The coffin fell apart.
There was the sound of decayed wood crumbling, and a cloud of smoke surged out, like water vapour from a hot steamer.

Yan Lianke / Carlos Rojas

Pathlight: New Chinese Writing

By Alice Xin Liu, published

The English edition of People's Literature, the oldest magazine in new China, is out! We've named it Pathlight: New Chinese Writing, and it can be purchased on, from Hong Kong and elsewhere, too.

This is China's first literary magazine edited by a bunch of foreigners, and it has cultural significance, too. Officially, this is how Xinhua presented it.

The editor-in-chief of the Chinese edition is Li Jingze (李敬泽) and his assistant is the writer Qiu Huadong (邱华栋), as many know. On the English side, myself, Eric Abrahamsen, Canaan Morse, Brendan O'Kane and Joel Martinsen have all edited, and the first edition features translations from Brian Holton, Martin Merz and Jane Weizhen Pan, Andrea Lingenfelter, Denis Mair, Lucas Klein, Fiona Sze-Lorrain etc.

There are excerpts from longer works (this issue features the Mao Dun Literature Prize, given in September), short stories from avant-garde writers like Xiang Zuotie (向祚铁, translated by Brendan O'Kane) and more traditional storytellers like the female novelist Di An (笛安, translated by yours truly). I would also recommend Qi Ge (七格), a writer not exactly new but like many others in our magazine, never-before translated. His story, appearing in Pathlight is called "The Sugar Blower," translated by Joel Martinsen.

There is even an "Editor's Pick" story, chosen in theory but really submitted by Li Er (李洱), containing a contentious issue - a line of racism, justly dealt with by the editorial team - which will be of interest to enthusiasts of Chinese literature!

In any event, our Chinese partners are holding a forum next week, and if there are any journalists in Beijing specializing in literature we'd like to hear from you!

Translators of literature, the next issue is coming up so please feel free to contact me if you're interested in being a part of this!


# 1.   

cool! is this by chance available from any 书店 in beijing?

tom h, November 29, 2011, 5:48a.m.

# 2.   

The Beijing Bookworm had it in stock as of last Friday, and I think it should be showing up in more places as People's Literature puts its mighty network to work.

Brendan, November 29, 2011, 6:20a.m.

# 3.   

Thanks, Brendan. I should hasten to add, tom h, that it is in the Bookworm. I'll be checking about Sanlian Bookshop and other places a bit later.

 Alice, November 30, 2011, 5:26a.m.

# 4.   

What's the best way to get hold of it from outside China? (I'm in Spain)

Michael Salmon, November 30, 2011, 8:33a.m.

# 5.   

I have the same question as Michael, plus: is there an e-version? Kindle?

Anna GC, November 30, 2011, 4:40p.m.

# 6.   

Congratulations, everyone! I look forward to reading this.

Kitty, November 30, 2011, 9:02p.m.

# 7.   

Hi all, we're working on digital rights but we do not have them at the moment. Michael and Anna; as you would expect, China's effort to "step out" or 走出去 is surrounded by bureaucracy. I was once told they would be in all embassies and Confucius Institutes. Once they are, I'll be sure to post on here. For now, you can try ordering from Chinese Amazon, I know they can deliver internationally.

 Alice, November 30, 2011, 10:30p.m.

# 8.   

This is the trial-publication period and we decided not to do an e-book version right off the bat, but it's definitely in the cards for the future—given the impracticalities of international distribution, we're thinking digital will probably be the main mode of getting this around.

 Eric Abrahamsen, December 1, 2011, 1:50a.m.

# 9.   

Still, I think a web presence is in order. Something like (or or Images, masthead, table of contents, free samples, ordering information...


Lucas Klein, December 1, 2011, 6:37a.m.

# 10.   

thanks Alice, i'll live in hope

Michael Salmon, December 1, 2011, 10:03a.m.

# 11.   

Lucas: A web presence isn't just in order, it's the key to our entire game plan. We entered this agreement with People's Literature with our with electronic rights, not print rights, in mind, and we'll be keeping our emphasis there.

 Canaan Morse, December 2, 2011, 12:30a.m.

# 12.   


Lucas Klein, December 2, 2011, 12:37a.m.

# 13.   

The issue is available on the Chinese Amazon. I've just placed an order for it.

Yorbie, December 2, 2011, 10:08a.m.

# 14.   

Sorry not sure about the url?

Im in the UK and seem to be constantly searching for chinese documentaries such as 'petition' by [perhaps controversial] Zhao Liang that I may purchase. I will keep trying. I enjoyed reading these pages.

sue gordon, January 2, 2012, 9:19a.m.

# 15.   

I've just ordered it off Now to see if it arrives!

Michael Salmon, January 7, 2012, 5:43a.m.

# 16.   

Just ordered it, after hearing about it on Sinica podcast. Let us know when it is available electronically. Looking forward to it.

Todd Finlay, January 8, 2012, 12:37a.m.

# 17.   

I am on a Fulbright n Xi'an, working with graduate students on translating young Chinese poets from diverse regions and ethnic backgrounds. I have translations I would love to see published in Pathlight. To whom should I send them?

I met Canaan when I did a poetry reading at the Bookworm as part of the literary festival, and he suggested I send them in. However, he's in the states right now. Thanks. David

David Allen Sullivan, April 12, 2014, 12:15a.m.


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