By Eric Abrahamsen, September 3, '14
If I were a political cartoonist, of the WWII-era ilk where they label
everything in the cartoon so the point gets across better, I would
draw a cartoon to illustrate China’s “Going Out,” the policy which is
meant to bring Chinese culture to the rest of the world, and it would
look something like this:
A patch of land representing China; in the center stands The Leader
(it says that on his chest). He gazes off into the distance, one hand
pointing outwards in the best 指点江山 style, and the words “Going Out
Policy” are written on that sleeve. The other hand is loading
sumptuous food onto crescent tables to either side of him. The food
could be labeled “Government Budget,” but that should be
self-explanatory. Seated around the outside of the tables are a host
of people we could label “Government Functionaries,” until I think of
The functionaries are shoveling food into their mouths, their gazes
fixed in rapt devotion upon The Leader. They’ve all scootched
backwards until their rear ends hang out over the border of China, and
they’re saying things to The Leader like: “We have ‘Gone Out,’ and it
is wonderful!,” and, “The foreigners are all amazed!”
Meanwhile, a few big-nosed foreigners (in berets and cowboy hats!) are
standing around the outside of the border, looking at this line of
plumber’s cracks, and asking each other, “What on earth are they
trying to tell us?”
If only I could draw…
By Eric Abrahamsen, August 29, '14
That wasn’t so hard after all – the CWA has given us the list of the
25 translation fund recipients for the last round of funding. What we
don’t know are the details of translator/publisher (though in many
cases you can guess), or how much funding will actually be supplied.
But still, it’s an interesting list – see it below, after the jump.
In the meantime, the deadline is nearly up for the next round of
funding for both the general CWA program, and its ethnic-minority
fiction funding program. The ethnic-minority funding applications will
be reviewed next month, and the contemporary fiction applications the
month after, so time is short. If you’ve got all the necessary
materials on hand (and the publishing contract is already signed), you
can first send a digital version of the application to the Writers
Association at email@example.com.
By Eric Abrahamsen, August 25, '14
Towards the end of last year, the China Writers Association announced the inception of two new literary translation funds, one for general fiction, and the other specifically for minority fiction. Many applications were submitted, and then we all commenced to wait. And wait, and…
We started to suspect that the whole thing had foundered on some hidden bureaucratic sandbar, but just recently we heard that the program is, in fact, still under way – not only that, the CWA is actually ready to announce its first round of winners. Not announce, exactly: the winners will be contacted on the down-low. We're trying to convince them that publicizing the full list is in everyone's best interest, but it's not clear if that argument will take.
If you applied for funding, and have been chosen, expect to get that news "soon". The translators among you will know how to translate that "soon" into English. You publishers can probably also figure it out.
If you applied and didn't get it… you may never know! Unless we can talk them into publicizing the list.
By Eric Abrahamsen, August 12, '14
The deadline for the CELT translation training course has been extended to August 18 (2014), since (for reasons I personally cannot fathom) the number of applicants to date has amounted to something less than a tidal wave.
I want to emphasize what a worthwhile thing this is: personally, the two courses I attended were not only the most helpful things I've done for my development as a translator, they were also instrumental in the solidification of a society of C-E literary translators, a social circle or support group, a mafia even. And needless to say they were a hell of a lot of fun. So do it, already!
See below, and after the jump, for more details:
The Chinese English Literary Translation course will run from 22nd to 27th September 2014 in the Yellow Mountains. The course will offer a mix of literary translation and creative writing workshops, with guest speakers.
By Eric Abrahamsen, July 21, '14
The notorious – nay, infamous – Chinese-English Literary Translation course is coming around for its third incarnation this coming September (2014). For five days, translators and writers will gather in Huangshan to pick each other's brains, watch each other work, and try to teach each other a little something. Be part of the event that has launched so many illustrious translation careers! Or at least, introduced some fairly interesting people to one another.
This time, the course is being run by the Foreign Languages Teaching and Research Press (FLTRP), in partnership with the British Centre for Literary Translation (BCLT), and SAPPRFT.
The course will be held this fall, September 22 to 27. The application deadline is August 10: be sure to send your completed application form and a scan of your passport to firstname.lastname@example.org before then. Attendance free, but you'll have to get yourself there, and also pay for room and board (I had this wrong intially, my apologies!).
The Chinese-to-English writers and workshop leaders are:
- Li Juan, 李娟, led by Andrea Lingenfelter
- Li Pingyi, 李平易, led by Bonnie McDougall
- A Yi, 阿乙, led by Eric Abrahamsen
For more information about the course, you can download the full information sheet.
By Eric Abrahamsen, May 24, '14
We're not blocked, are we? 'Course, it's hard to tell these days, they seem to be blocking most everything…
By Eric Abrahamsen, April 22, '14
The following review of Hong Ying's Daughter of the River, by Karen Ma, first ran on the NPR website
Hong Ying's autobiography, Daughter of the River, is doubly astonishing. First, it's an account of the Cultural Revolution that's not written by an intellectual. There's a certain genre of Chinese memoir that looks at upheaval under Mao through an elite lens, and I have to admit, I've been growing tired of those books. But Hong Ying comes from a very different background indeed.
I saw her speak at a literary festival in Jaipur, India in 2011, where she told the audience how she grew up along the Yangtze River in the slums of Chongqing — China's largest and most crowded city — and survived the great famines and Mao's failed political campaigns as a bastard child in abject poverty. I bought her memoir immediately. Her speech had touched me — but her book blew me away.
By Eric Abrahamsen, February 10, '14
The Vermont Studio Center invites applications for its Chinese Poetry & Translation Fellowships Program supported by the Henry Luce Foundation. In 2014, VSC will award 12 outstanding Chinese poets and literary translators with 4-week joint residencies to create new work individually and in collaboration as part of VSC’s diverse creative community.
Applications for the next round of VSC/Luce Foundation Chinese Poetry & Translation Fellowships are available online or in printable form as part of VSC’s April 1, 2014 international fellowships deadline.
2014 VSC/Luce Foundation Chinese Poetry & Translation Fellowships:
- Six awards for outstanding poets living anywhere in the world whose primary language is Chinese. These awards include roundtrip travel and a discretionary stipend.
- Six awards for talented English-language translators working with Chinese poetry. These awards include a discretionary stipend.
These fellowships are available to individual poets and translators, as well as established working pairs, with fellowships awarded (and individuals ultimately paired) by a distinguished selection committee. If an established pair wishes to apply together, each person must submit an application and each must identify his/her preferred working partner. Applicants who wish to be considered as a pair should also select the same preferred residency dates. Due to the joint structure of these residencies, once an applicant (or pair) has been accepted, there may be little to no scheduling flexibility. For all VSC applicants, at least partial fluency of English is advised for participants to gain the greatest value from their residency experience. In addition to rendering exceptional translations on paper, translators should also be conversant enough in the writer’s primary language to help facilitate exchange with their working partner.
By Eric Abrahamsen, February 6, '14
The deadline is May 26 for the Susan Sontag Prize for Translation, a 5,000 USD grant for a literary translation from Mandarin Chinese. Translators under 30 years of age can submit proposals for translations projects (fiction or letters) expected to be completed within a four-month period – July to November, 2014. See the link above for more details.
By Eric Abrahamsen, June 6, '13
The Spring 2013 issue of Pathlight is out the door! This issue,
featured loosely around "The Future", features several works of
science fiction by some of China's best sci-fi writers, including Liu
Cixin, Chen Qiufan and Hao Jingfang, and an overview of the genre by
Wu Yan and Xing He.
There's also a dreamscape by Can Xue, a rural romp (and fascinating
Q&A) by Han Shaogong, and a poetry section curated by Yi Sha,
featuring China's youngest generation of poets.
See a full table of contents at the link above. This issue is
available as a digital download on both Amazon and the iTunes
By Eric Abrahamsen, April 23, '13
More than a year after we began publishing Pathlight magazine, we're very pleased to announce that it is now available around the world as an e-book. The most recent issue, featuring exclusive Mo Yan content, can be found in three places:
On the Apple iBookstore
As an annual subscription for university libraries. If you think your university might be interested in a subscription, please ask your librarian to find us in the EBSCO catalog. If your institution doesn't use EBSCO, you can email us about it directly.
Apologies for the US-centric links above – if you live in a country with its own domestic Amazon/iTunes store, the magazine will also be available on the local variant of that platform. Future issues will continue to be made available through these channels.
The entire point of a project like Pathlight is that it be available to as wide a readership as possible, and that hasn't quite been the case over the past year, to put it mildly. On behalf of our authors and our translators (and ourselves!), we're celebrating right now.
By Eric Abrahamsen, April 18, '13
We're very pleased to announce that Paper Republic has partnered with
China Book Business Report and Shanghai Eastern Book Data to begin
producing monthly reports on the Chinese book market. The reports
consist of bestseller lists (general and by category, both overall
and for newly-published books), general market analysis, and rankings
of Chinese publishing houses according to a variety of indicators.
We've created a sample monthly report for December, 2012, which you
can download here (PDF).
These reports are something we've been planning for quite some time,
and we're confident they'll be indispensable to anyone wanting an
in-depth familiarity with the book market in China, and an up-to-date
window on how it's changing.
As a bonus, we've also produced an overview of the Chinese publishing
industry for 2011, which you can download here (PDF).
We're excited about this initiative! The lack of timely information
about what's going on in China has been a major stumbling block for
many potential connections between the Chinese and international
publishing industries – this ought to go quite some way to remedying
By Eric Abrahamsen, April 15, '13
Penguin China has just announced that they've bought world-wide rights, all languages excluding Chinese, for Wang Anyi's newest novel, Scent of Heaven, in conjunction with Penguin Australia.
Scent of Heaven won the 4th Dream of the Red Chamber Award, and will be a very welcome addition to the Chinese literary landscape in English!
By Eric Abrahamsen, March 9, '13
I recently finished Jagannath, a collection of short stories from Swedish author Karin Tidbeck which, I only realized at the end of the book, belongs to the rare and strange category of books that have been translated by their own author.
"Damn this is a good translation," I thought more than once as I read the stories. There's no guarantee that an author will have the chops in a second language to do themselves justice, but Tidbeck does. From her afterword:
By Eric Abrahamsen, January 8, '13
Many people have been asking where they can get hold of some of the novels published by Penguin China over the past year. Sheng Keyi's Northern Girls and Wang Xiaofang's The Civil Servant's Notebook in particular. These and other books are now available in e-book format on the US and UK Amazon sites, so go shopping!