I suspect that some of you out there have, from time to time, wondered: “but what do you people at Paper Republic actually do all day long? Surely you can’t survive by snarky literary judgments alone? Also, can’t you make your website look a little less ’My First HTML’?”
I am here with a resolution to one of your questions, at least: what we do all day is to get Chinese literature into English, and though actual readable texts have been in scant supply on the site, that will change starting a week from today. June 18th we’ll be launching something called “Read Paper Republic”, where we’ll present one complete free-to-view short story, essay, or poem on the site itself, both as a webpage and a download, once a week.
We’ll be kicking off with an original translation of a story by A Yi, translated by Michelle Deeter. Our editorial team consists of Dave Haysom here in Beijing and Nicky Harman and Helen Wang in the UK.
So how do you get involved? If you’re interested in reading, then watch this space or subscribe to our RSS feed for the pieces. Read, and enjoy (or don’t), and leave comments on the pieces themselves if you’re so inclined.
If you’re a translator or author, or just highly opinionated about Chinese literature, you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with submissions, suggestions, and requests. Please note that we can’t currently pay authors or translators, a state of affairs which we hope to remedy in the future. Come to think of it, if you’re in a position to sponsor translations, email us as well!
This may seem to overlap somewhat with the remit of Pathlight magazine, and I suppose it does (in fact Dave will edit both). The motivation behind both projects is the same: the belief that Chinese short fiction is frankly superior to the long fiction, and that a multitude of shorter pieces is more interesting and easier to digest than fewer, but longer, books. Pathlight will continue to have the newest content, and to support translators. At some point in the future we may begin to re-post old Pathlight content in Read Paper Republic. But for the time being, the two will coexist.