Chinese Literature Today: Call for Submissions

By Eric Abrahamsen, published

The University of Oklahoma is on the verge of launching a major initiative into Chinese literature, which comes as a surprise to those of us who were twiddling our thumbs, but has actually been in the making for three years now. This initiative comes in two parts: a series of Chinese books to be published starting in 2011, and the launching of a new literary journal, Chinese Literature Today, a sister publication of the venerable World Literature Today, available in Chinese through Beijing Normal University. The new journal will launch next year, and they're soliciting submission, so have at it. The order of the day is "scholarly articles written to be accessible to a wide readership", ie not just smart but well-written, too.

From the Submissions Guidelines (PDF):

World Literature Today, the University of Oklahoma’s College of Arts and Sciences, and Beijing Normal University are pleased to announce an exciting new scholarly journal focusing on contemporary Chinese literature and culture in partnership with NOCFL. The new title, Chinese Literature Today, will feature articles, literary criticism, and original works of fiction and poetry by accomplished scholars and authors from China and abroad. As the editors of Chinese Literature Today, we would like to invite you to take full advantage of this exciting new opportunity by submitting your work today.

In 2006 World Literature Today (WLT), one of America’s oldest periodicals devoted to world literature, began working with China’s most prestigious College of Chinese Language and Literature at Beijing Normal University (BNU) to produce a special issue focusing on China. WLT celebrated this publication in the summer of 2007 by holding the first “China and World Literature Today Conference” in Beijing. Following these initial successes, WLT and BNU began the more ambitious project of initiating a Chinese-language edition, which was unveiled at the “China and World Literature Today International Conference” held in Beijing in October 2008. Many of the nearly three hundred international and Chinese novelists, scholars, editors, and poets who attended the conference voiced a desire to see more Chinese literature and literary criticism available in English translation. Thus, Chinese Literature Today was born.

Submissions should be sent to the CLT editor at by December 16, 2009.

Download the full submissions guidelines (PDF) here.

Download the CLT styleguide (PDF) here.


# 1. who gets to translate for the book series? Is it by commission only? Or can we submit suggestions for the book series? This doesn't seem to be clear even in their full guidelines.

It also seems that CLT is not looking for translations but "original Chinese work to be translated." Please correct me if I'm wrong. It's a bit confusing. Again, if an "original work" is judged outstanding Chinese literature, who will translate it? Is CLT in charge of commissioning someone?

The only thing that's clearer to me is that we can submit an English essay talking about Chinese literature. (Or maybe a Chinese essay talking about Chinese literature that merits translation?)

Anyway, clarification very much welcomed!

Nancy, December 8, 2009, 11:51a.m.

# 2.   

My understanding is that the University of Oklahoma Press will first settle on a list of titles for the book series, and then make an open call for translation submissions.

As for CLT, I think they'll take both original works in English (about Chinese literature), and also new translations of works originally written in Chinese. So translations of essays and short stories, etc, are also fair game.

But try writing the editor!

Eric Abrahamsen, December 9, 2009, 10:50a.m.


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