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 email@example.com.
By Eric Abrahamsen, August 27 '14, 9:57a.m.
Canaan Morse Wins Susan Sontag Prize for Ge Fei Translation
Canaan Morse is a literary translator and editor whose work has appeared in The Kenyon Review, Chinese Literature Today, Words and The World, Pathlight: New Chinese Writing, Chutzpah!, and Cha: An Asian Literary Journal. A recent graduate of Peking University's Chinese department with an M.A. in Classical Chinese Literature, he lived in Beijing for six years where he co-founded the literary quarterly Pathlight: New Chinese Writing. His translation of Ge Fei's The Invisibility Cloak is due for publication by New York Review of Books in 2015.
New in Chinese: “The Chilli Bean Paste Clan” by YAN Ge
The latest in "Dispatches" from Words Without Borders. By Nicky Harman:
You might imagine that I thought long and hard in choosing my best untranslated book, because China has so many writers and so little of their work reaches the West, at least in English. But I plumped without any hesitation for Yan Ge’s The Chilli Bean Paste Clan. (The title in Chinese is 《我们家》Our Family.)
Towards the end of last year, the China Writers Association announced the inception of two new literary translation funds, one for general fiction, and the other specifically for minority fiction. Many applications were submitted, and then we all commenced to wait. And wait, and…
We started to suspect that the whole thing had foundered on some hidden bureaucratic sandbar, but just recently we heard that the program is, in fact, still under way – not only that, the CWA is actually ready to announce its first round of winners. Not announce, exactly: the winners will be contacted on the down-low. We're trying to convince them that publicizing the full list is in everyone's best interest, but it's not clear if that argument will take.
If you applied for funding, and have been chosen, expect to get that news "soon". The translators among you will know how to translate that "soon" into English. You publishers can probably also figure it out.
If you applied and didn't get it… you may never know! Unless we can talk them into publicizing the list.
By Eric Abrahamsen, August 25 '14, 6:30a.m.
Winners of the "2013 China International Translation Contest," co-hosted by the State Council Information Office, Chinese Writer Association and the China International Publishing Group, have been announced. According to 国际翻译大赛, the organizing committee provided 30 pieces of contemporary Chinese short stories from which to choose, and 1,006 renditions were received from over 30 countries in English, French, Spanish, Russian and Arabic.
By Bruce Humes, August 24 '14, 3:06p.m.
Sinologists' Seminar on Literature and Translation
The seminar, held by the Chinese Writers Association, gathered some 70 Sinologists, academics who specialize in China, from all over the world to "parse Chinese stories" with a dozen Chinese authors, including Mo Yan and Mai Jia. (With a great photo!)
The Lu Xun Prize - questions of credibility
BEIJING, Aug. 14 (Xinhua) -- China's prestigious Lu Xun Literature Prize has come under fire after its most recent award winner for poetry was denounced as a "shame on poetry."
Beijing Int'l Book Fair: Evening Literary Events
Chinese authors Xu Zechen and Wang Gang, Russian poet Maxim Amelia, Chinese and Swedish illustrators, Chinese translator Huang Liaoyu, and more, including venue addresses in Chinese and English . . .
The deadline for the CELT translation training course has been extended to August 18 (2014), since (for reasons I personally cannot fathom) the number of applicants to date has amounted to something less than a tidal wave.
I want to emphasize what a worthwhile thing this is: personally, the two courses I attended were not only the most helpful things I've done for my development as a translator, they were also instrumental in the solidification of a society of C-E literary translators, a social circle or support group, a mafia even. And needless to say they were a hell of a lot of fun. So do it, already!
See below, and after the jump, for more details:
The Chinese English Literary Translation course will run from 22nd to 27th September 2014 in the Yellow Mountains. The course will offer a mix of literary translation and creative writing workshops, with guest speakers.
By Eric Abrahamsen, August 12 '14, 6:48a.m.
Aug 21 Update: Qingdao to Host Translation Conference in Run-up to Beijing Int’l Book Fair
. . . 26 international Sinologists and translators will be taking part from Austria, Egypt, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Italy, Japan, Korea, Romania, Russia, Turkey, Ukraine, and the U.S. They include the (in)famous German Sinologist Wolfgang Kubin, Ezra Vogel (author, Deng Xiaoping and the Transformation of China), Nicoletta Pesaro (Italian translator of Ma Jian and Yu Hua), Turkey’s Giray Fidan (author, Ottoman Firearms and Ottomans in China during the Kanuni Era) . . .
Aug 21: just learned that authors Chi Zijian, Wang Gang, Bi Feiyu and Zhang Wei will also be taking part in several forums, as well as literary agent Toby Eady
[Note: China-based translators and publishing professionals welcome to attend]
China Launches Premier Kazakh Literary Competition
Winners will be handsomely rewarded: 1 grand prize winner, 120,000 yuan (US$19,500); and 30,000 yuan (US$4,875) each for 4 winners in original fiction/poetry, 2 winners in the translation category, and 2 “promising new writers" under 40 . . .
The Interbellum Manhua Boom
Between World War I and World II, Republican era Shanghai experienced a boom in manhua--Chinese cartoon magazines--that has yet to be matched even today.
9 Oct - "Writing Chinese" launch - Chen Xiwo in Leeds
Writing Chinese Launch – Chen Xiwo 陈希我 in Leeds
October 9th, 2014 @4.30 pm – 6.00 pm. Venue to be announced
We’re delighted to be joined by author Chen Xiwo, translator Nicky Harman, and Make-Do Publishing’s Harvey Thomlinson for the official launch of ‘Writing Chinese’. Chen will be reading from his new collection The Book of Sins (冒犯书), which will be followed by a talk and discussion by Chen, Nicky and Harvey.
Extract: “Back Quarters at Number 7” by Manchu Writer Ye Guangqin
Grandpa Zhao’s narration was forever populated with fairy foxes, Siberian weasel spirits, and serpents. We were terribly afraid of these creatures, and all of them were inseparable from Number 7’s courtyard. It seemed behind that small gate were hidden innumerable deadly demons:
It was an inauspicious residence. No one would rent or buy it. In 1900, during the reign of Qing Emperor Guangxu, the Eight Allied Armies took the capital, and the retinues of the two palaces – the Emperor’s and the Empress Dowager’s – departed in great haste with Their Highnesses . . .
The notorious – nay, infamous – Chinese-English Literary Translation course is coming around for its third incarnation this coming September (2014). For five days, translators and writers will gather in Huangshan to pick each other's brains, watch each other work, and try to teach each other a little something. Be part of the event that has launched so many illustrious translation careers! Or at least, introduced some fairly interesting people to one another.
This time, the course is being run by the Foreign Languages Teaching and Research Press (FLTRP), in partnership with the British Centre for Literary Translation (BCLT), and SAPPRFT.
The course will be held this fall, September 22 to 27. The application deadline is August 10: be sure to send your completed application form and a scan of your passport to firstname.lastname@example.org before then. Attendance free, but you'll have to get yourself there, and also pay for room and board (I had this wrong intially, my apologies!).
The Chinese-to-English writers and workshop leaders are:
- Li Juan, 李娟, led by Andrea Lingenfelter
- Li Pingyi, 李平易, led by Bonnie McDougall
- A Yi, 阿乙, led by Eric Abrahamsen
For more information about the course, you can download the full information sheet.
By Eric Abrahamsen, July 21 '14, 4:30a.m.
Reveiw of Running Through Beijing (Xu / Abrahamsen)
As a prisoner, I am fascinated by others in my predicament, especially by those imprisoned in other countries. Running Through Beijing begins in a Chinese prison, or more accurately, with the words, “I’m out,” spoken by Dunhuang, a former seller of fake I.D.’s. We don’t get a look inside an actual prison until later when he goes to see his friend, and then we only go as far as the visiting room...
Penguin China is hiring an acquisitions editor
Penguin Books is recruiting an acquisitions editor. You will be responsible for building Penguin's award-winning publishing list in the English language, finding books for us to publish, and managing the editing and print process. ... This position will be based in Hong Kong, Beijing, or Shanghai, and applicants should be native-level English speakers. For a full job description, please email email@example.com with a recent resume and cover letter before August 15, 2014.
New project on contemporary Chinese writing at Leeds University
'Writing Chinese: Authors, Authority and Authorship' is a new project based at the White Rose East Asia Centre in the University of Leeds, UK. Bringing together writers, translators, publishers, literary agents and academics working in the field of contemporary Chinese literature, we aim to foster closer links and dialogue, and to help promote contemporary Chinese writers in the UK.
The project is funded by the UK’s Arts and Humanities Research Council and will involve a series of talks, readings and other activities over the coming academic year, culminating in a symposium at Leeds in summer 2015. We will be holding a translation masterclass and competition, as well as a regular blog on this website, featuring articles on contemporary Chinese fiction and interviews with writers, translators, and others working in the field. And beginning in October, we will also be running a monthly virtual book club, focusing on up-and-coming authors.
56-year-old “Manas” Libretto Surfaces
There are several noteworthy things about this brief report:
The word “Kyrgyz” is not used to describe the cadre, the epic poem or the language used in the manuscript . . .
If you're in London, come and join a lively discussion about the possibility and impossibility of translation, at the FreeWordCentre. Joining Xiaolu Guo for the evening's discussion are her editor-turned-agent Rebecca Carter, and Free Word's former Translator in Residence Nicky Harman. Together, they'll use the novel, I am China as a starting point to explore questions of translation, censorship, Chinese culture, and what it means to call a country your home. Book in advance. It's 21 July 7pm.
By Nicky Harman, July 10 '14, 4:40a.m.
My contact with China-focused academic presses has increased substantially over the past three months or so, and each one of them has come back looking for Chinese to English translators qualified to take on academic projects, usually monographs on topics in the humanities -- Chinese social science, political economy, literary history and theory are just a few examples. Sourcing translators for academic work can be harder than sourcing for trade, for reasons I'll list below, so I thought I would put out an open call here to get everyone's attention.
By Canaan Morse, July 9 '14, 11:38a.m.
English PEN supporting Chinese fiction
The Book of Sins by Chen Xiwo, tr Nicky Harman (Make Do Publishing) -- winner of a 2014 English PEN award for promotion.
A Perfect Crime by A Yi, tr Anna Holmwood (Oneworld Publications) -- winner of a 2014 English PEN grant for translation.
Author Murong Xuecun summoned by police over Tiananmen Square event
The author had earlier pledged to turn himself in on his return from Australia.
"On the surface the government appears to be stronger than ever … yet it is actually so fragile that its leaders lose sleep when a few scholars meet and talk in a private home," he wrote in the New York Times in May.
"If the situation in China continues to deteriorate, I cannot stand idly by. If I too am arrested, perhaps more Chinese people will awaken to the realities of their situation. My arrest will be my contribution to resisting government efforts to erase the nation's memory."
Save the date.
Booking here: http://www.bl.uk/whatson/events/event162774.html
By Nicky Harman, June 13 '14, 12:49p.m.
I recently made a number of suggestions on concrete steps that could help ensure greater success for the “campaign to take Chinese literature global.” They are detailed in Open Letter to China Literary Exports, Inc..
中华读书报 (China Reading Weekly) interviewed me about my proposal, including the establishment of a Translator-in-Residence program. If you'd like to read the interview (in Chinese), and see the part of the draft text that was deleted just before publication, visit 建议：建立 ‘驻地翻译基金’，积极征募外国翻译家到中国短期居住.
By Bruce Humes, June 12 '14, 11:51p.m.
Master "Manaschi" Jusup Mamay Passes from the Scene
Along with the Tibetan King Gesar and the Oirat's Janggar, the Kyrgyz Manas is one of China's three officially recognized, classic oral epics originating among non-Han peoples.
Jusup Mamay, the last master "manaschi" (玛纳斯奇) capable of performing all 8 parts of the massive trilogy, has just passed away . . .
Capturing Xibe, "Language of Exile," for Posterity
The China Xibe Language and Culture Research Center in Ili, Xinjiang, has announced that it will soon begin systematically recording speakers of this Tungusic tongue that is closely related to Manchu (锡伯语言数字化). This is part of the national “Chinese Language Audio Database Project” (中国语言资源有声数据库工程) inaugurated in 2008 by the State Language Commission, and the center aims to complete the Xibe portion by August 2015 . . .
We're not blocked, are we? 'Course, it's hard to tell these days, they seem to be blocking most everything…
By Eric Abrahamsen, May 24 '14, 4:06a.m.
A DVD Playlist for Running Through Beijing
As you might expect, there’s a lot of cinema in this book. And, interestingly, there’s a lot of Chinese cinema that deals with similar subject-matter to Running through Beijing—young man immigrates from the provinces to the capital, does what he has to in order to survive, meets all sorts of other outsiders along the way.
So what we decided to do was to make a sort of DVD playlist to accompany Running through Beijing. Some of these films are actually in the book, and some of them are great material to watch alongside a reading of the book. Here they are, along with our pithy summaries, and some clips to give you an idea of the action.
Great interview on BBC World Service "Fifth Floor"
From the Beeb: "Chan Koon Chung is a Chinese author who writes about ethnicity, sex, and other provocative issues in China. His latest novel has been banned, although like other writers who delve into taboo subjects he remains free to live and continue writing from within China. The book is called The Unbearable Dreamworld of Champa the Driver, and to talk about its themes we've bring together Vincent Ni from BBC Chinese and Juliana Liu who is based in Hong Kong."
With @nivincent, @julianaliu on @BBC5thfloor http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p01z6f5z.
But please! #namethetranslator
By Nicky Harman, May 23 '14, 8:25a.m.
2014 Translation Database at Three Percent is an inspiring list in lots of languages. Any books not on the list? Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org and he'll add them.
By Nicky Harman, May 21 '14, 11:40a.m.
“Mysterious Realm of Lop Nur”: Xinjiang’s Answer to Tibetan Fiction Fever?
The phenomenal success of He Ma’s The Tibet Code (《藏地密码》, 何马著)—reportedly over 3m volumes sold—has spawned a host of thrillers and mysteries driven by a similar fascination with Tibetan history, religion and relics.
But Tibet is certainly not the only area of the People’s Republic rich in non-Han culture and history with strong potential for such fiction. Two novels by former journalist Jueluo Kanglin, including the newly launched 罗布泊秘境 (literally, The Mysterious Realm of Lop Nur), are bound to raise Xinjiang’s profile among aficionados of the “exploration thriller” genre . . .
Running Through Beijing review in the LARB
Xu Zechen’s slim 2008 novel /Running Through Beijing/, recently translated into an English version published by Two Lines Press (2014), transported me back to that city and all its colorful inhabitants. The novel captures the taste and tension of Beijing better than any I’ve ever read. I felt the grit from Beijing’s frequent sandstorms sting my eyes. I savored on my tongue again the spicy mutton of a hotpot joint. Readers will internalize the restlessness and loneliness of young strivers. And Eric Abrahamsen’s translation is so deft, it’s hard to remember that it wasn’t originally written in English. He especially executes slang-filled dialogue with pizzazz.
Not Altogether an Illusion: Translation and Translucence in the Work of Burton Watson
Burton Watson is not the poet-translator largely ignorant of Chinese as Pound or Rexroth were. Since the 1970s, he has lived mostly in Japan; nearing ninety, he still spends hours each morning and evening on translation work. Born in 1925, he was first exposed to Asian languages growing up in New Rochelle, New York, when workers at the laundry his father went to gave him lychee nuts, jasmine tea, and illustrated Chinese magazines; later a high school drop-out in the Navy stationed in the South Pacific, he picked up some Japanese to help him on shore leave. After being discharged, he studied at Columbia University, both as an undergrad and for his PhD (completed in 1956), under L. Carrington Goodrich and Chi-chen Wang, and was later a colleague of C. T. Hsia there.
His translations aim at readers looking for an introduction to Chinese literature rather than at specialists who want to test a fellow academic’s mettle via footnotes and bibliographies. Yet even as the scholar in him acknowledges that he can offer nothing but “one of a variety of tentative interpretations,” the translator in him nevertheless finds ways to make us, in Eliot’s words, “believe that through this translation we really at last get the original.”
“ Dreams are so good. Why do we have to make them a reality? ”
What’s a young Tibetan stud to do for a living nowadays in a tourist hotspot like Lhasa? And what happens when his childhood dream—to hang out in the capital of a country called China—comes true?
In the just-published The Unbearable Dreamworld of Champa the Driver, author Chan Koonchung takes us on a rocky road from Lhasa to Beijing. Along the way he paints disturbing vignettes. An apartheid-in-the-making. The eerie death wish of a would-be self-immolator. The Kafkaesque “black jails” where provincial petitioners who dare air their grievances to the Beijing Mandarins are brutalized, then sent home.
If they’re lucky, that is.
By Bruce Humes, May 14 '14, 2:16a.m.
Duorina Mongolian Literary Prize Winners Announced
Founded in 2010, the Duorina awards (朵日纳文学奖) aim to promote Mongolian literacy in the wider sense by rewarding those writing in the language, translating into or out of it, or writing about Mongolian literature in Mandarin.
Late in March 2014 the awards were handed out in Beijing, the capital of the Yuan Dynasty ruled by the Mongols, when it was known as Dadu (大都). Some 154 works were submitted for the competition, and among the 109 which were actually judged, 79 were in Mongolian and 30 in Mandarin.
Trends in the "Chinese Literature Globalization Campaign"
China’s culture apparatchiks are getting serious about bringing Chinese-literature-in-translation to the masses near you. Here are 3 trends detailed in an article (作家 “走出去” 新谋略) reprinted from China Publishing and Media Daily . . .
Ai Weiwei and Politically Correct Interpretation
The name and works of Ai Weiwei have been removed from a show in Shanghai, "15 Years Chinese Contemporary Art Award," about the history of Chinese contemporary art because of pressure from government cultural officials.
Mr. Sigg [former Swiss Ambassador to China] said he was angered to learn minutes before the opening of the show that museum workers had removed Mr. Ai’s name from the lists of winners and jury members painted on a wall.
He said he had considered stopping the show, but without any way to negotiate with Shanghai Municipal Bureau of Culture officials and minutes to go before the start, he instead chose to register his complaints in his opening comments. His mention that one artist couldn’t be included was not translated, he said.
Primer: Tibetan Kangba Literature in Mandarin
. . . “Kangba” (康巴) refers to parts of Sichuan, Yunnan, Tibet and Qinghai where the Kangba dialect of Tibetan is widely spoken, as well as to the people and their culture. This region was a “hub” of the ancient Tea Horse Road (茶马古道), and (reputed) birthplace of the King Gesar epic (格萨尔史诗) and Kangding love songs (康定情歌) . . .
China's Ethnic Literature Translation & Archiving Projects Make their Mark
Meanwhile, the editors at China’s very official Nationalities Literature Magazine (民族文学), which appears in Mandarin, Kazakh, Korean, Mongolian, Tibetan and Uyghur, have undertaken an innovative series of intensive “editing training courses” (改稿班) that bring together the magazine’s editors with minority writers and their translators. . .
The following review of Hong Ying's Daughter of the River, by Karen Ma, first ran on the NPR website
Hong Ying's autobiography, Daughter of the River, is doubly astonishing. First, it's an account of the Cultural Revolution that's not written by an intellectual. There's a certain genre of Chinese memoir that looks at upheaval under Mao through an elite lens, and I have to admit, I've been growing tired of those books. But Hong Ying comes from a very different background indeed.
I saw her speak at a literary festival in Jaipur, India in 2011, where she told the audience how she grew up along the Yangtze River in the slums of Chongqing — China's largest and most crowded city — and survived the great famines and Mao's failed political campaigns as a bastard child in abject poverty. I bought her memoir immediately. Her speech had touched me — but her book blew me away.
By Eric Abrahamsen, April 22 '14, 5:47a.m.