Our News, Your News
By Jack Hargreaves, March 20, '22
Hello one and all, this month's newsletter is packed with stories, poems and, much more so than usual, top notch podcasts for your all reading and listening pleasures. We'd also like to plug another newsletter we've been reading and loving recently, The Slow Chinese 每周漫闻, which is a resource to help you learn, use, and understand Chinese language the way people speak it today. The link there is for one recent instalment, but there are many, many more you can choose from on the site.
Also, some of you may have noticed in our annual roll call for 2021 that, for the first time, we included links to lists of published translations into other languages besides English. We would like to do more to promote and work with translators and publishers of Chinese fiction working in other languages, so this month we have the pleasure of sharing a roundup of news about Chinese literature in Spanish, from China traducida y por traducir in collaboration with DIGITRANS, which can be found beneath the usual news pieces. Unfortunately, some of the events mentioned in this roundup have already passed, but do keep your eyes out for similar happening in the future.
And last but certainly not least, just in case you've managed to miss the announcement, the Paper Republic Guide to Contemporary Chinese Literature is out now and available to purchase in paperback and ebook form. Known affectionately as The Guide, the publication features detailed biographical entries covering almost 100 of the most important writers working in the Chinese language today, alongside in-depth essays on topics like the role of the author, women's writing and Sci-Fi. We've already held one successful launch event in partnership with Aberdeen University Confucius Institute, and we have another coming up on Wed April 27th with China Institute, as well as one more in the works for anyone who is London-based (keep your eyes peeled for details about that). If you have questions or issues re: buying the Guide or registering for the event, please don't hesitate to get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks for reading!
Join us on April 27 @ 8:00 pm - 9:30 pm ET
Chinese literature can offer readers an extraordinary window into China, but for newcomers to this rich and complex world, where does one begin?
On Wednesday, April 27, China Institute joins Paper Republic to celebrate the publication of their Guide to Contemporary Chinese Literature, a distillation of the knowledge and experience of the Paper Republic team, and of translators and academics in the broader community, into an authoritative 300-page bird’s-eye view of Chinese fiction since the middle of last century.
This roundtable event brings together three contributors to the Guide: Paper Republic co-founder, Eric Abrahamsen, and two essay authors, Ping Zhu and Dylan Levi King, who are also authors, translators, and specialists in their own right. They will be discussing the length, breadth, and depth of contemporary Chinese literature, describing the importance of the Guide in its first edition and how that will expand in the future, and sharing sneak peeks into their essays and the Guide’s contents.
Perhaps the best way to get at what being a writer has meant and might now mean in contemporary Chinese society is to pull a few names out of the pantheon and figure out why their busts are on the mantle.
By Nicky Harman, March 1, '22
We are delighted to announce the publication, today, of our new and definitive guide to contemporary Chinese Literature. It features in-depth essays, including an introduction by prize-winning film-maker and author Xiaolu Guo on what reading Chinese authors means to her, and nearly one hundred biographies of contemporary Chinese authors. Buy it here in paperback or Kindle
By Jack Hargreaves, February 6, '22
A few of us had the pleasure of hearing Shiyan Xu speak at the launch of Paper Republic's latest Reads series, Figures in a Landscape, a partnership with Perspectives in the Arts and Humanities Asia to present short stories from their double issue dedicated to Nanjing literature. We thought a conversation with her about her most recent book, Mo Yan Speaks: Lectures and Speeches by the Nobel Laureate from China, would make for the perfect next feature. Enjoy!
You can buy the book here
By Jack Hargreaves, February 4, '22
Hello one and all. The title is my favourite of the New Year's related wordplay I've seen so far -- a happy and fortune-filled one to you, by the way -- but if you've heard or come up with better, please share it in the comments below.
This month's feature is a conversation with Shiyan Xu, a professor of English at Nanjing Normal University and Deputy Editor-in-Chief for Chinese Arts and Letters, who late last year had a compilation of the Nobel-Prize-winning author Mo Yan's speeches and lectures published with Cambria Press. Shiyan edited the collection, which she worked on with a number of translators and experts. A few of the team had the pleasure of hearing Shiyan speak at the launch of Paper Republic's latest Reads series, Figures in a Landscape, a partnership with Perspectives in the Arts and Humanities Asia to present short stories from their double issue dedicated to Nanjing literature.
You can find our conversation here and buy the book here.
On to the news!
By Nicky Harman, February 4, '22
Two China-lit-focussed programmes on BBC radio:
Saturday 5 February, The Cultural Frontline, "We hear from two award-winning sci fi writers. Chen Qiufan is the author of a series of short stories called AI 2041, 10 Visions of Our Future. And Xia Jia’s first English language collection, A Summer Beyond Your Reach, was published a few months ago." https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/w3ct1ptx
BBC Radio 3, Sunday 6 February, Paul French "A Chinese Odyssey: Artists, Poets and Exiles in Interwar London. Between 1937 and 1945, a small group of émigré Chinese artists and intellectuals living in London forged a unique bond between Britain and China. Paul French recovers the story." Sunday Feature https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m00147jr
Roundtable event to mark the publication of the first edition of the Paper Republic Guide to Contemporary Chinese Literature
Paper Republic is thrilled to announce the publication of the first edition of the Guide to Contemporary Chinese Literature, a distillation of the knowledge and experience of the Paper Republic team, and of translators and academics in the broader community, into an authoritative 300-page bird’s-eye view of Chinese fiction since the middle of last century.
This roundtable event brings together four contributors to the Guide: Paper Republic co-founder, Eric Abrahamsen, and three essay authors, Xiaolu Guo, Emily Xueni Jin, and Andrea Lingenfelter, who are also authors, translators and specialists in their own right. They will be discussing the length, breadth and depth of contemporary Chinese literature, describing the importance of the Guide in its first edition and how that will expand in the future, and sharing sneak peeks into their essays and the Guide’s contents.
By Eric Abrahamsen, January 10, '22
Paper Republic is partnering with Perspectives in the Arts and Humanities Asia, a journal at Ataneo de Manila University, to launch their newest double-issue focused on Nanjing Literature and Art.
This means two things: 1) you can attend the Zoom launch event by clicking on this link and registering. The event takes place January 11th, 4:30pm Manila time.
And 2), it means a new Read Paper Republic series of online short stories, and about time, too! We'll be publishing digital versions of the six short stories in this issue of PAHA, one a week, starting tomorrow. Free to read, as always. Please stay tuned for awesome new translations of Cao Kou, Su Tong, Han Dong, and Li Qiang!
By Jack Hargreaves, January 10, '22
We were very excited to see this tweet promising an upcoming Han Song publication from Amazon Crossing. While the book is a ways out from publication yet, we thought it would be interesting to talk to Gabriella Page-Fort, Editorial Director of Amazon Crossing, who acquired the title, and ask her a few quick questions about how and why she picked it up. Now we’re looking forward to it even more!
By Jack Hargreaves, January 9, '22
Happy New Year everyone! We hope you've found time for rest, relaxation and recuperation over the festive period -- a slowing down of things, if only briefly. And with another new year only just around the corner, this is a period of transitions, whether smooth or difficult, so here we are with very little segue, the first feature of 2022, a conversation between Eric and the editor of a number of books we were over the moon to see will be coming out in translation next year.
But first, remember to sign up here if you'd like to receive this newsletter in all its email glory!
In fact, signing up is the only way you're going to have longer features like this one laid out top-to-tail for your perusal. Otherwise, we'll be posting them on a separate page on the site for you to access, like this month's conversation which you can find here!
Also, tomorrow (Tuesday, Jan 10) marks the launch of a new collab, with Perspectives in the Arts and Humanities Asia: a special double issue on Nanjing literature & art, from which we'll be publishing six new translations of work by Nanjing authors, including Han Dong, Su Tong and Cao Kou. So make sure to check the website every Tuesday over the next few weeks to catch the newest instalment in our Read Paper Republic series.
And in other news:
Bernardini's arrest was reported in the news across the world on Jan 6th - an Italian who worked at Simon & Schuster, he also translated Rao Pingru's "Our Story" into Italian.
The comic novel, The Adventures of Ma Suzhen, was written during a highpoint in the popularity of xia "knight-errant" fiction. It is an action-packed tale of a young woman who takes revenge for her brother, Ma Yongzhen, a gangster and performing strongman, who has been murdered by a rival gang in China's most cosmopolitan city, Shanghai. After publication of the book in 1923, the character of Ma Suzhen appeared on stage, and subsequently in a film made by the Mingxing Film Company. The book version translated here, displays a delightful combination of the xia and popular"Mandarin Ducks and Butterflies" genres, with additional elements of Gong'an "court case" fiction. The translation is followed by an essay that explores the background to the legend of Ma Suzhen - a fictional figure, whose exhilarating escapades reflect some of the new possibilities and freedoms available to women following the founding of the Chinese Republic.
Translation and essay by Paul Bevan. Published by Springer Link, December 2021
By Nicky Harman, December 13, '21
There’s good and bad news this year. The good news is that books translated from Chinese have won an encouragingly wide selection of translation prizes and awards. For the first time, we have listed them below in different categories: prizes, awards and ‘other successes’. The not-so-good news is that, as in previous years, women writers and women poets are far less well-represented than men. The gender imbalance in all categories is shocking!
As usual, please let us know if you’d like to add books, star reviews and awards that we may have missed off the lists. Finally, we’re delighted to be able to add links to lists of books translated from Chinese into other languages. (Do let us know if there are more we can include.)
An online exhibition of seven short films from the Tibetan, Mongol, Uyghur, and Ewenki filmmakers and meeting up with the filmmakers, this Saturday, 11 Dec, 13:00 – 15:00 GMT
By Jack Hargreaves, December 6, '21
Hello and happy holidays y'all. I say that now, since the newsletter has settled into a regular monthly release for the time being, and this is the last you'll hear from me until the New Year. In the meantime, the PR team will get to planning the features for 2022, so if there's a subject you'd like to see us zoom in on -- be it an author, upcoming release, recent trend, anything Chinese lit related really -- please send your suggestions to us at email@example.com and remember, you can sign up for the email version of this newsletter here.
My choice picks from this edition are, in no particular order, Chaoyang Trap House's evolving dictionary of the Chinese internet, because it taught me a new phrase, the new episode of "Sinophone Unrealities", because Natascha Bruce, Dorothy Tse and birds, and the LitHub excerpt from Lydia Davis' new book of essays on translation, because, well, because...
"In translating, you are forming phrases and sentences that please you at least to some extent and most of the time. You have the pleasure of working with sound, rhythm, image, rhetoric, the shape of a paragraph, tone, voice. And [...] you have this writing pleasure within the island of the given text, within its distinct perimeter."
On to 2022!