“You’re stepping on my shadow, please back off,” she said.

Sun Yisheng / Nicky Harman

Recent Posts

GLLI (13) - Chinese Literature and the Law - by Emily Jones

By Helen Wang, February 13, '17

The first translations of Sherlock Holmes into Chinese were published with spoiler titles like The Case of Sapphire in the Belly of the Goose, and The Case of the Jealous Woman Murdering Her Husband. Why give the game away so soon? To a large extent, it’s linked to Chinese gong’an [court case] fiction and the famous Judge Bao stories, where the focus is more about what really happened than on whodunit. But what about current crime fiction in China? Emily Jones has recently translated He Jiahong’s novel Black Holes, and we invited her to tell us more…

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GLLI (12) - In China, writing reality as fiction - by Li Jingrui

By Helen Wang, February 12, '17

A few years ago, Li Jingrui switched careers – she quit her job as a journalist (she reported on legal cases, and had a column in the Chinese edition of The Wall Street Journal) and turned to writing fiction. We selected her short story "Missing" for the Read Paper Republic series, and also featured it in our first Speed Book Club event. The story is about a young woman whose husband mysteriously disappears for a few months, and at the book club this opened up an amazing discussion, drawing comparisons with the wives of los desaparecidos in Chile. We also selected a non-fiction piece "One Day, One of the Screws Will Come Loose" by Li Jingrui for the 2nd Bai Meigui Translation Competition with the Writing Chinese project at the University of Leeds. For Global Literature In Libraries this month, we asked Li Jingrui to tell us about her transition from legal journalism to creative writing.

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GLLI (11) - Ken Liu on Chinese Science Fiction

By Eric Abrahamsen, February 11, '17

The following post, part of our Global Literature in Libraries Initiative series, is an email interview with Ken Liu, author and translator of science fiction. Apart from his own fiction Ken is best known around here as the translator of volumes I and III of the Three Body Problem, together with Joel Martinsen, and Clarkesworld magazine's in-depth interest in Chinese science fiction. We talked to him about what Chinese sci-fi has to offer -- take a look!**

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GLLI (10) - What If... - by Jeff Wasserstrom

By Helen Wang, February 10, '17

Jeff Wasserstrom, professor of history at UC Irvine, is the editor of The Oxford Illustrated History of Modern China, which came out last year, author of five books, one of them titled China in the 21st Century; What Everyone Needs to Know! He is very interested in literature as well as history, and he has written reviews of works of Chinese fiction for publications such as the New York Times and the TLS, so we invited him to tell us which book we absolutely had to feature in the GLLI series. He chose The Three Body Problem, the first installment of a trilogy by Liu Cixin, an outstanding work of speculative fiction, and in this piece, as a comparative-minded person, he explores where it sits on the global literature shelf. (Not sure what speculative fiction is? Jeff encourages us to think of it as What If Fiction)

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GLLI (9) - Writing (and translating) the surreal, part two: the stories of Sun Yisheng - by Nicky Harman

By Nicky Harman, February 9, '17

Surrealist fiction, as exemplified by Franz Kafka and his Kafkaesque absurdities, feels like a very western phenomenon. But it is also a kind of story-telling that some excellent Chinese writers have taken to and given a style and a twist all of their own. Yesterday, I looked at the stories of Dorothy Tse, from Hong Kong. In my second blog on surreal story-tellers in China, I’m writing about Sun Yisheng, one of a small number of independent-minded young authors who have experimented with new styles and stories far removed from the literary realism pervasive in mainland China.

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GLLI (8) - Writing (and Translating) The Surreal, part one: Dorothy Tse - by Nicky Harman

By Nicky Harman, February 8, '17

Surrealist fiction, as exemplified by Franz Kafka and his Kafkaesque absurdities, feels like a very western phenomenon. But it is also a kind of story-telling that some excellent Chinese writers have taken to and given a style and a twist all of their own. Blair Hurley has a nice definition in her writer’s blog: ‘The most chilling or ominous surreal stories are where everything seems normal — until it gradually becomes clear that something is wrong, something is inescapable out of your character’s control.’ In a two-part blog, today and tomorrow, I’ll look at Dorothy Tse and Sun Yisheng, two contemporary Chinese writers who manage that feeling of ‘wrong-ness’, that juxtaposition of the normal and the weird, to perfection. In other ways, however, they are very different from each other and from classic western surreal writing.

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GLLI (7) - Truth becomes fiction when fiction is true - by Ann Waltner

By Helen Wang, February 7, '17

Dream of the Red Chamber by Cao Xueqin is the quintessential Chinese novel. The translation by David Hawkes and John Minford (The Story of the Stone, Penguin Classics) is such a pleasure to read that the Complete Review suggested it as a contender for Book of the Millenium! This much-loved eighteenth-century classic has been adapted for the cinema, for TV, for radio, for the stage and, most recently, as an opera co-produced by the San Francisco Opera and the Hong Kong Arts Festival. So we just had to include it in the GLLI’s China month! In 2016, Ann Waltner, Professor of History at the University of Minnesota, created a free online course Dream of the Red Chamber: Afterlives, with the help of her graduate students. Designed for people who’ve never read the novel before, it’s a great resource – whether you’re reading by yourself or as a book-group. We’re delighted that Ann agreed to write today’s post.

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