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

Sun Yisheng / Nicky Harman

David Haysom



Dave Haysom is a literary translator and editor who has been living in Beijing since 2007. He first started publishing translations online at spittingdog.net in 2012. In 2014 he became joint managing editor of Pathlight, a quarterly journal of Chinese literature in translation, and in 2015 he helped launch “Read Paper Republic”, a year-long initiative to publish one translation online every week. He has also written articles and essays on contemporary Chinese literature for publications such as Words Without Borders and China Dialogue.


Read Paper Republic

Original Works

Essays (2)


Novellas (2)

Essays (2)

Short stories (12)


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News: New Possibilities for Old Literary Journals

By David Haysom, August 10, '16

From Bloomberg Businessweek (Chinese edition):

The literary journal Harvest has an online “youth” edition. At the end of April they announced on their official Weibo account that literary enthusiasts could now submit writing through an app called “Hangju” (行距). Furthermore, editors from Harvest would be using the app to offer guidance to writers. In its first ten days online, Hangju received over 600 submissions, the majority of which were passed on to Harvest. Author Wang Ruohan (汪若菡), recipient of the 2011 People’s Literature Novella Award, was amongst those who submitted work. He said the chance to get input from literary editors was his main reason for using the platform. “Writing is like navigating an ocean,” he says, especially for short story writers, who can lose their bearings completely when embarking on a novel. “I got to 60,000 characters in my first full-length novel before realising something had gone wrong, and there was nothing for it but to chuck it in the trash.” There is no more pressing issue when attempting to write than finding the guidance of a reliable editor.


Results of the 2016 Bai Meigui Translation Competition

By David Haysom, May 10, '16

We are delighted to announce the results of the 2016 Bai Meigui translation competition, a collaboration between Paper Republic and the Writing Chinese project at Leeds University. Over 80 entrants submitted translations of the competition text by 李静睿 Li Jingrui, and it was only after lengthy deliberation (and the occasional threat of violence) that the judges were able to narrow the shortlist down to just one winner and runner-up:

Luisetta Mudie

Petula Parris

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That Damned Thing She Said - now coming to Beijing!

By David Haysom, February 21, '16


As we announced last month, on March 14th London's Free Word Centre will be hosting "That Damned Thing She Said", a speed bookclubbing event at which translators Roddy Flagg, Nicky Harman, Emily Jones and Helen Wang will be discussing short stories by authors Feng Tang, Fu Yuli, Li Jingrui and Liu Qingbang. (You can find out more and purchase tickets here.)

We are delighted to announce that we will be holding the same event in Beijing as part of the Bookworm Literary Festival on March 12th. The China line-up: Eric Abrahamsen, Dave Haysom, Nick Stember, plus one more participant TBC.
UPDATE: We can now reveal that our fourth participant will be the writer Karoline Kan!

Tickets are available to purchase now online or at the Bookworm.


LAST CALL FOR Recommended Untranslated Books

By David Haysom, February 21, '16


Back in 2009 the Paper Republic team put together this dream-list of untranslated Chinese novels. It seems like it's about time to revisit the original list, see what progress has been made, and put together a new 2016 edition!
We're calling on you, our readers, to make your suggestions! Tell us about the Chinese novels you'd most like to see translated. Get your suggestions to us by Sunday 28th February, and we'll publish the 2016 dream-list in the first week of March.


Pathlight at the Bookworm Literary Festival

By David Haysom, March 26, '15

On Monday the translation aficionados of Beijing descended on iQiYi to hear author Sun Yisheng discuss his story《猴者》("Apery" née "Monkey Business") with translator Nicky Harman and Pathlight editors Eric Abrahamsen and Dave Haysom. Raw first drafts were exposed, ancient linguistic enmities unearthed, and the democratic process defiantly spurned. A big thank you to everyone who came, to all the people at the Bookworm and iQiYi for hosting us (and resolving our inevitable technical crises), to Lacey for the seamless interpretation, and to Karmia for the photos!



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