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.


Public Talk, and Translation Masterclass With Author Yan Ge 颜歌 and Translator Nicky Harman

By Helen Wang, September 8, '14

Copied from Writing Chinese website:
Saturday November 1st, 2014. Public talk @11am – 1pm. Translation masterclass@ 2pm – 5pm. Venue to be announced (University of Leeds)

For our morning event, which is open to the general public (no registration required), author Yan Ge and her translator Nicky Harman will be talking about their work together. Yan Ge’s novella White Horse, translated by Nicky, will be released in October by Hope Road Publishing. And for a taster of more of Yan Ge’s work and why Nicky recommends it so highly, have a look at this recent article in Words Without Borders.

Our afternoon event is a literary translation masterclass, led by the author and her translator, and is open to anyone interested in the translation of contemporary Chinese fiction into English.

The masterclass is free but registration is required. If you’d like to attend, please email us at writingchinese@leeds.ac.uk. We will then email all attendees in advance with the text that we’ll be translating on the day.

We’re also pleased to announce that the masterclass will be followed by the launch of the Bai Meigui Literary Translation Competition. More details to follow soon!

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The Best Translated Chinese Books (weekend challenge by @cfbcuk)

By Helen Wang, April 1, '13

At the end of last week on twitter this question was posed: why don't people complain about poor quality Chinese>English translations? Good manners prevailed (no one was named and shamed), and as a critical session was not forthcoming, @cfbcuk held an ad-hoc Weekend Challenge to turn the question around and try to identify the 10 best translated Chinese books. For those who aren’t on twitter, but who might be interested, we’ll post the results below. The challenge was open to all, and while some eminent people participated (thank you!) we were also happy to include translated titles that people have enjoyed reading (thank you too!). In the end we received more than 10 titles. Here they are, in no particular order, except for The Story of the Stone, which was the clear favourite.


Famous Chinese writers born in the Year of the Snake...

By Helen Wang, February 10, '13

Happy New Year from the China Fiction Book Club (especially if you were born in the year of the snake, the most unloved/ feared/ despised of the 12 animals). Here's what we posted on twitter (@cfbcuk) earlier...

金蛇出洞!Hoping that the Year of the Snake ("little dragon") will be a good year! Some very famous Chinese writers were born in the Year of the Snake: Qu Yuan 屈原; Lu You 陆游; Wu Jingzi 吴敬梓; Lu Xun 鲁讯, Mao Zedong 毛泽东.
[Source: http://www.shengxiao5.cn/shengxiao/6/shengxiao500.htm …]


More Chinese books in London! Arthur Probsthain’s Bookshop

By Helen Wang, February 10, '13

My surprise last week at the Chinese New Year display and stock of Chinese fiction at Watermark Books in King's Cross Station was because most bookshops in London stock very few Chinese books (and then mostly on the X,Y,Z shelf). What's more, the staff usually know next-to-nothing about the Chinese fiction they're selling (Mo Yan? Who?). The exception is Arthur Probsthain Bookshop (known to locals as Probsthain’s) which always has a range of Chinese fiction on display and for sale, not just at Chinese New Year, and has knowledgeable staff.

Arthur Probsthain Bookshop specialises in Asian, Middle Eastern and African books, and is located at 41 Great Russell Street, opposite the British Museum. The business was founded in 1902 on Bury Place (round the corner) and has been at its current location since 1903. It is still a family-run business. Recently refurbished, there is now a bookshop and gallery at street level, and a very nice café called Tea and Tattle downstairs. There’s also a branch of Probsthain’s at the School of Oriental & African Studies (SOAS), a short walk away. Michael Sheringham, the great-nephew of Arthur Probsthain, has supplied details of the Chinese fiction currently on display for Chinese New Year.

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"Stories by Contemporary Writers from Shanghai Series" published by Better Link Press

By Helen Wang, February 3, '13

Having heard that Watermark Books in Kings Cross station (London) was doing a promotion on China-related titles, I went to take a look this afternoon. They have a small table, piled with about a dozen non-fiction titles (eg by Yang Jiping, Frank Dikotter, Fuschia Dunlop, Henry Kissinger, Julia Lovell, Martin Jacques), a dozen fiction titles and a couple of books for children. If anyone’s interested, I’ve put some photos on twitter @cfbcuk . By Chinese standards this is a tiny display, but for a non-specialist bookshop in the UK, and bear in mind that this is a small bookshop located in a railway station, it’s quite impressive. This is the first Watermark Books in the UK; there are other Watermark Books in other countries, also located in station/airport locations.

The fiction and children’s books on the table were all produced by Better Link Press, Shanghai Press & Publishing Development Company 上海新闻出版发展公司. There were also some glossy posters behind the till desk, so I assume that the publisher is involved in the promotion, or at least is the source of the fiction books, children’s books, and the decorations. They had a couple of other China-related titles on their regular shelves : the Penguin Classics edition of The Analects, and The Flowers of War, by Geling Yan, translated by Nicky Harman. When I pointed these out, they added them to the table display.


Celebrate Du Fu's 1300th birthday! Proposing 12 December as Du Fu Day!

By Helen Wang, December 6, '12

Du Fu was born in 712, and would have been 1300 years old in 2012! Rather than let this momentous occasion slip by unnoticed, I checked with Du Fu aficionado Brian Holton if there had been any celebrations. We haven’t heard of any, so we’d like to propose that we squeeze in a celebration before the end of the year. We don’t know his actual birthday, so have plumped for 12.12.12 as it’s easy to remember, and propose that we designate this day (12 December) hereafter as Du Fu Day.


Chinese Writers’ Rich List 2012 - The Top 10

By Helen Wang, November 29, '12

Data compiled from the entry 2012第七届中国作家富豪榜 on www.baidu.com.

Chinese Writers’ Rich List 2012
1. Zheng Yuanjie 郑渊洁 (2011 – no.3 // 2010 – no.3 // 2009 – no.1 // 2008 – no.2)
2. Mo Yan 莫言
3. Yang Hongying 杨红樱 (2011 – no.4 // 2010 – no.1 // 2009 – no.3 // 2008 – no.3)
4. Guo Jingming 郭敬明 (2011 – no.1 // 2010 - no.1 // 2009 - no.2 // 2008 - no.1)
5. Jiang Nan 江南 (2011 – no.6)
6. Yu Dan 于丹 (2011 – no.25 // 2008 – no.7)
7. Han Han 韩寒 (2011 – no.9 // 2010 – no.8 // 2009 – no.8 // 2008 – no.18)
8. An Dongni 按东尼
9. Nan Pai San Shu 南派三叔 (2011 – no.2 // 2010 – no.14)
10. Dang Nian Ming Yue 当年明月 (2011 – no.7 // 2010 – no.4 // 2009 – no.4 // 2008 – no.15)

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Is anyone in the UK selling books published by Penguin China?

By Helen Wang, November 24, '12

Are there any copies of Sheng Keyi's Northern Girls or Wang Xiaofang's The Civil Servant's Notebook on sale in the UK? Christmas is coming and I was thinking these might make good presents, but it's not easy to get copies of them in the UK. I contacted Penguin China, and it appears they have been launched in the Asia Pacific territory, and the best way is to try and get ebook editions on Penguin.com.au, or to place orders in Australia, or ask a friend to bring them in the luggage. Is anyone in the UK selling these titles?


China Fiction Book Club

By Helen Wang, November 17, '12

Twitter @cfbcuk

Founded by Nicky Harman in 2010, welcoming everyone interested in Chinese fiction in English.

Meets every 6-8 weeks in London - next meeting will be on 16 January 2013.

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New Journal: Asian Literature and Translation (ALT)

By Helen Wang, November 8, '12

(via H-Asia) New Journal: Asian Literature and Translation (ALT): A Journal of Religion and Culture. ISSN: 2051-5863

Asian Literature and Translation (ALT) is an open access, peer-reviewed, online journal established by the Centre for the History of Religion in Asia (CHRA), Cardiff University. The main objective of the journal is to publish research papers, translations, and reviews in the field of Asian religious literature (construed in the widest sense) in a form that makes them quickly and easily accessible to the international academic community, to professionals in related fields, such as theatre and storytelling, and to the general public.

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A Year of Reading the World (or what to read in Mongolian)

By Helen Wang, October 29, '12

The Blue Sky (Der blaue Himmel) by Galsan Tschinag is Ann Morgan's choice (see her blog, 27 Oct). It's from Mongolia rather than China, but about life in the Altai mountains.

Ann Morgan has set herself the Herculean task of reading a book/story from each of 196 countries within 12 months. Her deadline is 31 December 2012. It's a great blog - so interesting. But what will she recommend for China?!

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Driving round and round the ringroads

By Helen Wang, October 25, '12

Just read Xiaolu Guo's story Then the Game Begins in which two lovers drive round and round the ringroads in Beijing. It reminded me of another story in which two close friends drive round and round the ringroads - Shi Kang's story, Sunshine in Winter. Until now I've always associated cars on the Beijing ringroads with traffic jams and stress, but maybe the ringroads are associated with long hours of intimacy and late at night? Do they feature in lots of stories?

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Three Treasures: Huzhu Mongghul Folklore

By Helen Wang, October 22, '12

This collection of Huzhu Mongghul (Monguor, Tu) folktales, riddles, songs, and jokes features website links to audio files of the original tellers' materials for each folklore item, as well as a link to each item as retold by Limusishiden and Jugui, who collected the material in Huzhu Mongghul Autonomous County, Haidong Region, Qinghai Province, PR China, in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries.

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