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

Sun Yisheng / Nicky Harman

Helen Wang

Helen Wang is a London-based contributor to Paper Republic and co-tweets with translator Nicky Harman on @cfbcuk (China Fiction Book Club UK). She is one of the four editors of Read Paper Republic - working with Nicky Harman, Dave Haysom and Eric Abrahamsen. In September 2016, she started a new project Chinese books for young readers, with Anna Gustafsson Chen and Minjie Chen. She won the 2017 Marsh Award for Literature in Translation for her translation of Bronze and Sunflower by Cao Wenxuan.

Translations

Cao Wenxuan's Bronze and Sunflower (children's novel), Walker Books, April 2015. - Cao Wenxuan won the 2016 Hans Christian Andersen Award; Helen Wang won the 2017 Marsh Award for Children's Literature in Translation 曹文轩 《青铜葵花》

Cao Wenxuan's Crows (essay), published in Pathlight Summer 2015, and as Read Paper Republic #15.
曹文轩 《乌鸦》

Cao Wenxuan's A Very Special Pigeon (short story), published by Writing Chinese, 10 Sept 2015; also published as a bilingual book 《凤鸽儿/A Very Special Pigeon, Renmin wenxue chubanshe/Tiantian chubanshe, 2016)
曹文轩 《一个叫凤的鸽子》

Cao Wenxuan's Huiwa takes a stand (short story/novella), Pathlight; also published as a bilingual book 《灰娃的高地/Huiwa’s Stand, Renmin wenxue chubanshe/Tiantian chubanshe, 2016)
曹文轩 《灰娃的高地》

Cao Wenxuan's The Cassia Tree (short story/novella), published as a bilingual book 《火桂花/The Cassia Tree, Renmin wenxue chubanshe/Tiantian chubanshe, 2016)
曹文轩 《火桂花》

Cao Wenxuan's Firebrand (excerpt), published as a bilingual book 《白马雪儿/Looking for Snowy, Renmin wenxue chubanshe/Tiantian chubanshe, 2016)
曹文轩 《火印》

Du Ma’s Into Parting Arms, in Henry Y. H. Zhao and John Cayley (eds), Under-sky Underground, Wellsweep Press, London, 1994, 219-39.
杜麻李冯《投入向分裂的怀抱》

Fan Xiaoqing's Ying Yang Alley (short story), in Chinese Arts and Letters vol.2, no.2 (Oct 2015), pp.28-33, and as Read Paper Republic 44
范小青 《鹰扬巷》

Fan Xiaoqing - interviewed by the editor Yang Haocheng, in Chinese Arts and Letters vol.2, no.2 (Oct 2015), pp. 64-78.
杨昊成 范小青 《写作于我,更多地是享受过程中的创造、宁静和自由 —— 范小青访谈录》

Han Dong's Brand New World (short story), co-translated with Nicky Harman, published on 25 March 2012.
韩东 《崭新世》

C.F. Hu's Ever After - this is from chapter 5 of Floating (a novel in stories) prepared as a sample translation for Books from Taiwan (contact Gray Tan at The Grayhawk Agency for details)
胡晴舫 《懸浮》

Li Jingrui's Missing (short story), published on Read Paper Republic, week 8, 6 August 2015. Subsequently published on the WritingChinese website, November 2015.
李静睿 《失踪》

Lin Man-chiu's The Ventriloquist's Daughter (YA novel), Balestier Press, 2017. 林满秋 《腹語師的女兒》

Lu Min's Xie Bomao R.I.P. (short story), in Chinese Arts and Letters, vol. 1, no. 2, Autumn 2014, pp.128-143. Reprinted on Read Paper Republic, no.20, 29 October 2015.
鲁敏 《谢伯茂之死》

Lu Min - chapter 1 of Dinner For Six (novel) prepared as a sample translation (contact Gray Tan at The Grayhawk Agency for details)
魯敏 《六人晚餐》

Lu Min's A Second Pregnancy, 1980 (essay), published on Read Paper Republic, week 21, 3 November 2015.
鲁敏 1980年的第二胎》

Lü Yao’s The Steamers Came Alive Again That Night (essay), in Pathlight, Winter 2015.
绿妖《轮船复活之夜》

Ma Yuan’s Mistakes (short story), in Henry Y. H. Zhao (ed.), The Lost Boat: Avant-garde Fiction from China, Wellsweep Press, London, 1993, pp. 29-42.
马原 《错误》

Shen Shixi’s Jackal and Wolf (children’s novel), Egmont, London, 2012. The first chapter is available as a preview ('click to look inside').
沈石溪著 《红豺》

Shi Kang's Sunshine in Winter (short story), translated by Helen Wang, Michelle Deeter, Killiana Liu and Juliet Vine, published in March 2012.
石康 《冬日之光》

Tsen Peng-Wei's The Nowhere School (sample of children's book), published in Books from Taiwan, June 2015.
岑澎維 《找不到國小三部曲》

Xu Zechen's Galloping Horses (short story), published on the Guardian website, 12 April 2012. Subsequently published with audio version on the WritingChinese website
徐则臣 《奔马》

Ye Mi's Velvet, in Pathlight Autumn 2015, pp. 91-102.
叶弥 《天鹅绒》

Ye Zhaoyan's Police Python 357 (short story) in Chinese Arts and Letters, vol. 2, no. 1 (2015), pp. 6-17.
叶兆言 《左轮三五七》

Yu Hua’s One Kind of Reality (short story), in Henry Y. H. Zhao (ed.), The Lost Boat: Avant-garde Fiction from China, Wellsweep Press, London, 1993, pp. 145-84.
余华 《现实一种》

Zhang Chengzhi’s The Way of Heaven – Beginning of Autumn (essay), in Henry Y. H. Zhao and John Cayley (eds), Under-sky Underground, Wellsweep Press, London, 1994, pp. 145-48.
张承志 《天道立秋》

Zhang Langlang's The Legend of the Sun Brigade (essay), in Henry Y. H. Zhao and John Cayley (eds), Under-sky Underground, Wellsweep Press, London, 1994, pp. 87-95.
张朗朗 《太阳纵队》

Zhang Xinxin's IT84 (novella) (contact Marysia Juszczakiewicz at Peony Literary Agency for details) [published in Chinese in Shanghai Wenxue 2015.12]
张辛欣 IT84

Zhang Xinxin's Dragonworld (short story), published on the Guardian website, 12 April 2012, and in the Read Paper Republic Afterlives series, 3 Nov 2016 (read here, with introduction by the author)
张辛欣 《龙的食谱》

Zhang Xinxin's Pai Hua Zi and the Clever Girl (graphic novel), published by Zhang Xinxin on ibooks, August 2012, Part 1 (includes free 20-page preview) and Part 2
张辛欣 《拍花子和俏女孩》

Zhang Xinxin's Self-portrait (essay) - available online and as Read Paper Republic 45
张辛欣 《自画像》

Zhang Xinxin's Mad About Orchids (short story) - available online
张辛欣 《疯狂的君子兰》

Zhang Xinxin's The Adventures of a Graphic Novelist - available online
张辛欣 《小人书画家历险记》

Zhou Jianing's Let Us Talk About Something Else, in Pathlight, Summer 2014, 34-43.
周嘉宁 《让我们聊些别的》

PICTURE BOOKS (published by Candied Plums)
CeeCee, by Mao XIAO and Chunmiao LI (2016)
萧袤: 《西西》

Express Delivery from Dinosaur World, by Yanan DONG (2016)
董亚楠: 《恐龙快递》

The Frog and the Boy, by Mao XIAO, Wei CHEN, Xiaomin HUANG (2016)
萧袤: 《青蛙与男孩》

An’s Seed, by Zaozao WANG and Li HUANG (2016)
王早早: 《安的种子》

Flame, by Zhucheng LIANG (2016)
朱成梁: 《火焰》

Little Rabbit’s Questions, by Da You (2016)
大友《小兔的问题》

PICTURE BOOKS (Balestier Press)
Tan Hou and the Double Sixth Festival, by CAI Gao et al (2016)
作者: 向华 / 邬朝祝 整理 / 绘者 蔡皋 : 《晒龙袍的六月六》

Other publications

The Music of Ink at the British Museum (edited volume featuring Yang Lian, Romesh Gunesekera, Denis Brown, Qu Lei Lei, Rohan de Saram, Zeng Laide and Wang Tao), Saffron Books, London, 2012. Info here

Is Gao Xingjian’s play Chezhan merely a blind worship of modern Western plays as the critic He Wen claims? How far can Chezhan be compared with Beckett’s Waiting for Godot?, Bulletin of the British Association for Chinese Studies, 1986, pp. 83-89. Available here

Interviews and short pieces
Interview with Helen Wang, translator of Cao Wenxuan (April 2016). in English and in Chinese
On "Bronze and Sunflower" in LARB China Blog, 13 April 2016
Translating Children's Books - a short piece for Books from Taiwan (2015)
Learning about Chinese children's books - interview with Zoe Toft for Playing by the Book, 27 April 2015
Bronze and Sunflower - Ann Morgan's Book of the Month, April 2015
Guest Interview: Helen Wang on Children's Book Translation, interviewed by Avery Fischer Udagawa for Cynthia Leitich Smith's "Cynsations" blog, 26 May 2015
Review by Nicky Harman of Bronze and Sunflower in Tribune 6 March 2015

 

Read Paper Republic

Translations

Novellas (1)

Children's books (3)

Excerpts (4)

Essays (6)

Short stories (15)

Posts

GLLI (28) - On a cold December evening I headed to the Free Word Centre in London, to do something I had never tried before

By Helen Wang, February 28, '17

This is the last day in February, and our last post in the Global Literature in Libraries - Paper Republic series on Chinese literature. Thank you for following us! We're very grateful to all our contributors - we couldn't have managed a post a day without you! So far, all our contributors have a strong Chinese connection. But Chinese literature is not just for Chinese readers - so we asked Marinella Mezzanotte, a London-based writer (in English) and a translator (from Italian to English), who is a newbie to Chinese literature to tell us about one of our events and whether it worked for her. In December 2016 she came along to our second speed bookclub event organised by Paper Republic and the Free Word Centre in London. Here's Marinella's response:

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GLLI (27) - Raiding China's Tomb Adventures - by Xueting Christine Ni

By Helen Wang, February 27, '17

Our penultimate post is about popular Chinese fiction of the ghostly, grave-robbing kind. We are thrilled to post this piece by writer and translator Xueting Christine Ni, who is currently working with the fantasy and science fiction author Tang Fei, and writing a book on Chinese deities. Having studied English literature in London, and Chinese literature in Beijing, she is now based mainly in the UK.

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GLLI (25) - St Gregory’s School ‘Reading China’ book group - by Theresa Munford

By Helen Wang, February 25, '17

Theresa Munford teaches Chinese at a secondary school in the UK. She took the initiative a few years ago to set up a Chinese book group. At a workshop on Chinese children’s literature in 2016 she played a video in which she interviewed two of her teenage students about the Chinese books they had read. They spoke frankly and eloquently about the books they had read. We invited Theresa to tell us more about the bookclub...

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GLLI (24) - One Child: The Story of China's Most Radical Social Experiment - by Mei Fong

By Helen Wang, February 24, '17

In October 2015 the Chinese government announced major changes to their population policy, commonly known as the One Child policy. Instead of curbs that limited one-third of Chinese households to strictly one child, Chinese families across the nation could have two children starting from 1 Jan 2016. With incredible timing, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Mei Fong's book One Child was at the publishers! I was invited to review it for the Los Angeles Review of Books and found Mei Fong's book very readable - there was a perfect balance of detailed research and stories of individual people in real circumstances. I particularly appreciated Mei Fong's skilful vignettes - for example, the couple in Wenchuan, who, within days of losing their teenage daughter in the devastating earthquake, decide to try for another child. The odds are stacked against them (age, vasectomy, cost, friends and family avoiding them for fear of being asked for money or support) and you wonder if they are grasping desperately at straws. Yet Mei Fong slips their shoes on to your feet so softly that you find yourself wondering how you would respond in their situation.

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GLLI (23) - The Ventriloquist’s Daughter: Between Fantasy and Reality – by Lin Man-chiu

By Helen Wang, February 23, '17

Spring 2017 will see the publication of The Ventriloquist’s Daughter, by Lin Man-chiu (tr. Helen Wang), the fourth Young Adult novel translated from Chinese and published by Balestier Press. Originally from Taiwan, Lin Man-chiu has travelled extensively in South America, and her experiences there inspired this story. The following piece is adapted from the Author’s Preface in the Chinese edition, and we’re delighted to have permission to publish it here.

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GLLI (21) - Translations in the British Library - by Frances Wood

By Helen Wang, February 21, '17

Frances Wood is the author of several books, including most recently Betrayed Ally: China in the Great War (2016) and her new book Great Books of China: From Ancient Times to the Present (2017). Now retired, she was, for over thirty years, one of the key librarians and curators of the Chinese section of the British Library. We were delighted when Frances agreed to tell us what it was like to work there and how the UK’s national library went about collecting translations...

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GLLI (20) - Jia Pingwa as Global Literature - by Nick Stember

By Helen Wang, February 20, '17

Nick Stember is a historian and translator of Chinese comics and science fiction. In 2015 he completed a Master of Arts in the Department of Asian Studies at the University of British Columbia. His work has been featured in The International Journal of Comic Art, Clarkesworld Magazine, LEAP: The International Art Magazine of Contemporary China, and The China Story Yearbook. He is currently working closely with the Jia Pingwa Institute, in Xi’an, to bring more of Jia’s work into English.

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GLLI (19) - Creating a dynamic new centre for Chinese literature in translation - by Frances Weightman

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...

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GLLI (17) - Ethnic-themed Literature out of China - by Bruce Humes

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.

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GLLI (15) - A mesmerised youth in the grip of the evolving capital: Feng Tang’s novel Beijing, Beijing - by Martina Codeluppi

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.

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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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