
was too cruel, and the animal rights people might protest.” Passing
over that non-sequitur, we come to what feels like the real reason:
…the parts of the film that include the cub are pretty superficial.
People were very moved by the wolf cub in the book because I wrote
about it in great detail. So when the wolf cub dies in the book, many
readers cried. Even I cried while I was writing it. The wolf cub’s
personality is very strong in the book up until its death, so it is a
very complete chain of events.
But since the cub wasn’t very prominent in the early parts of the
film, to have this shocking thing happen to it wouldn’t be very
In essence: “We took out the most emotionally affecting part of the
film, because the film doesn’t really have any emotion in it.”
I left the theater with the weird feeling that I hadn’t seen a film at
all, merely a description of one.
By Eric Abrahamsen, March 7 '15, 11:05p.m.
Liu Cixin - China's Arthur C. Clarke
By Joshua Rothman, in The New Yorker, 6 March 2015
*The Chinese Political Novel* by Catherine Vance Yeh
The Chinese Political Novel
Migration of a World Genre by Catherine Vance Yeh
Harvard East Asian Monographs 380, 2015
"The Gravedigger" by Yao Hui
Featured at Creative Asia: one of the six poems by Yao Hui translated by Eleanor Goodman for the Autumn 2014 'Myth & History' issue of Pathlight.
Amazon Opens Store on Alibaba
It’s a humbling choice for Amazon. Though Amazon’s been selling goods online in China for about a decade under Amazon.cn, it never managed to ride the Chinese e-commerce craze. Meanwhile, Tmall and JD.com, Alibaba’s prime competitor, continue to dominate. As Tech in Asia notes, the move means that Amazon is essentially paying Alibaba a commission to sell its goods.
Great Openers when Interviewing Winners of Nobel Prize for Literature
Like Mo Yan, for instance.
China's best books - Time Out’s guide to the top China fiction and non-fiction books you need to rea
Time Out Beijing present the ultimate guide to the best Chinese books since 1900. Discover the top 20 Chinese fiction and 20 Chinese non-fiction books as voted for by 25 of China’s top literary experts including Penguin Asia's Jo Lusby, author Lynn Pan and Newsweek's Duncan Hewitt.
Find out more about the rich history of China’s authors in Beijing in our guide to the city’s literary landmarks and where to find them, including Cat Country author Lao She's former residence and former Qing Dynasty literati hangout Taoranting Park.
Also discover Beijing’s best bookshops, and all the information you need to make the most of the Bookworm Literary Festival in March 2015.
SCMP: Beijing Bookworm Gets Into Publishing
Now, greater plans are in the works. General manager Peter Goff says The Bookworm is going to become a publisher, something he sees as a natural step forward.
Its newly established China Bookworm Press will focus primarily on contemporary Chinese fiction, translating books into English to make them more accessible to readers outside the mainland.
Zhang Guangyu’s Manhua Journey to the West (1945) – Part 4 of 6
Just when Sun Wukong thought he had nowhere to go, suddenly Princess Iron Fan stepped up onto the stage to ask the monkey Sun to dance with her. Sun Wukong said, “How come a monster like you is being so nice?” Princess Iron Fan said, “That’s all in the past, there’s no need remember such things! Come on! Come on!” Not wanting to seem impolite, the monkey Sun agreed to dance with her. He was surprised to discover she was an excellent dancing partner, with a slender and supple waist, like a poplar or willow, and soft, vulpine steps.
Peter Hessler: Travels with my Censor
My Chinese censor is Zhang Jiren, an editor at the Shanghai Translation Publishing House, and last September he accompanied me on a publicity tour. It was the first time I’d gone on a book tour with my censor.
Privy to the Plot - novelist Su Wei talks to Austin Woerner (in NY Times)
Su Wei, 62, is a novelist who teaches Chinese language and literature at Yale. He left China in 1989. This story was told in Mandarin to Austin Woerner, who is Su’s translator.
Jiang Rong on ‘Wolf Totem,’ the Novel and Now the Film
Q&A with the author, feature by Amy Qin, New York Times.
“Sound and Image: Chinese Poets in Conversation with Artist Xu Bing” Photos and Audio
Photographs and audio are now available from the February 24, 2015 event “Sound and Image: Chinese Poets in Conversation with Artist Xu Bing.” The standing-room only event featured a stimulating discussion between internationally acclaimed artist Xu Bing and five renowned Chinese poets: Bei Dao, Ouyang Jianghe, Xi Chuan, Zhai Yongming, and Zhou Zan. Their conversation was moderated by Lydia H. Liu, Wun Tsun Tam Professor in the Humanities at Columbia University, and John Rajchman, Adjunct Professor of Art History at Columbia University. Eugenia Lean, Director of the Weatherhead East Asian Institute and Associate Professor of Chinese History at Columbia University, introduced the discussion.
Wolf Totem, The Film: Breakthrough for Mongolian on the Screen?
The China Dream - discussion with Chan Koon-chung
TODAY (24 Feb) at the London School of Economics, a discussion with
- Chan Koonchung (The Fat Years,The Unbearable Dreamworld of Champa the Driver
- William A Callahan (China Dreams: 20 Visions of the Future)
- Isabel Hilton (founding editor of Chinadialogue)
- Hans Steinmüller (Communities of Complicity. Everyday Ethics in Rural China)
The Qur’an and Identity in Contemporary Chinese Fiction
by Wen-chin Ouyang, in Journal of Qur'anic Studies 16.3 (2014): 62–83.
Hold fast to God’s rope all together
I begin my exploration of the relationship between the Qur’an and identity in contemporary Chinese fiction with this quotation from the Qur’an because it encapsulates the communitarian impulse underpinning the writings of the two Chinese Muslims I have chosen to look at: Zhang Chengzhi (張承志, b. 1948) and Huo Da (霍達, b. 1945). It informs their identity politics. The verse itself appears in Zhang’s novel, A History of the Soul, Xing-ling-shi (心靈史, 1991), and, to the best of my knowledge, it may be the only quotation from the Qur’an found in the works of fiction
written by Chinese Muslims.
Zhang Guangyu’s Manhua Journey to the West (1945) – Part 3 of 6
Part 3 of 6 of a translation of Zhang Guangyu's 張光宇 (1900-1965) overlooked masterpiece, Manhua Journey to the West 西漫遊記.
Three-body Problem’s Liu Cixin on Translation, Readership Outside the English-speaking World
Xu Zechen - feature/review by Bertrand Mialaret
Yi Creation Epic Published in Korean, Based on “Reconstructed” Mandarin Version
Shaanxi Fiction via French Comics
*Internet Literature in China* by Michel Hockx
Conducting the first comprehensive survey in English of this phenomenon, Michel Hockx describes in detail the types of Chinese literature taking shape right now online and their novel aesthetic, political, and ideological challenges. Offering a unique portal into postsocialist Chinese culture, he presents a complex portrait of internet culture and control in China that avoids one-dimensional representations of oppression. The Chinese government still strictly regulates the publishing world, yet it is growing increasingly tolerant of internet literature and its publishing practices while still drawing a clear yet ever-shifting ideological bottom line. Hockx interviews online authors, publishers, and censors, capturing the convergence of mass media, creativity, censorship, and free speech that is upending traditional hierarchies and conventions within China--and across Asia
Style in Translation: A Corpus-Based Perspective by Libo Huang (New Frontiers in Translation Studies, 2015), ISBN 978-3-662-45565-4
Publisher's page here
Front Matter, incl Contents available as pdf
Back Matter, incl Appendices available as pdf
By Helen Wang, February 10 '15, 12:14p.m.
Paola Iovene, Tales of Futures Past: Anticipation and the Ends of Literature in Contemporary China (Stanford University Press, 2014)
Carla Nappi reviews the book and interviews the author here:
By Helen Wang, February 10 '15, 10:12a.m.
“Funeral of a Muslim”: Korean and Serbian Rights Purchased
With sales of some 2.5 million copies, Funeral of a Muslim (穆斯林的葬礼，霍达著), Huo Da’s tale about three generations of a Hui family in Beijing, is quite possibly the most popular ethnic-themed novel ever published in China. It spans the turbulent years of the Japanese invasion, World War II and part of the Cultural Revolution . . .
Speaking recently at the China Development Forum in London, Goran Malmqvist (马悦然), a sinologist and Emeritus Professor at Stockholm University, said that "poor translations and little attention Chinese literature received from Western publishers are the major obstacles for Chinese culture to go global."
By Bruce Humes, February 9 '15, 5:42p.m.
Light Reading for Tibetans: “1984” and “A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich”
Francis Beechinor (from SOAS) has asked me to post this event for anyone in London next week: "Having lived in both Hong Kong and the UK, Jennifer Wong, the author of Goldfish and winner of the Hong Kong Young Artist Award, will share her insights on Hong Kong as both an inherently Chinese and international city. Through readings of some of her own poems about Hong Kong, she will share her views on the city's unique culture and identity. Come along to hear about the life of a poet and what it means to be a citizen of Hong Kong today. Feel free to join the Facebook event.
Venue: School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, Rm 116
Date/time: Tue 17 Feb 2015 - 18:30 - 20:00.
By Nicky Harman, February 9 '15, 6:43a.m.
Creative Writing In China
More specifically, the rise of creative writing courses in China - both Chinese and English creative language writing courses.
French Translation of Chi Zijian’s “Last Quarter of the Moon” Underway
French edition of Chi Zijian's tragic novel about the reindeer-herding Evenki of China's northeast, Last Quarter of the Moon, will eventually join English, Dutch, Italian, Spanish, Japanese and Turkish versions . . .
Ann Morgan’s recent publication Reading the World: Confessions of a Literary Explorer devotes no fewer than five pages (pp.208-212) to the first translations of Sherlock Holmes into Chinese, the spoiler-titles (eg The Case of the Sapphire in the Belly of the Goose and The Case of the Jealous Woman Murdering Her Husband), and the Chinese gong’an (court case) tradition.
By Helen Wang, February 6 '15, 11:43a.m.
“Hegemonic Mindset” Hampering Recognition of Manchu Contribution to China’s Literature
Right up to today, all Chinese literary history is actually the history of literature written in hànyǔ — the history of literature by the Han plus literature written in hànyǔ by some ethnic minority writers . . .
The 2015 Visual Guide to Translated Fiction
This is NEW from Typographical Era!
You can search/sort by
AUTHOR | GENRE |LANGUAGE | MONTH | PUBLISHER | TITLE | TRANSLATOR | RANDOM | STATS | SUBMIT | WEBSITES
and you can add to their list by using the SUBMIT tab.
Call for Manuscripts: Book Series on East Asian Comparative Literature and Culture
Book Series: East Asian Comparative Literature and Culture (ISSN: 2212-4772) www.brill.com/eacl
Series Editors: Professor ZHANG Longxi (City University, Hong Kong) and Professor Wiebke Denecke (Boston University, Boston).
Editorial Board: Alexander Beecroft (University of South Carolina), Ronald Egan (University of California, Santa Barbara), Joshua Fogel (York University, Canada), Alexa Huang (George Washington University), Peter Kornicki (Cambridge University, UK), Karen Thornber (Harvard University), and Rudolf Wagner (Heidelberg University, Germany).
Jan 30 at Nottingham U: 21st Century Sino-African Dynamics
Time/date: 12:00-13:00 Friday, Jan 30 2015
Venue: Nottingham University, England.
Speakers: Dr Kathryn Batchelor & Dr Catherine Gilbert.
Topic: “Literary Translation, Image Building and Soft Power: Exploring 21st century Sino-African dynamics” . . .
Qing Dynasty Translations of Han Classics into Various Languages of China
The four classics of Chinese vernacular literature during the Ming and Qing Dynasties — Romance of the Three Kingdoms, Water Margin, Journey to the West and Dream of the Red Chamber — were all more or less fully translated into Manchu under the Qing, writes Yiming Abula (伊明·阿布拉) in Minority Translators Journal (民族翻译) . . .
2015 Update: The Xinjiang Archives Project
China to Force Authors to Provide Real Names When Publishing Online
Under the guidelines, creators of online content will still be allowed to publish under pen names. But unlike before, when some writers registered accounts under fake names, websites will know exactly who is publishing what.
Sun Saiyin's new book on Lu Xun (with preface by Julia Lovell)
Beyond the Iron House: Lu Xun and the Modern Chinese Literary Field. Beijing: Tsinghua University Press, 2014. 294 pp. ISBN: 978-7-302-38494-6 [written in English]
Preface written by Julia Lovell:
"I first read Sun Saiyin’s eye-opening work on Lu Xun when I was finishing my translation of Lu Xun’s complete short stories. For months, I had been absorbed in Lu Xun’s fictional language: in trying to understand his choice of words and tone, and trying to replicate them faithfully in English. Saiyin’s work drew me back outside Lu Xun’s abstract, fictional worlds, pushing me to re-engage with the writer as an individual and with his context..."
By the Numbers: Non-Han “Literary Families” during the Qing
In much the same way as modern gender studies have exploded the myth that great writers throughout human history were necessarily male, contemporary research into literary production by non-Han authors is slowly lifting the veil on their role in China’s pre-20th-century literary life . . .
Premier Kazakh Literary Competition Announces Winners
The winners of the first-ever Aksay Kazakh Literary Competition have been announced (“阿克塞” 哈萨克族文学奖揭晓). It joins two existing high-profile sets of awards for writing in languages other than Mandarin: the Junma Ethnic Literary Awards, which accepts entries in all non-Han languages, and the Duorina Mongolian Literary Prize. The competition was jointly sponsored by China Institute of Minority Writers and Aksay Kazakh Autonomous County in Gansu Province, with the collaboration of National Literature Magazine (民族文学) . . .
Eileen Chang’s ‘Half a Lifelong Romance’ Gets an English-Language Translation
It took 46 years, but at long last English-language readers are now able to enjoy one of Eileen Chang ’s most popular works, “Half a Lifelong Romance,” published last year by Penguin Classics, with a U.S. edition from Vintage Books scheduled for release next month.
CANAAN MORSE reviews:
Salsa, by Hsia Yu, translated by Steven Bradbury (Zephyr Press, 2014)
The poet and the translator of this collection have successfully created and re-created poetry across a linguistic boundary. This may sound unremarkable, but consider: not all translation, but only good translation can achieve this. These poems, especially the translations, exist both within and outside of their originators’ control, and now that each of the many essential parts has coalesced, it is also necessary to name those parts: a name on the book cover that belongs to one of the most important poets in Taiwan’s literary history; a collection of forty-six poems that has been through ten printings in the Chinese; forty-six English poems that are translations of the forty-six Chinese poems, and are also poems in themselves; the visible hand of the translator, Steven Bradbury, a professor of English literature in Taiwan whose scope as a translator encompasses classical, modern, and contemporary poetry in Chinese; and a vast, burgeoning interpretive space, not a gulf between the two versions but an aura around each that opens up as the reader vivifies the writing.
By Canaan Morse, January 23 '15, 2p.m.
China's smog provides cover for burglar in novel by environment official
(Reuters) - China's pollution crisis has inspired an environmental regulator in a smog-blanketed northern province to write a novel whose extracts have gone viral online, spurring plans for two more books.
Culture Author Yu Qiuyu Reenters the Limelight with Debut of His First Novel
Culture writer Yu Qiuyu pens his first novel "Icy River" ( 余秋雨:《冰河》)
11th-Century Turkic Classic “Kutadgu Bilig” Recited in Chinese at the Great Hall of the People
Zhu Tianwen, the unbridgeable gap between literature and film
Zhu Tianwen is one of the most famous Taiwanese writers, she has just been awarded the Newman prize, a biennial prize by the University of Oklahoma. She is the first female recipient and was in good company with finalists such as Yu Hua, Yan Lianke, Ge Fei. She succeeds Mo Yan and Han Shaogong who were awarded the prize in 2009 and 2011 as well as theTaiwanese poet Yang Mu...
Compiling New 150,000-entry Tibetan Dictionary: Any Role for the Tibetan Diaspora?
Xinhua reports that the first 3 volumes of a new all-Tibetan dictionary will be published within 2015, with the other 27 to be gradually launched through the end of 2018 (新版《藏文大辞典》).
Anyone who follows the PRC’s dictionary scene knows that the Chinese authorities can be more than a tad political about their dictionaries – which script they employ, which words make the cut (or don’t), and crucially, who actually edits them . . .
“Nationalities Literature” Magazine Announces 2014 Award Winners
The beginning of the year sees various deadlines for submitting books for ‘best translated books’ awards. What’s out there, and who can apply?
By Nicky Harman, January 18 '15, 5:01p.m.
Beijing metro users access free e-books
Finding something to read on the underground just got a bit easier in Beijing, where travellers can now access a free electronic library.
Carriages on Line 4 of the city's metro feature barcodes which people can scan with their tablets or smartphones, China's BTV News channel reports. They'll be able to choose from a selection of ten books, which will change every couple of months.
The new Social Media list on the right of the Paper Republic home page lists the China Fiction Book Club. For those of you who haven't come across it before, the CFBC started out as a London-based translation club, meeting every month to translate and discuss contemporary Chinese fiction. After a couple of (very lively and successful) years, work pressures got the better of most of us, and the CFBC went a bit quiet until the day, soon after, when it turned into a Twitter account, @cfbcuk. Amazingly, Helen Wang and I got together over a cup of coffee to set up the account on Twitter the very day that Mo Yan won that prize. Two and a bit years later, the @cfbcuk has hit two milestones: over 1,000 followers and very nearly 5,000 tweets. Follow it if you can!
By Nicky Harman, January 16 '15, 2:22p.m.
New York Review Books announces new series: Calligrams
New York Review Books is pleased to announce the debut of Calligrams, a new series of writings from and on China. Calligrams will encompass a wide array of poetic masterpieces, classic fiction, thrilling dramas, travel writing, criticism, and histories written by both Chinese and Western writers from antiquity to modern time. The series, made possible by a publishing partnership with the Chinese University of Hong Kong Press, is edited by Eliot Weinberger.
Chen Xiwo's first full collection of stories in English
"Chen Xiwo’s worldview mimics various types of pain, both fierce jabs and slow throbbing. ... “The Book of Sins” is Mr. Chen’s first full collection of stories to be translated into English. Nicky Harman, a former translator-in-residence at the Free Word Center in London, does this with aplomb, allowing Mr. Chen’s delight in the intricacies of his language to shine through. At one point Mr. Chen writes that the character for “smile” (笑 ) looks “like a radiant grin,” “cry” (哭 ) “like a sad face” and, most pertinently, “death” (死 ) “like someone meeting the end fearlessly, head on.”
"The Books of Sins" by Chen Xiwo, tr Nicky Harman, reviewed by Clarissa Sebag-Montefiore in the Wall Street Journal.
Running through Beijing review in Tribune magazine, UK
"Eric Abrahamsen's... version sounds absolutely authentic; his dialogue is spot-on. Credit also to Two Lines Press for taking a punt on a work by an author few westerners have heard of. With luck, more of Xu’s longer work will follow."
You may recognize the name of Sheng Keyi (盛可以) as the novelist who wrote Northern Girls (北妹) and more recently Death Fugue (死亡赋格), both translated into English. But you might not know that she is a budding artist as well. She took up painting in 2013. Check out her brushwork here.
You are invited to attend the exhibition, comprising 26 tableaux, as well as the launch of her latest novel, Savage Growth (野蛮生长), which also features her own illustrations:
Date/time: 3:00-5:00 pm, January 17
Venue: New Millenium Gallery (北京千年时间画廊)
Curator: Zhang Siyong (张思永)
Academic Support: Feng Tang (冯唐)
Special Guests: Li Jingze (李敬泽), Liu Zhenyun (刘震云), Wu Hongbin (武洪滨), Li Jian (李健), Li Xiuwen (李修文) and A Yi (阿乙)
By Bruce Humes, January 13 '15, 12:51a.m.
In 贾平娃：只能是守株待兔, we learn that Jia Pingwa’s latest novel 老生 (Lǎo Shēng) topped Sina Online’s 2014 ranking of “ten great books” (新浪年度十大好书).
The report points out that despite his popularity in China, his novels are rarely translated. “Whoever is willing to translate [my books], I welcome to come and negotiate the rights. But if no one does, I don’t know where to go to find translators,” says the author himself, perhaps slightly exasperated at the lack of interest from overseas publishers.
As usual, this is a bit of an exaggeration. Several of his books have been translated into French, including the once-banned La capitale déchue (废都). But only one of his novels, Turbulence (浮躁, tr. Howard Goldblatt), appears on Amazon in English. So this is probably more about his failure to gain more prominence in the English-speaking world.
Thus the question: Given his reputation in China, why haven’t most of Jia Pingwa’s novels been translated into European languages?
By Bruce Humes, January 12 '15, 10:11p.m.