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

Sun Yisheng / Nicky Harman

Nicky Harman

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Nicky Harman lives in the UK. She is co-Chair of the Translators Association (Society of Authors). She taught on the MSc in Translation at Imperial College until 2011 and now translates full-time from Chinese. She focusses on fiction, literary non-fiction, and occasionally poetry, by authors such as Chen Xiwo, Han Dong, Hong Ying, Dorothy Tse, Xinran, Yan Geling and Zhang Ling. When not translating, she spends time promoting contemporary Chinese fiction to the general English-language reader. From June 2015-June 2016, she, along with Eric Abrahamsen, Dave Haysom and Helen Wang, ran READ PAPER REPUBLIC, posting and promoting a free-to-view short story every week for a year, a project which continues to develop.

She writes blogs, give talks and lectures, and runs literary events especially with the London Free Word Centre, Southbank Centre and the Writing Chinese project (Leeds University). She also mentors new translators, teaches summer schools, and judges translation competitions: the Harvill Secker Young Translators Prize 2012, and the Writing Chinese Translation competition, run by the White Rose East Centre, University of Leeds. Also occasionally reviews China books for the UK's Tribune magazine (eg review of Sheng Keyi's Death Fugue, Giramondo, 2014) . She tweets, with Helen Wang, as the China Fiction Bookclub @cfbcuk.

Winner of a Mao Tai Cup People's Literature Chinese-English translation prize 2015. Link here: in Chinese
Winner of first prize in the 2013 China International Translation Contest, Chinese-to-English section, with Jia Pingwa’s "Backflow River", 倒流河

Forthcoming: Our Story, by Rao Pingru, Knopf Doubleday, 2018
2017 publications:

Jia Pingwa, Happy Dreams, Amazon Crossing, 2017.

Fish Tank Creatures, by Dorothy Tse, short story, translated with Natascha Bruce

2016 publications:
Crystal Wedding, novel by Xu Xiaobin, Balestier Press, 2016 (awarded a PEN Translates grant)

2015 publications:

Paper Tiger, essays by Xu Zhiyuan, co-translated with Michelle Deeter, Head of Zeus, 2015 (awarded a PEN Translates grant).
Sissy Zhong by Yan Ge, published READ PAPER REPUBLIC.
January:Bridges, by Dorothy Tse, published READ PAPER REPUBLIC. The translation and editing of this story is discussed and illustrated here: Free Word Centre.

Also, 2015-2016, READ PAPER REPUBLIC short story series: launching, planning, translating, editing, promotion and publicity.

2014 publications:

The Book of Sins by Chen Xiwo published by FortySix, October 2014.

White Horse, novella by Yan Ge, Hope Road Publishing, October 2014.

A Tabby-cat's Tale by Han Dong, winter 2014.

The Unbearable Dreamworld of Champa the Driver by Chan Koon-chung, Doubleday, April 2014.

Snow and Shadow, short story collection by Dorothy Tse, East Slope Publishing, March 2014.

A New Development Model and China’s Future, by Deng Yingtao, Routledge, March, 2014.

The Stone Ox that Grazed, short story by Sun Yisheng in Asymptote, April 2014.

A Loud Noise, poems by Han Dong, March 2014.

Other Published Translations in date order:

Urban Control and the Modernist City - essay by Leung Man-Tao, in LA Review of Books, originally appeared in Paper Republic, August 2013.

Woman Fish, by Dorothy Tse, for the Guardian newspaper, March 2013

The Shades who Periscope through Flowers to the Sky, by Sun Yisheng, for Words Without Borders, December 2012, and Dad, Your Name is Bao Tian, by Sun Yisheng, for The World of Chinese, March 2013.

Old Man Xinjiang, by Xue Mo, in China Stories for the Guardian newspaper, April 2012.

The Man with the Knife by Chen Xiwo, for Words Without Borders, November 2012

'Goodbye to Anne', in the novella collection The Road of Others, by Anni Baobei, Makedo Publishing, 2012.

Throwing out the Baby, by Xu Zechen, in Words Without Border, April 2012.

Shi Cheng: Short Stories from Urban China, Comma Press "Tales from Ten Cities" series, the two by Han Dong and Ding Liying, 2012

Flowers of Nanjing by Yan Geling, , published by Chatto and Windus, January 2012

A Phone Call from Dalian: Selected Poems by Han Dong, published by Zephyr Press, April 2012. Multiple reviews including World Literature Today and Peony Moon

The Eye of the Eagle, short story by Bai Hua, published by Hope Road Publishing

Prize-winning novel Gold Mountain Blues/Jin Shan by Zhang Ling, published by Penguin Canada

Short stories for Ou Ning's Shenzhen & Hong Kong Bi-city Biennale of Urbanism/Architecture, 2009, and literary magazine Chutzpah, 2010 and 2011.

Message from Unknown Chinese Mothers (Author: Xinran), Chatto & Windus, 2010.

China Witness (author: Xinran), oral history Co-translator with Esther Tyldesley and Julia Lovell. Chatto & Windus , 2008.

Banished! (author: Han Dong) (《扎根》 韩东), novel. University of Hawai’i Press, 2009. Won a PEN Translation Fund Award (2006) for this work. Longlisted for Man Asian Literary Prize, 2008.

‘Long Corridor, Short Song’ (author: Zi Ren, in To Pierce the Material Screen: An Anthology of 20th Century HK Literature, to be pub. Renditions, Hong Kong 2008); (《长廊的短调》 梓人) short story.

China Along the Yellow River (author: Prof. Cao Jinqing, pub. Routledge Curzon, December 2004); (《黄河边的中国》 曹锦清) sociology of rural China.

K – The Art of Love (author: Hong Ying, pub. Marion Boyars, 2002); (K 虹影) novel.

Research publications:

Li Hao: Translation of Contemporary Chinese Literature in the English-speaking World: An Interview with Nicky Harman, The AALITRA Review, No 4 (2012)

What's that got to do with anything? Coherence and the translation of relative clauses from Chinese. In Journal of Specialised Translation (www.jostrans.org) issue 13, January 2010

Foreign Culture, Foreign Style: a Translator’s View of Modern Chinese Fiction. In Perspectives: Studies in Translatology 14(1): 13-31. (2006).

Beyond Paper Dictionaries: Mining the Web for Technical Terminology in Chinese (available from http://isg.urv.es/cttt/cttt/research.html, or on request from NH).

Visiting Fellow at the Research Centre for Translation at Chinese University Hong Kong, April 2006. Visiting Scholar, Fudan University and Beijing University, China, 2008.

Nicky Harman translated for READ PAPER REPUBLIC, week 3, 2 July 2015, and READ PAPER REPUBLIC, week 10, 20 August 2015.

 

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Original Works

Non-fiction (1)

Translations

Novellas (1)

Non-fiction (1)

Excerpts (1)

Collections (2)

Novels (9)

Poems (27)

Short stories (39)

As Editor

Posts

Translators and readers crowd around the table to talk Chinese fiction

By Nicky Harman, May 25, '12

Michael Rank asked me to post this piece about a get-together held in London last week. He writes: Translated fiction is notoriously hard to sell in the English-speaking world, but Chinese fiction seems to be a bit of an exception just at the moment. That was the message from a meeting of about 20 translators and readers arranged by Chinese-English translator, Nicky Harman, and Michael Sheringham of Arthur Probsthain, the venerable oriental bookshop on Great Russell Street near the British Museum.

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Translator in residence programme at the Free Word Centre, London

By Nicky Harman, May 21, '12

Applicants must be practising literary translators.

FWC are looking for one translator in residence who is working from Turkish, as Turkey will be the country focus for the London Book Fair in April 2013. The second translator will be working from another language that is widely spoken in the local community, i.e. the local boroughs of Islington, Hackney, City and Tower Hamlets. These include: Arabic, Bengali, Chinese, Greek, Gujarati, Punjabi, Somali, Spanish, Urdu and Vietnamese.

The role of translator in residence will be both challenging and rewarding. Therefore, FWC are looking for a professional, practising translator, with an aptitude for working in community settings and a proactive, collaborative approach that will engage a wide range of participants and audiences.

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Chinese translation in an hour – but you have to be a kid to do it…

By Nicky Harman, May 2, '12

While I was Translator-in-Residence at the Free Word Centre at the end of 2011, I was asked to incorporate some translation activities for children. Easier said than done. I’d never taught children and I had none of those indispensible contacts in local schools. To cut a very long story short (and six months must surely be the world’s longest lesson preparation time), I ended up in a secondary school on the southern outskirts of London at some ungodly hour of a January morning this year, clutching a DVD of a version of Monkey aka Journey to the West and (at the teacher’s request) the whole text of my chosen 7-minute clip written out in pinyin.

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Guardian newspaper runs 5 new Chinese short stories

By Nicky Harman, April 10, '12

It begins here and - yes - the blurb says it: The London Book Fair welcomes the world's biggest publisher by volume this month, with China selected as the 2012 Market Focus. The Guardian's China stories series presents new English translations of short stories from the most exciting writers working in China today.

I was slightly amazed that the whole project was quite so long and involved. (It was indeed before Christmas when we started it.) There are always niggles, like we only managed one female writer - though she is a cracker - but all in all, it was a swift learning curve and a warm glow of satisfaction is stealing over me.

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Interview with Han Dong et al

By Nicky Harman, April 10, '12

Chitralekha Basu has done an extended interview with Han Dong, Nicky Harman and Ra Page (Comma Press) for China Daily, pre-London Bookfair. Read it here.

PS Chitralekha has asked me to make her full, uncut piece (pace CN editors) available, so here it is

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The real fiction about Foxconn

By Nicky Harman, March 25, '12

Real facts about Apple’s supplier Foxconn are in short supply (in spite of the best efforts of Mike Daisey and This American Life) since both Chinese and Western reporters are kept out. So perhaps it’s time for fiction to open the factory gates and give us an imaginative look inside. Chinese novelist and poet, Han Dong, was commissioned to write something for the inaugural issue of GQ (China) Magazine in 2010. In response by the first spate of Foxconn suicides, he wrote this tongue-in-cheek fairy-tale/love story. It's all here: the monotonous hard work, the rule-bound life, the manipulative reporter, the profit-driven bosses and their sycophantic sidekicks....

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