Chinese Literature Week in Norway
By Eric Abrahamsen, published November 16, 2011, 3:18a.m.
I'm in Norway for the House of Literature's Chinese Literature Week (see the link for full schedule). Participants include Xi Chuan 西川, Wang Hui 汪晖, Murong Xuecun 慕容雪村, Ma Jian 马建, Leslie T. Chang, Rebecca Karl, Michael Dutton, Li Yiyun 李翊雲, Hong Ying 虹影, Mian Mian 棉棉, Xu Zechen 徐则臣, Han Song 韩松, Lan Lan 蓝蓝, Cheng Yong Xin 程永新, Zou Zou 走走 and me (thank you Lucas for typing all that up). Annie Baby was supposed to come, but she recently received word that her magazine, Open, was going to be shut, and stayed home instead. The spirit hovering over all this is Halvor Elfring who, besides having a pretty decent name, is Norway's principle sinologist and gracious dinner host of sundry China-related vagabonds [edit: I got Halvor Elfring confused with Harald Bøckman, who has a less exciting name but makes up for it with a great beard].
I'm pleased to be here: we put a fair amount of work into the planning stage of this event ("we" here means Canaan), and it's nice that we can also be present for its execution ("we" here means me). Houses of Literature around the globe, take note!
This is day three of events, but I only arrived last night, so more reports to follow. So far, the House of Literature seems lovely: a large, well-run place offering regular readings and author talks, with a writing center, writer-in-residence quarters, children's literature center, and bookshop. The bookshop had a nice selection of Chinese literature in English and Norwegian translation: Lenin's Kyss by Yan Lianke can only be 受活 (Shouhuo), currently being translated into English by Carlos Rojas. I was also foolishly amused to read of Mo Yan's association with the "Lu Xun-prisen" and the "Mao Dun-prisen". I guess a translator shouldn't laugh at these false cognates—the problem is in your head, after all, not the language—but one permits oneself a little snarkle.
Events have so far been packed: 500+ for writers with no Norwegian translations.