Paper Republic Challenge
By Helen Wang, published
In a rash moment, I offered to post a new entry on Paper Republic every day until the London Bookfair. Now Nicky suggests that I come clean and say who I am and why I’m doing this!
Over the last year or so I’ve been getting back into translation. In late 2010 Nicky set up the China Fiction Book Club. It’s still going - we meet for a couple of hours about every eight weeks. It’s a great way to meet to other translators, and sometimes authors too. Ding Liying came to the first session, and Zhang Ling came to another. When Nicky sent round an email to the CFBC saying a publisher was looking to translate some children’s novels, I phoned the commissioning editor, did a sample (actually, two samples) and was commissioned to translate Shen Shixi’s Jackal and Wolf, which will be published by Egmont at the end of this month. I’ve also been translating some short stories (more on these later). It’s been a long time (early 1990s) since I last published any translations of fiction and essays, and most of that time I’ve been working on non-fiction. If you’re interested, see my page on academia.edu. (The academia website was a revelation. After zero feedback on my early translations, I had something like 70 hits in the first month!)
I’ve found Paper Republic to be a great way of learning about what’s happening in the world of Chinese literature, translation and publishing, by people who are out in China at the heart of it. Recently, the main contributors to the website have been very busy - doing translation! This is wonderful news for everyone. But it means that things have been a little quiet on the Paper Republic website. So I offered to take on this challenge. I’m based in London, so my posts will doubtless have a London-bias. If you like/dislike them, or can improve/add to them, please leave a comment.