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Chinese Literature in Translation

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Pathlight Magazine

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A quarterly literary journal featuring translations of the best contemporary Chinese fiction and poetry.

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Book Expo America, 2015

Book Expo America, the largest US book fair, is schedule for late May 2015, and a certain ancient civilization is going to be the Guest of Honor. That means BEA is going to get the Frankfurt-2009/London-2012 treatment, with a small army of Chinese writers and publishers and "other" descending on New York for a few weeks.

Right about now is when the list of lucky writers is being compiled, and we'll have some small say in the compilation. They'll take into account which writers have recently published books in English (thanks again to Nicky Harman and Helen Wang for their timely compilation. Now I'm going to the peanut gallery with two additional questions:

  1. Who among you (translators or publishers) have English-language translations coming out next year, ideally (but not necessarily) in the US, and ideally (but not necessarily) in the first half of the year?

  2. Publications aside, who do you think should go? Who would make an interesting addition to the delegation?

Please comment here, or email me directly. Thanks!

By Eric Abrahamsen, November 18 '14, 9:40p.m.

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2014 translations from Chinese - a bumper crop

Chinese to English translations (books) 2014

For the last two years we have published a list of Chinese to English translations (books only) over the year. Here is our list for 2014.

As always, if we’ve missed one out, please post it below. (Previous lists are here: 2012 and 2013).

More…

By Nicky Harman, November 16 '14, 5:52a.m.

4 comments, viewed 222 times

Three Body I is Number One in Chinese Literature on Amazon

Check out the Amazon.com page for the hardback edition of volume one of Liu Cixin's epic sci-fi trilogy, The Three Body Problem. Volume one, translated by Ken Liu and published by Tor Books, has only been out for a few days, and as of today is ranked #683 among all books on Amazon, and #1 among Chinese literature. Holy crap.

Congratulations to Liu Cixin, Ken Liu, and in advance to Joel Martinsen, the translator of the forthcoming second volume.

And to the rest of you Chinese authors… Reach for the stars.

By Eric Abrahamsen, November 14 '14, 3:27a.m.

1 comment, viewed 47 times

Chinese Arts and Letters, vol. 1, no. 2 is out!

Please address inquiries or submissions to the editors at chineseartsletters@gmail.com or chineseartsletters@163.com (The deadline for inquiries for issue No. 3 is December 31, 2014; the deadline for submissions is January 31, 2015.)

CAL, vol. 1, no. 2 - Contents - see below

More…

By Helen Wang, October 18 '14, 9:22a.m.

1 comment, viewed 85 times

New Twist for Campaign to Take Chinese Literature Global?

In Books in the Turkish Stand in Frankfurt Book Fair, Turkish columnist Doğan Hızlan reports on Finland's neat marketing ploy at the just-finished 2014 Frankfurt Int'l Book Fair:

I also learned that in Finland there are 2.2 million saunas. They have carried this widespread sauna culture to the book fair. Reading sessions are being held in public saunas in Frankfurt. A Finnish author could bust into any sauna . . .

More…

By Bruce Humes, October 12 '14, 8:58p.m.

3 comments, viewed 57 times

Pathlight News

So it’s been a while since we made any sort of public announcements about Pathlight magazine, though in fact production has continued apace. In fact, we’ve got two rather large bits of news.

  1. Two issues have gone online more or less at once! How’s that for efficiency. The first is themed around minority/ethnic writers, and features writing by and about China’s ethnic groups. The theme of the second is gender – we started out thinking of it as a women’s issue, but it got a little bit bigger than that. Take a look, and tell us what you think!

    Both issues are available as digital downloads on both Amazon and iTunes – we’re experimenting with a lower price, so if you were previously balking at $6.99, see how $3.99 strikes you.

  2. The other bit of news is that we’ve had a changing of the guard: after two years and nine issues of Pathlight, Alice Xin Liu is stepping down as managing editor, to be replaced by Dave Haysom, of Spitting Dog fame, and Karmia Olutade, a superlative translator of poetry, and now poetry editor. Thanks and best wishes to Alice, and welcome to the new crew! As usual, you can reach us with suggestions or submissions at info@paper-republic.org.

Look for the next issue, themed around the re-writing of myth and history, early next month.

By Eric Abrahamsen, October 6 '14, 3:15a.m.

3 comments, viewed 26 times

Laborers of the Mind

There will be more to say about the Chinese-English Literary Translation Training Course over the next few days, but for now I leave you with an image of Jonathan Rechtman and Austin Woerner hard at work.

It's a brutal, thankless job.

laborers of the mind

By Eric Abrahamsen, September 28 '14, 6:04a.m.

2 comments, viewed 43 times

Chinese Arts and Letters: Call for Submissons

Chinese Arts and Letters, a literary and academic journal, solicits English-language contributions for issue No. 3. Texts not exceeding 10,000 words will be considered, consisting of translations of contemporary Chinese-language literature in any genre, essays on the Chinese arts and letters of any era, and creative writing in any genre about China. Translated texts or inquiries for translations must also submit the original Chinese text, and all translations will be reviewed for accuracy and style. Payment for contributions is 0.80 RMB per word (contributions) or per Chinese character (translation), before tax. Texts with a focus on Jiangsu may be given special consideration.

Please address inquiries or submissions to the editors at chineseartsletters@gmail.com or chineseartsletters@163.com The deadline for inquiries for issue No. 3 is December 31, 2014; the deadline for submissions is January 31, 2015.

By Eric Abrahamsen, September 15 '14, 2:28a.m.

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Chinese Books Go Global: M & A Coming Soon to Your Home Country?

When you have trouble moving product overseas -- and cash in your pocket -- you can always call on a classic strategy: take control of the distribution channels.

There are four traditional ways to do so: set up your own local firm; invest in a local firm; merge your firm with a local firm; or simply acquire an existing player in that market which owns a respected brand name.

Is China getting ready to do so in the publishing field, as part of its soft power push?

More…

By Bruce Humes, September 14 '14, 8:35p.m.

5 comments, viewed 63 times

Public Talk, and Translation Masterclass With Author Yan Ge 颜歌 and Translator Nicky Harman

Copied from Writing Chinese website:
Saturday November 1st, 2014. Public talk @11am – 1pm. Translation masterclass@ 2pm – 5pm. Venue to be announced (University of Leeds)

For our morning event, which is open to the general public (no registration required), author Yan Ge and her translator Nicky Harman will be talking about their work together. Yan Ge’s novella White Horse, translated by Nicky, will be released in October by Hope Road Publishing. And for a taster of more of Yan Ge’s work and why Nicky recommends it so highly, have a look at this recent article in Words Without Borders.

Our afternoon event is a literary translation masterclass, led by the author and her translator, and is open to anyone interested in the translation of contemporary Chinese fiction into English.

The masterclass is free but registration is required. If you’d like to attend, please email us at writingchinese@leeds.ac.uk. We will then email all attendees in advance with the text that we’ll be translating on the day.

We’re also pleased to announce that the masterclass will be followed by the launch of the Bai Meigui Literary Translation Competition. More details to follow soon!

By Helen Wang, September 8 '14, 2:26p.m.

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New Goodreads list: China Fiction Book Club

China Fiction Book Club (Twitter @cfbcuk) is now on Goodreads.com. We are on their lists - Listopia - and can be found by typing in any of a number of keywords e.g. Chinese + translated + fiction. The point of it is to get an open-access list of published translations onto Goodreads. So... get posting, people! You can also vote for books already listed (Helen and I put up 20 or so, just to get the list started) if you want.

By Nicky Harman, September 3 '14, 11:07a.m.

1 comment, viewed 82 times

If I Were a Political Cartoonist

If I were a political cartoonist, of the WWII-era ilk where they label everything in the cartoon so the point gets across better, I would draw a cartoon to illustrate China’s “Going Out,” the policy which is meant to bring Chinese culture to the rest of the world, and it would look something like this:

A patch of land representing China; in the center stands The Leader (it says that on his chest). He gazes off into the distance, one hand pointing outwards in the best 指点江山 style, and the words “Going Out Policy” are written on that sleeve. The other hand is loading sumptuous food onto crescent tables to either side of him. The food could be labeled “Government Budget,” but that should be self-explanatory. Seated around the outside of the tables are a host of people we could label “Government Functionaries,” until I think of something better.

The functionaries are shoveling food into their mouths, their gazes fixed in rapt devotion upon The Leader. They’ve all scootched backwards until their rear ends hang out over the border of China, and they’re saying things to The Leader like: “We have ‘Gone Out,’ and it is wonderful!,” and, “The foreigners are all amazed!”

Meanwhile, a few big-nosed foreigners (in berets and cowboy hats!) are standing around the outside of the border, looking at this line of plumber’s cracks, and asking each other, “What on earth are they trying to tell us?”


If only I could draw…

By Eric Abrahamsen, September 3 '14, 12:18a.m.

1 comment, viewed 41 times

China Writers Association Translation Fund Recipients

That wasn’t so hard after all – the CWA has given us the list of the 25 translation fund recipients for the last round of funding. What we don’t know are the details of translator/publisher (though in many cases you can guess), or how much funding will actually be supplied. But still, it’s an interesting list – see it below, after the jump.

In the meantime, the deadline is nearly up for the next round of funding for both the general CWA program, and its ethnic-minority fiction funding program. The ethnic-minority funding applications will be reviewed next month, and the contemporary fiction applications the month after, so time is short. If you’ve got all the necessary materials on hand (and the publishing contract is already signed), you can first send a digital version of the application to the Writers Association at dreamworker2013@163.com.

More…

By Eric Abrahamsen, August 29 '14, 1:41a.m.

2 comments, viewed 19 times

China Writers Association Translation Fund – Some News

Towards the end of last year, the China Writers Association announced the inception of two new literary translation funds, one for general fiction, and the other specifically for minority fiction. Many applications were submitted, and then we all commenced to wait. And wait, and…

We started to suspect that the whole thing had foundered on some hidden bureaucratic sandbar, but just recently we heard that the program is, in fact, still under way – not only that, the CWA is actually ready to announce its first round of winners. Not announce, exactly: the winners will be contacted on the down-low. We're trying to convince them that publicizing the full list is in everyone's best interest, but it's not clear if that argument will take.

If you applied for funding, and have been chosen, expect to get that news "soon". The translators among you will know how to translate that "soon" into English. You publishers can probably also figure it out.

If you applied and didn't get it… you may never know! Unless we can talk them into publicizing the list.

By Eric Abrahamsen, August 25 '14, 6:30a.m.

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