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

Sun Yisheng / Nicky Harman

China Publishing News: 02/17

The Paper Republic China publishing industry newsletter is a monthly mailing on the Chinese literary and publishing scenes. It is edited by Bruce Humes .


“Alternative Channels” Emerge for Publishing Foreign Books in China

Back in the 1950s until the mid-1980, all China exports had to pass through state-run trading firms. Manufacturers did not export, period; only I/E firms could, and that made them very profitable (if bureaucratic) monopolies. It was only with the rise of Deng Xiaoping and economic reform that makers and Sino-foreign joint ventures gradually won the right to handle their own export business. And things worked pretty much the same for selling into China.


China’s 10 Highest-earning Authors in 2010

This is a translation of a table by Wu Huaiyao (吴怀尧), a journalist who has personally compiled such rankings since 2006, with a list of related books added by us. In an interview ( 中文链接 ) with China National Radio , he reveals his modus operandi : since authors refuse to reveal their earnings, he bases his estimates on recorded sales at bookstores in major cities throughout China. He then gets his sums by assuming that the author typically receives ten percent royalties. Obviously, these figures are not authoritative, but they still give a good idea of the popularity and revenues of these star authors.

Han Han’s Novels Destined for China’s Silver Screen in 2011

He ranked Number 24 on Time ’s “2010 Time 100” list of influential personalities (category: artists), and is known abroad as one of China’s most popular bloggers who often pokes fun at the authorities. Less known to global publishers, perhaps, is the fact that Han Han is also a hugely successful writer with several Chinese best sellers to his name. He reportedly earned US$700,000 in royalties in 2010 ( 中文链接 ).

Editor/Writer Miao Wei Abandons Culture Magazine to Bloomberg

Editor and writer Miao Wei , noted for his travel column in China's most influential arts and culture magazine, Sanlian Life Weekly , and a recent collection of short stories entitled Unless the Soul Might Clap and Sing , has anncounced that he's leaving the magazine where he made his mark for a job as an editor of the Chinese version of Bloomberg Businessweek , owned by Modern Media . Miao Wei's is the latest in a line of arts and culture journalists who have switched to reporting in the (presumably less fraught) fields of business, fashion, or sports.

New Books

Murder of the Age of Innocence

Dubbed “China’s Stephen King,” Cai Jun recently began serialized publication of his latest thriller, Murder of the Age of Innocence , in the influential literary magazine Mengya . His works have traditionally appeared first in the magazine and later in book form from Jieli Publishing House.

The Ladder of the Soul

Yes, this book no doubt aims to add a bit of gloss to the image of both the author and his firm, but this is not your typical ghost-written corporate memoir.

Upcoming Events: February and March

China-UK Literature in Translation Forum (Feb 22)

During the last week of February, the British Council and Paper Republic will bring seven editors from UK publishing houses to China to meet Chinese editors and writers, and explore possibilities for cooperation and copyright trade between China and the UK. Today features the only event that is (semi-) open to the public: a forum in which UK and Chinese editors will make short presentations on their experiences in cross-border publishing. UK publishing houses include: Little Brown, Profile Books, Atlantic, Quercus, Simon and Schuster, Granta and Random House. Chinese speakers include: People's Literature Magazine, Shanghai Yilin Publishing House, People's Literature Publishing House, Writers Publishing House, Horizon Media, and Yangtze River Publishing House. For more information, please email info@paper-republic.org .

Bookworm Int’l Literary Festival (Mar 4-18)

Held in Beijing, Suzhou and Chengdu, this is China’s most popular literary festival and features over 70 authors, journalists, critics and translators this year. Here’s the full list of Beijing events .

Emirates Airline Festival of Literature (Mar 8-12)

Taking place in Dubai, the festival features just a handful of Chinese writers and agents: Yo Yo (Liu Youhong), a poet and fiction writer ( Ghost Tide ); literary agent Toby Eady who has introduced several Chinese authors to the West, speaking on the topic “Taking Books across Borders”; Xinran, author of Sky Burial and Message from an Unknown Chinese Mother , on “Giving Voice to the Unheard of China”; and poet Yang Lian who will join Britain’s Simon Armitage and Lebanon’s Joumana Haddad in reading their works and taking part in a panel discussion, “The Poets and Their Elements.” Full list of speakers here .

Hong Kong Int’l Literary Festival (Mar 8-18)

A marvelous event for those who enjoy meeting authors and journalists who write on China-related themes in English, including Frank Ching ( China: The Truth about its Human Rights Record ), Peter Hessler ( Country Driving ), Leslie T. Chang ( Factory Girls: from Village to City in a Changing China ), Nury Vittachi ( The Shanghai Union of Industrial Mystics ), Qiu Xiaolong ( Years of Red Dust ) and Xu Xi ( Habit of a Foreign Sky ). Here’s the full program .

Shanghai Literary Festival (Mar 4-19)

Also a rich opportunity for publishing professionals who are keen to see and interact with authors, journalists and culture critics who write on China-related themes in English. Several well-known writers appearing at festivals in March in Beijing, Suzhou, Chengdu or Hong Kong—Peter Hessler, Leslie T. Chang, Nury Vittachi, Qiu Xiaolong, Jonathon Watts, Brian Castro, and Hong Ying—will also appear in Shanghai.

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