How dull to have a gun and not shoot. Guns should be fired.

Fu Yuli / Nicky Harman

Helen Wang

Curator of East Asian Money, British Museum

London, UK


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.


Cao Wenxuan's Bronze and Sunflower (children's novel), Walker Books, April 2015.
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.
曹文轩 《一个叫凤的鸽子》

Cao Wenxuan's Huiwa takes a stand (short story), Pathlight (forthcoming)
曹文轩 《灰娃的高地》

Cao Wenxuan's The Cassia Tree (short story), (forthcoming in a bilingual publication, China, 2016)
曹文轩 《火桂花》

Cao Wenxuan's *Firebrand" (excerpt from the novel), (forthcoming in a bilingual publication, China, 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.

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》

Man-chiu Lin's The Ventriloquist's Daughter (children's novel) - chapters 1 and 10 translated for the Found in Translation 2015 Anthology (pp. 57-71) - contact Rachel Richardson at Rights People for details
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.

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.
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》

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》

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


Links - Blogs and websites

By Helen Wang, October 17, '16

Maybe it's time to check the Links page on this website? (scroll down to the bottom of your screen - if you're using a big screen, it's on bottom left)

  • are these still active?
  • are there new ones that we should add?

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2016 DREAMLIST -- our readers recommend Chinese books for translation

By Helen Wang, March 1, '16


At the start of 2016, we decided to revisit the 2009 dream-list of untranslated Chinese novels recommended by the Paper Republic team. We wanted to see which of them had been translated (see update here), and to invite our readers to recommend titles for a new 2016 list.

Translators and agents, if you are working on samples, we’d like to add this information to the database – we can tag them as “excerpts” - you can search for a list of excerpts here. If you tell us that an "excerpt” is available from [a named person or job-title] at [literary agency], we can add this too! Think of it as free publicity!


Women in translation – for China it's 20% (in the USA)

By Helen Wang, October 6, '15

Chad W Post and two interns have been adding the author's gender to his database of translated fiction published for the first time in the US between 2008 and 2014. Here's the weblink to Chad's report.

Total figures: 2471 fiction translations, of which 657 were written by women, and 39 by both men and women. Percentage of female authors: 26.6%.
For poetry collections, it’s 169/571 collections by women (29.6%).

For China it's 76 male authors, 21 female authors (20%)

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One of Jack Livings' interesting techniques (in his stories set in contemporary China)

By Helen Wang, July 31, '15

"One of Livings’ interesting techniques is switching point of view at multiple junctures within his stories, often just for a sentence or two, so that the reader slips out of a protagonist’s thoughts for an instant and sees him or her from the outside, as others might. The habit is at first disorienting, but, slowly, the disorientation gains a strength. By the end of the collection, it feels like an artistic credo of sorts: a belief in seeing things from all angles." -- Review by Jonathan Lee in The Guardian, 16 July 2015


Chinese Arts and Letters, vol. 1, no. 2 is out!

By Helen Wang, October 18, '14

Please address inquiries or submissions to the editors at or (The deadline for inquiries for issue No. 3 is December 31, 2014; the deadline for submissions is January 31, 2015.)

CAL, vol. 1, no. 2 - Contents - see below

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Public Talk, and Translation Masterclass With Author Yan Ge 颜歌 and Translator Nicky Harman

By Helen Wang, September 8, '14

Copied from Writing Chinese website:
Saturday November 1st, 2014. Public talk @11am – 1pm. Translation masterclass@ 2pm – 5pm. Venue to be announced (University of Leeds)

For our morning event, which is open to the general public (no registration required), author Yan Ge and her translator Nicky Harman will be talking about their work together. Yan Ge’s novella White Horse, translated by Nicky, will be released in October by Hope Road Publishing. And for a taster of more of Yan Ge’s work and why Nicky recommends it so highly, have a look at this recent article in Words Without Borders.

Our afternoon event is a literary translation masterclass, led by the author and her translator, and is open to anyone interested in the translation of contemporary Chinese fiction into English.

The masterclass is free but registration is required. If you’d like to attend, please email us at We will then email all attendees in advance with the text that we’ll be translating on the day.

We’re also pleased to announce that the masterclass will be followed by the launch of the Bai Meigui Literary Translation Competition. More details to follow soon!

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