By Helen Wang, February 19, '17
In the UK, most literary and translation events take place in London. A few years ago, Frances Weightman and Sarah Dodd, at the University of Leeds, set out to establish Leeds as the centre for new Chinese writing in "the North". Leeds is a city about halfway between London and Scotland (the train from London takes just over two hours). Their idea was to open up the world of contemporary Chinese writing and to engage with everyone involved in the process of transforming a great work conceived in Chinese to a great work read in English! They called the project Writing Chinese. It's been so successful, they've just received funding to develop it further! We invited Frances to tell us the story so far...
By Eric Abrahamsen, February 18, '17
China's domestic literary prizes are often viewed with uncertainty from abroad: Who runs them? Are they trustworthy? How are the different prizes specialized? Which should we be paying attention to? We've asked Chen Dongmei, who usually exerts her influence behind the scenes, to step forward and give us a rundown of prizes for adult and children's literature, to try to shed some light on these questions.
By Helen Wang, February 17, '17
The People's Republic of China has a population of over 1.38 billion. About 90% of the population is ethnically Han-Chinese, which means that about 10% of the population belong to ethnic minorities. That's over 138 million people! We invited Bruce Humes to tell us more about these people and their literature. This post is in two parts: the first part is a wonderful introduction to writing by and about non-Han peoples; and the second part introduces Chi Zijian's novel The Last Quarter of the Moon, translated by Bruce.
By Nicky Harman, February 16, '17
Many libraries stock both books and films – a good film can encourage people to read the book, and vice versa, and it can be very interesting to compare a book with its film, to identify the changes and to understand the reasons behind them. For this blog, I have selected five Chinese novels or novellas available in English translation, that have been turned into films for international audiences. The films are of books by Geling YAN, ZHANG Ling and JIA Pingwa, and I have been lucky enough to translate one book by each of them.
By Nicky Harman, February 15, '17
Everything you wanted to know about us and Chinese-to-English translation! "Spotlight on: Paper Republic: Interview discussing the importance of high quality translators" Our blog on the International Literature Showcase
By Helen Wang, February 15, '17
Think about Beijing - what’s the first thought that comes to mind? Whether it’s politics, history, business, people, culture, smog, Olympics, Tian’anmen Square, university, food – our associations and experiences of a place are often associated with particular people at a particular time. The Chinese equivalent of Zeitgeist is shidai jingshen (literally, spirit of the age). And, just as English speakers might talk of Baby Boomers, Generation X, and Generation Y, Chinese speakers might talk of the One Child Policy, The 90s Generation, and Millenials. In today’s post, Martina Codeluppi reviews Feng Tang’s novel Beijing, Beijing, translated by Michelle Deeter, set in the 1990s.
Nicky: I feel very strongly that a translator must be the best of writers in their first language. (I’d take for granted their depth of knowledge of the other language.) I wince every time I read something in translation that sounds awkward, or even ungrammatical, where the original is not intentionally awkward. It must be said that editors have a responsibility here. A good editor is a translator’s best reader, and can pick up on awkward-sounding bits during the editing process, go back to the translator and query them.
By Helen Wang, February 14, '17
Chen Zijin’s novel The Untouched Crime, translated by Michelle Deeter, was published last year by AmazonCrossing. You can find readers’ comments on the amazon website, and if you scroll down the amazon.co.uk page, you can see that AmazonCrossing made this book available to reviewers on Netgalley. But who better to tell us about the book than the translator herself!
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…
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.
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!**