Helen Wang

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Helen Wang is a London-based contributor to Paper Republic and co-tweets with translator Nicky Harman on @cfbcuk (China Fiction Book Club UK). She was one of the original editors of Read Paper Republic - working with Nicky Harman, Dave Haysom and Eric Abrahamsen. In September 2016, she started a new project Chinese books for young readers, with Anna Gustafsson Chen and Minjie Chen. She won the 2017 Marsh Award for Literature in Translation for her translation of Bronze and Sunflower by Cao Wenxuan. In 2017 she was awarded the Chen Bochui "Special Contribution" Award, for her translations and increasing visibility of Chinese children's books.


Cao Wenxuan's Bronze and Sunflower (children's novel), Walker Books, April 2015. - Cao Wenxuan won the 2016 Hans Christian Andersen Award; Helen Wang won the 2017 Marsh Award for Children's Literature in Translation 曹文轩 《青铜葵花》

Cao Wenxuan's Crows (essay), published in Pathlight Summer 2015, and as Read Paper Republic #15.
曹文轩 《乌鸦》

Cao Wenxuan's A Very Special Pigeon (short story), published by Writing Chinese, 10 Sept 2015; also published as a bilingual book 《凤鸽儿/A Very Special Pigeon, Renmin wenxue chubanshe/Tiantian chubanshe, 2016)
曹文轩 《一个叫凤的鸽子》

Cao Wenxuan's Huiwa takes a stand (short story/novella), Pathlight; also published as a bilingual book 《灰娃的高地/Huiwa’s Stand, Renmin wenxue chubanshe/Tiantian chubanshe, 2016)
曹文轩 《灰娃的高地》

Cao Wenxuan's The Cassia Tree (short story/novella), published as a bilingual book 《火桂花/The Cassia Tree, Renmin wenxue chubanshe/Tiantian chubanshe, 2016)
曹文轩 《火桂花》

Cao Wenxuan's Firebrand (excerpt), published as a bilingual book 《白马雪儿/Looking for Snowy, Renmin wenxue chubanshe/Tiantian chubanshe, 2016)
曹文轩 《火印》

Du Ma’s Into Parting Arms, in Henry Y. H. Zhao and John Cayley (eds), Under-sky Underground, Wellsweep Press, London, 1994, 219-39.

Fan Xiaoqing's Ying Yang Alley (short story), in Chinese Arts and Letters vol.2, no.2 (Oct 2015), pp.28-33, and as Read Paper Republic 44
范小青 《鹰扬巷》

Fan Xiaoqing - interviewed by the editor Yang Haocheng, in Chinese Arts and Letters vol.2, no.2 (Oct 2015), pp. 64-78.
杨昊成 范小青 《写作于我,更多地是享受过程中的创造、宁静和自由 —— 范小青访谈录》

Han Dong's Brand New World (short story), co-translated with Nicky Harman, published on 25 March 2012.
韩东 《崭新世》

C.F. Hu's Ever After - this is from chapter 5 of Floating (a novel in stories) prepared as a sample translation for Books from Taiwan (contact Gray Tan at The Grayhawk Agency for details)
胡晴舫 《懸浮》

Li Jingrui's Missing (short story), published on Read Paper Republic, week 8, 6 August 2015. Subsequently published on the WritingChinese website, November 2015.
李静睿 《失踪》

Lin Man-chiu's The Ventriloquist's Daughter (YA novel), Balestier Press, 2017. 林满秋 《腹語師的女兒》

Lu Min's Xie Bomao R.I.P. (short story), in Chinese Arts and Letters, vol. 1, no. 2, Autumn 2014, pp.128-143. Reprinted on Read Paper Republic, no.20, 29 October 2015.
鲁敏 《谢伯茂之死》

Lu Min - chapter 1 of Dinner For Six (novel) prepared as a sample translation (contact Gray Tan at The Grayhawk Agency for details)
魯敏 《六人晚餐》

Lu Min's A Second Pregnancy, 1980 (essay), published on Read Paper Republic, week 21, 3 November 2015.
鲁敏 1980年的第二胎》

Lü Yao’s The Steamers Came Alive Again That Night (essay), in Pathlight, Winter 2015.

Ma Yuan’s Mistakes (short story), in Henry Y. H. Zhao (ed.), The Lost Boat: Avant-garde Fiction from China, Wellsweep Press, London, 1993, pp. 29-42.
马原 《错误》

Shen Shixi’s Jackal and Wolf (children’s novel), Egmont, London, 2012. The first chapter is available as a preview ('click to look inside').
沈石溪著 《红豺》

Shi Kang's Sunshine in Winter (short story), translated by Helen Wang, Michelle Deeter, Killiana Liu and Juliet Vine, published in March 2012.
石康 《冬日之光》

Tsen Peng-Wei's The Nowhere School (sample of children's book), published in Books from Taiwan, June 2015.
岑澎維 《找不到國小三部曲》

Wang Anyi's Ah Fang's Lamp (short story), published in The Book of Shanghai, ed. by Dai Congrong and Dr Jin Li (Comma Press, 2020). Read online on Bookanista

Xu Zechen's Galloping Horses (short story), published on the Guardian website, 12 April 2012. Subsequently published with audio version on the WritingChinese website
徐则臣 《奔马》

Ye Mi's Velvet, in Pathlight Autumn 2015, pp. 91-102.
叶弥 《天鹅绒》

Ye Zhaoyan's Police Python 357 (short story) in Chinese Arts and Letters, vol. 2, no. 1 (2015), pp. 6-17.
叶兆言 《左轮三五七》

Yu Hua’s One Kind of Reality (short story), in Henry Y. H. Zhao (ed.), The Lost Boat: Avant-garde Fiction from China, Wellsweep Press, London, 1993, pp. 145-84.
余华 《现实一种》

Yu Hua's How My Books Have Roamed the World (essay), Specimen - The Babel Review of Translations, online publication 21 Sept 2017.
余华 《我的书游荡世界的经历》

Zhang Chengzhi’s The Way of Heaven – Beginning of Autumn (essay), in Henry Y. H. Zhao and John Cayley (eds), Under-sky Underground, Wellsweep Press, London, 1994, pp. 145-48.
张承志 《天道立秋》

Zhang Langlang's The Legend of the Sun Brigade (essay), in Henry Y. H. Zhao and John Cayley (eds), Under-sky Underground, Wellsweep Press, London, 1994, pp. 87-95.
张朗朗 《太阳纵队》

Zhang Xinxin's IT84
(novel) Originally published as a novella in Shanghai Wenxue 2015.12, it was rewritten as a novel, and published in 2018. Five chapters of the novel were translated into French by Brigitte Duzan and published in Jentayu 10 (summer 2019). I translated the same five chapters into English - available online
张辛欣 IT84

Zhang Xinxin's Dragonworld (short story), published on the Guardian website, 12 April 2012, and in the Read Paper Republic Afterlives series, 3 Nov 2016 (read here, with introduction by the author)
张辛欣 《龙的食谱》

Zhang Xinxin's Pai Hua Zi and the Clever Girl (graphic novel), published by Zhang Xinxin on ibooks, August 2012, Part 1 (includes free 20-page preview) and Part 2
张辛欣 《拍花子和俏女孩》

Zhang Xinxin's Self-portrait (essay) - available online and as Read Paper Republic 45
张辛欣 《自画像》

Zhang Xinxin's Mad About Orchids (short story) - available online
张辛欣 《疯狂的君子兰》

Zhang Xinxin's The Adventures of a Graphic Novelist - available online
张辛欣 《小人书画家历险记》

Zhang Xinxin's After the Inferno, in Words Without Borders, 1 Nov 2017 - available online
张辛欣 - excerpt from her book 《我 Me

Zhou Jianing's Let Us Talk About Something Else, in Pathlight, Summer 2014, 34-43.
周嘉宁 《让我们聊些别的》

Zhu Hui's Just You Wait, in Pathlight, 2017.
朱辉 《要你好看》

CeeCee, by Mao XIAO and Chunmiao LI, Candied Plums, 2016
萧袤: 《西西》

Express Delivery from Dinosaur World, by Yanan DONG, Candied Plums, 2016
董亚楠: 《恐龙快递》

The Frog and the Boy, by Mao XIAO, Wei CHEN, Xiaomin HUANG, Candied Plums, 2016
萧袤: 《青蛙与男孩》

An’s Seed, by Zaozao WANG and Li HUANG, Candied Plums, 2016
王早早: 《安的种子》

Flame, by Zhucheng LIANG, Candied Plums, 2016
朱成梁: 《火焰》

Little Rabbit’s Questions, by Da You, Candied Plums, 2016

Tan Hou and the Double Sixth Festival, by CAI Gao et al, Balestier Press, London & Singapore, 2016
作者: 向华 / 邬朝祝 整理 / 绘者 蔡皋 : 《晒龙袍的六月六》

Bibbit Jumps, by Bei Lynn, Gecko Press, 2020

The Mask that Loved to Count, by Luo Xi, Cardinal Media Kids, 2020

The Empty Bowl, by AI Wener, Cardinal Media Kids, 2020

Grandpa's 14 Games, by Zhao Ling, Cardinal Media Kids, 2020

A Journey of 600 Inches, by Zhang Xiaoling, Cardinal Media Kids, 2020

Levin the cat, by Tao Jiu, Cardinal Media Kids, 2020

Mom is Hiding, by Qian Mo, Cardinal Media Kids, 2020

I am Hua Mulan, by Qin Wenjun, Balestier Press, 2020

Myna Bird as Free as a Cloud, by Bai Bing, Balestier Press, 2020

Other publications

The Music of Ink at the British Museum (edited volume featuring Yang Lian, Romesh Gunesekera, Denis Brown, Qu Lei Lei, Rohan de Saram, Zeng Laide and Wang Tao), Saffron Books, London, 2012. Info here

Is Gao Xingjian’s play Chezhan merely a blind worship of modern Western plays as the critic He Wen claims? How far can Chezhan be compared with Beckett’s Waiting for Godot?, Bulletin of the British Association for Chinese Studies, 1986, pp. 83-89. Available here

Interviews and short pieces
Interview, with Julie Sullivan, in Words and Pictures (SCBWI), 7 Oct 2018.
Interview, with Nanette McGuinness, in SCBWI, The Blog, 7 Sept 2017.
Interview, with Eric Abrahamsen, for Paper Republic, April 2016. in English and in Chinese
Interview, with Daniel Hahn, in Books for Keeps.
On "Bronze and Sunflower" in LARB China Blog, 13 April 2016
Translating Children's Books - a short piece for Books from Taiwan (2015)
Learning about Chinese children's books - interview with Zoe Toft for Playing by the Book, 27 April 2015
Bronze and Sunflower - Ann Morgan's Book of the Month, April 2015
Guest Interview: Helen Wang on Children's Book Translation, interviewed by Avery Fischer Udagawa for Cynthia Leitich Smith's "Cynsations" blog, 26 May 2015
Review by Nicky Harman of Bronze and Sunflower in Tribune 6 March 2015


Read Now: On Paper Republic

Small Town by Li Jingrui October 11, 2018
Dragonworld November 03, 2016
Self-Portrait by Zhang Xinxin April 21, 2016
Ying Yang Alley by Fan Xiaoqing April 14, 2016
Sunshine in Winter by Shi Kang tr. Michelle Deeter, Killiana Liu, Juliet Vine and Helen Wang January 14, 2016
A Second Pregnancy, 1980 by Lu Min November 03, 2015
Xie Bomao R.I.P. by Lu Min October 29, 2015
Crows by Cao Wenxuan September 24, 2015
Missing by Li Jingrui August 06, 2015

Read Now: Around the Web

Huiwa's Stand by Cao Wenxuan Pathlight: New Chinese Writing
After the Inferno by Zhang Xinxin Words Without Borders
Dragonworld by Zhang Xinxin Paper Republic
A Very Special Pigeon by Cao Wenxuan Writing Chinese
Floating (excerpt) by Hu Ching-fang Books from Taiwan
The Nowhere Trilogy (excerpt) by Tsen Peng-Wei Books from Taiwan

Book Publications

Leilong the Library Bus cover

Leilong the Library Bus

Julia Liu

July 01, 2021

Dragonfly Eyes cover

Dragonfly Eyes

Cao Wenxuan

January 02, 2021

Grandpa's 14 Games cover

Grandpa's 14 Games

Zhao Ling

October 20, 2020

The Empty Bowl cover

The Empty Bowl

AI Wener

October 20, 2020

A Journey of 600 Inches cover

A Journey of 600 Inches

Zhang Xiaoling

October 20, 2020

The Mask that Loved to Count cover

The Mask that Loved to Count

Luo Xi

October 20, 2020

Mom is Hiding cover

Mom is Hiding

Qian Mo

October 20, 2020

I am Hua Mulan cover

I am Hua Mulan

Qin Wenjun

October 01, 2020

Myna Bird as Free as a Cloud cover

Myna Bird as Free as a Cloud

Bai Bing

October 01, 2020

Levin the cat cover

Levin the cat

Tao Jiu

October 01, 2020

Levin is a cat cover

Levin is a cat

Tao Jiu

October 01, 2020

Grandpa's 14 Games cover

Grandpa's 14 Games

Zhao Ling

October 01, 2020

The Mask that Loved to Count cover

The Mask that Loved to Count

Luo Xi

October 01, 2020

A Journey of 9000 Millimetres cover

A Journey of 9000 Millimetres

Zhang Xiaoling

October 01, 2020

The Empty Lunchbox cover

The Empty Lunchbox

AI Wener

October 01, 2020

Mum is Hiding cover

Mum is Hiding

Qian Mo

October 01, 2020

Bibbit Jumps cover

Bibbit Jumps

Bei Lynn

September 01, 2020

I am Hua Mulan cover

I am Hua Mulan

Qin Wenjun

November 01, 2019

The Ventriloquist's Daughter cover

The Ventriloquist's Daughter

Man-chiu Lin

May 17, 2017

Express Delivery from Dinosaur World cover

Express Delivery from Dinosaur World

Dong Yanan

March 01, 2017

Little Rabbit's Questions cover

Little Rabbit's Questions

Gan Dayong

March 01, 2017

An's Seed cover

An's Seed

Wang Zaozao

March 01, 2017

Flame cover


Zhu Chengliang

March 01, 2017

Bronze and Sunflower cover

Bronze and Sunflower

Cao Wenxuan

April 01, 2015

Original Works

Short story (2)

All Translations

Short story (21)

Novella (1)

Essay (6)

Children's book (21)

Excerpt (6)

The Paper Republic database exists for reference purposes only. We are not the publisher of these works, are not responsible for their contents, and cannot provide digital or paper copies.


GLLI (21) - Translations in the British Library - by Frances Wood

By Helen Wang, February 21, '17

Frances Wood is the author of several books, including most recently Betrayed Ally: China in the Great War (2016) and her new book Great Books of China: From Ancient Times to the Present (2017). Now retired, she was, for over thirty years, one of the key librarians and curators of the Chinese section of the British Library. We were delighted when Frances agreed to tell us what it was like to work there and how the UK’s national library went about collecting translations...

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GLLI (20) - Jia Pingwa as Global Literature - by Nick Stember

By Helen Wang, February 20, '17

Nick Stember is a historian and translator of Chinese comics and science fiction. In 2015 he completed a Master of Arts in the Department of Asian Studies at the University of British Columbia. His work has been featured in The International Journal of Comic Art, Clarkesworld Magazine, LEAP: The International Art Magazine of Contemporary China, and The China Story Yearbook. He is currently working closely with the Jia Pingwa Institute, in Xi’an, to bring more of Jia’s work into English.

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GLLI (19) - Creating a dynamic new centre for Chinese literature in translation - by Frances Weightman

By Helen Wang, February 19, '17

In the UK, most literary and translation events take place in London. A few years ago, Frances Weightman and Sarah Dodd, at the University of Leeds, set out to establish Leeds as the centre for new Chinese writing in "the North". Leeds is a city about halfway between London and Scotland (the train from London takes just over two hours). Their idea was to open up the world of contemporary Chinese writing and to engage with everyone involved in the process of transforming a great work conceived in Chinese to a great work read in English! They called the project Writing Chinese. It's been so successful, they've just received funding to develop it further! We invited Frances to tell us the story so far...

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GLLI (17) - Ethnic-themed Literature out of China - by Bruce Humes

By Helen Wang, February 17, '17

The People's Republic of China has a population of over 1.38 billion. About 90% of the population is ethnically Han-Chinese, which means that about 10% of the population belong to ethnic minorities. That's over 138 million people! We invited Bruce Humes to tell us more about these people and their literature. This post is in two parts: the first part is a wonderful introduction to writing by and about non-Han peoples; and the second part introduces Chi Zijian's novel The Last Quarter of the Moon, translated by Bruce.


GLLI (15) - A mesmerised youth in the grip of the evolving capital: Feng Tang’s novel Beijing, Beijing - by Martina Codeluppi

By Helen Wang, February 15, '17

Think about Beijing - what’s the first thought that comes to mind? Whether it’s politics, history, business, people, culture, smog, Olympics, Tian’anmen Square, university, food – our associations and experiences of a place are often associated with particular people at a particular time. The Chinese equivalent of Zeitgeist is shidai jingshen (literally, spirit of the age). And, just as English speakers might talk of Baby Boomers, Generation X, and Generation Y, Chinese speakers might talk of the One Child Policy, The 90s Generation, and Millenials. In today’s post, Martina Codeluppi reviews Feng Tang’s novel Beijing, Beijing, translated by Michelle Deeter, set in the 1990s.


GLLI (13) - Chinese Literature and the Law - by Emily Jones

By Helen Wang, February 13, '17

The first translations of Sherlock Holmes into Chinese were published with spoiler titles like The Case of Sapphire in the Belly of the Goose, and The Case of the Jealous Woman Murdering Her Husband. Why give the game away so soon? To a large extent, it’s linked to Chinese gong’an [court case] fiction and the famous Judge Bao stories, where the focus is more about what really happened than on whodunit. But what about current crime fiction in China? Emily Jones has recently translated He Jiahong’s novel Black Holes, and we invited her to tell us more…

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GLLI (12) - In China, writing reality as fiction - by Li Jingrui

By Helen Wang, February 12, '17

A few years ago, Li Jingrui switched careers – she quit her job as a journalist (she reported on legal cases, and had a column in the Chinese edition of The Wall Street Journal) and turned to writing fiction. We selected her short story "Missing" for the Read Paper Republic series, and also featured it in our first Speed Book Club event. The story is about a young woman whose husband mysteriously disappears for a few months, and at the book club this opened up an amazing discussion, drawing comparisons with the wives of los desaparecidos in Chile. We also selected a non-fiction piece "One Day, One of the Screws Will Come Loose" by Li Jingrui for the 2nd Bai Meigui Translation Competition with the Writing Chinese project at the University of Leeds. For Global Literature In Libraries this month, we asked Li Jingrui to tell us about her transition from legal journalism to creative writing.

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GLLI (10) - What If... - by Jeff Wasserstrom

By Helen Wang, February 10, '17

Jeff Wasserstrom, professor of history at UC Irvine, is the editor of The Oxford Illustrated History of Modern China, which came out last year, author of five books, one of them titled China in the 21st Century; What Everyone Needs to Know! He is very interested in literature as well as history, and he has written reviews of works of Chinese fiction for publications such as the New York Times and the TLS, so we invited him to tell us which book we absolutely had to feature in the GLLI series. He chose The Three Body Problem, the first installment of a trilogy by Liu Cixin, an outstanding work of speculative fiction, and in this piece, as a comparative-minded person, he explores where it sits on the global literature shelf. (Not sure what speculative fiction is? Jeff encourages us to think of it as What If Fiction)

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GLLI (7) - Truth becomes fiction when fiction is true - by Ann Waltner

By Helen Wang, February 7, '17

Dream of the Red Chamber by Cao Xueqin is the quintessential Chinese novel. The translation by David Hawkes and John Minford (The Story of the Stone, Penguin Classics) is such a pleasure to read that the Complete Review suggested it as a contender for Book of the Millenium! This much-loved eighteenth-century classic has been adapted for the cinema, for TV, for radio, for the stage and, most recently, as an opera co-produced by the San Francisco Opera and the Hong Kong Arts Festival. So we just had to include it in the GLLI’s China month! In 2016, Ann Waltner, Professor of History at the University of Minnesota, created a free online course Dream of the Red Chamber: Afterlives, with the help of her graduate students. Designed for people who’ve never read the novel before, it’s a great resource – whether you’re reading by yourself or as a book-group. We’re delighted that Ann agreed to write today’s post.

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Happy New Year! - new RPR project starting next week!

By Helen Wang, January 28, '17

Happy New Year everyone! Wondering what's in store on Paper Republic in the Year of the Rooster?

READ PAPER REPUBLIC's first project of the year starts on Wednesday 1 February and runs throughout the month. The Global Literature in Libraries Initiative (GLLI) invited us to run their blog, and give it a China focus for February. We said yes, as long as we could post the blogs simultaneously on Paper Republic. So that's what we're doing! We'll be posting every day through February. We're incredibly grateful that so many PR contributors and friends have helped us to prepare for this, and we hope you'll enjoy the posts. As usual, please join in and leave comments (especially appreciative ones! and ones that add news or info).

-- The Read Paper Republic Team

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