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 Paper Republic


Novellas (1)

Essays (6)

Excerpts (6)

Children's books (19)

Short stories (20)


Lin Yutang on passion - is qing the right word?

By Helen Wang, September 8, '12

Another Lin Yutang moment - this one relates to tragedy and tragic figures in Chinese literature

"It is passion that is the soul of life, the light in the stars, the lilt in music and song, the joy in flowers, the plumage in birds, the charm in woman, and the life in scholarship. It is as impossible to speak of a soul without passion as to speak of music without expression. It is that which gives us inward warmth and the rich vitality which enables us to face life cheerily.

Or perhaps I am wrong in choosing the word ‘passion’ when I speak of what the Chinese writers refer to as qing . Should I translate it by the word ‘sentiment’, which is gentler and suggests less of the tumultuous qualities of stormy passion?

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Lin Yutang, the peony and Mae West

By Helen Wang, September 7, '12

Having come across the name and words of Lin Yutang (1895-1976) several times this week, I pulled my old copy of The Importance of Living from the shelf, blew off the dust, and was delighted to find Appendix B: A Chinese Critical Vocabulary. It's written for the general reader, and includes 81 specific terms and many more in and amongst:
eg. 48. yan: voluptuous, georgeously beautiful, dazzlingly beautiful, passionate. eg. the peony, Mae West.
eg. 67. shou: thin, slender. This is a strangely beautiful word in the Chinese language. Slender rocks and bamboos are always painted together. It expresses non-sensuous beauty.


Chinese Writers’ Rich Lists 2008-2011

By Helen Wang, September 1, '12

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

Chinese Writers’ Rich List 2011
1. Guo Jingming 郭敬明 (2010 - no.1 // 2009 - no.2 // 2008 - no.1)
2. Nan Pai San Shu 南派三叔 (2010 – no.14)
3. Zheng Yuanjie 郑渊洁 (2010 – no.3 // 2009 – no.1 // 2008 – no.2)
4. Yang Hongying 杨红樱 (2010 – no.1 // 2009 – no.3 // 2008 – no.3)
5. Anni Baobei 安妮宝贝 (2008 – no.22)
6. Jiang Nan 江南
7. Dang Nian Ming Yue 当年明月 (2010 – no.4 // 2009 – no.4 // 2008 – no.15)
8. Lang Xianping 郎咸平 (2010 – no.6)
9. Han Han 韩寒 (2010 – no.8 // 2009 – no.8 // 2008 – no.18)
10. Cai Kangyong 蔡康永

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Chinese fiction – guides for reading groups and book clubs

By Helen Wang, August 31, '12

Thought I'd look around and see what kind of reading guides there are for reading groups and bookclubs who might be interested in Chinese fiction. There's a website called readinggroupguides which has a lot of China-related books (fiction, non-fiction, memoirs) and Harper Collins has a few China-related books in and amongst its Reading Guides. There are probably more, but this is all I could find.

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Yiyun Li talks about Shen Congwen

By Helen Wang, August 25, '12

This is a nice clip...

Yiyun Li, translator of the letters of Chinese writer Shen Congwen, tells the story of his extremely persistent courtship of his wife, a student of his at a University, and the concerned chancellor who was caught in between. To hear more about Congwen's writing, letters, and life (and more of Li's delightful commentary) listen to the full audio of her TWO LINES reading at http://catranslation.org/blogpost/two-voices-with-author-yiyun-shen-congwen

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Xu Huaiqian - one of his last pieces of writing

By Helen Wang, August 23, '12

I couldn't find any of Xu's work translated into English, so I've made a quick attempt at translating one of the last pieces he wrote, published in Beijing Qingnian Bao in June.

徐怀谦想象力和比想象力更重要的 北京青年报, 20120623 09:37 http://news.ifeng.com/opinion/society/detail_2012_06/23/15506341_0.shtml?_from_ralated


Tibetan Soul, by A Lai

By Helen Wang, August 18, '12

Tibetan Soul Stories by Alai, translated by Karen Gernant and Chen Zeping.

Alai has said that he seeks to demystify Tibet and to depict the Tibetan reality—the “noun” rather than the “adjectivized” Tibet offered by some outsiders. The stories collected here present various Tibetan realities, some drawn from legends, others inspired by daily life, by his home village, and by his extensive travels through the region.

Merwin Asia, February 2012, distributed by University of Hawaii Press. ISBN 978-1-937385-09-5 // ISBN 978-1-937385-08-8

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Ripple on Stagnant Water, by Li Jieren

By Helen Wang, August 18, '12

Ripple on Stagnant Water, A Novel of Sichuan in the Age of Treaty Ports, by Li Jieren, translated by Bret Sparling and Yin Chi.

In the small market town of Heaven’s Turn on the Chengdu Plain, a simple-minded shopkeeper has married a beautiful village girl who is determined to rise above her station. Li Jieren’s novel is populated with gangsters, prostitutes, farmers, dilettantes, bureaucrats and Christian converts, all drawn from the author’s familiar acquaintance.

Merwin Asia, due Sept 2012, distributed by University of Hawaii Press. ISBN 978-1-937385-25-5 // ISBN 978-1-937385-24-8

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Endless War, Fiction and Essays by Wang Wen-Hsing

By Helen Wang, August 18, '12

Endless War Fiction and Essays by Wang Wen-Hsing, edited by Shu-ning Sciban and Fred Edwards.
This volume consists of translations of twenty-four fictional works and five essays by one of the most celebrated modernist writers in Taiwan and the recipient of Taiwan’s most prestigious National Culture and Arts Award (Literature Category).

Cornell University East Asia Program, 2011 : Cornell East Asia Series 158 Distributed by University of Hawaii Press. ISBN 978-1-933947-28-0 // ISBN 978-1-933497-58-7

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Zhang Xinxin's new book is launched

By Helen Wang, August 16, '12

Pai Hua Zi and the Clever Girl: A Graphic Novel by Zhang Xinxin.

Published digitally, 20 pages of this book are available as a sample. This is Part 1 of the English edition. Part 2 and Chinese edition to follow soon.


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China's Cultural Revolution and its aftermath in fiction and memoir

By Helen Wang, August 2, '12


This list of 79 books is from goodreads.com, and was created by someone called Hannah on 1 August. It's not always on target, but gives an idea of which books general readers are recommending to others, the average rating for each book and the number of ratings it has received.

Here are the Top Ten on the list...

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