2016 translations from Chinese

By Nicky Harman, published

Part of: Year-End Roll Call

2016 covers

As usual, we have assembled a list of book-length translations from Chinese into English over the year. Congratulations to all authors and translators! This year’s list is longer than ever, and several books have won international prizes. Your additions, comments, corrections to this list are welcome - please leave a comment below and we’ll update the list. This is our fifth annual list; previous lists are here: 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015...........

Amy Cheung, Hummingbirds Fly Backwards, translated by Bonnie Huie (Amazon Crossing) (F/F)
Anthology, By the River: Seven Contemporary Chinese Novellas, by Jiang Yun, Li Tie, Xu Zechen, Fang Fang, Chi Zijian, Wang Anyi, Han Shaogong; edited by Charles A. Laughlin, Liu Hongtao, Jonathan Stalling; translations by Charles Laughlin, Andrea Lingenfelter, Eleanor Goodman, and Lucas Klein (University of Oklahoma Press) (various F&M)
Anthology of scifi stories, Invisible Planets, translated by Ken Liu (Tor) (various/M)
Bei Tong, Beijing Comrades, translated by Scott Myers (Feminist Press) (undisclosed/M)
Bi Feiyu, Massage, translated by Howard Goldblatt and Sylvia Lin (Penguin Australia and e-Penguin)(M/M/F)
Chan Ho-kei, The Borrowed, translated by Jeremy Tiang (various publishers) (M/M)
Chen Zijin, The Untouched Crime, translated by Michelle Deeter (Amazon Crossing) (M/F)
Ge Fei, A Flock of Brown Birds, translated by Poppy Toland (Penguin) (M/F)
Ge Fei, The Invisibility Cloak, translated by Canaan Morse (New York Review of Books) (M/M)
Guangxueyin, Devil’s Mind, translated by George Fowler (Amazon Crossing) (M/M)
Hong Ying, Good Children of the Flower, translated by Gary Xu (Amazon Crossing) (F/M)
Huang Yunte, Big Red Book of Modern Chinese Literature, various translators (W.W. Norton) (M/various)
Jia Pingwa, Ruined City, translated by Howard Goldblatt (University of Oklahoma Press) (M/M)
Li Zhi, A Book to Burn and a Book to Keep (Hidden): Selected Writings of Li Zhi. edited by Rivi Handler-Spitz, Pauline C. Lee, and Haun Saussy; translations by Timothy Billings, Timothy Brook, Huiying Chen, Drew Dixon, Jennifer Eichman, Rivi Handler-Spitz, Martin Huang, Thomas Kelly, David Lebovitz, Pauline C. Lee, Haun Saussy, and Zinan Yan (Columbia UP) (M/various F&M)
Liu Cixin, Death’s End, translated by Ken Liu (Tor) (M/M)
Liu Zhenyun, Remembering 1942, translated by Howard Goldblatt (Arcade) (M/M)
Ng Kim Chew, Slow Boat to China and Other Stories, translated by Carlos Rojas (Columbia UP) (M/M)
Qi Tang, To the Sky Kingdom, translated by Poppy Toland (Amazon Crossing) (F/F)
Qin Ming, Murder in Dragon City, translated by Alex Woodend (Amazon Crossing) (M/M)
Shih Chiung-Yu, Masked Dolls, translated by Wang Xinlin and Poppy Toland (Balestier Press)
Song Ying, Apricot’s Revenge, translated by Howard Goldblatt and Sylvia Li-chun Lin (Minotaur) (M/M/F)
Su Tong, Two novellas, Another Life for Women, Three Lamps, translated by Kyle David Anderson (Simon and Schuster Australia)
Wang Jinkang, Pathological, translated by Jeremy Tiang (Amazon Crossing) (M/M)
Xu Xiaobin, Crystal Wedding, translated by Nicky Harman (Balestier Press) (F/F)
Xue Yiwei, Shenzheners, translated by Darryl Sterk (Linda Leith Publishing), (M/M)
Yan Lianke, The Explosion Chronicles, translated by Carlos Rojas (Grove), (M/M)

Cai Xiang, Revolution and Its Narratives, translated by Rebecca Karl and Xueping Zhong (Duke University Press Books), (M/F/F)
Han Han, The Problem with Me: And Other Essays About Making Trouble in China Today, translated by Alice Xin Liu, Joel Martinsen (M/F/M)
Ji Xianlin, The Cowshed: Memories of the Chinese Cultural Revolution, translated by Chenxin Jiang (New York Review Books) (M/F)
Sophia Suk-mun Law, Reading Chinese Painting: Beyond Forms and Colors, a Comparative Approach to Art Appreciation, translated by Tony Blishen (F/M)

Collection of classical poetry, Staunin Ma Lane, translated by Brian Holton into Scots (and English) (Shearsman Books) (M/F/M)
Collection of classical poetry plus travelogue, Finding Them Gone: Visiting China’s Poets of the Past, translated by Red Pine (Bill Porter) (Copper Canyon Press, 2016) (various F&M/M)
Ya Hsien, Abyss, translated by John Balcom (Zephyr Press) (M/M)
Yi Lu, Sea Summit, translated by Fiona Sze-Lorrain (Milkweed) (F/F)

Li Tong, Again I See the Galliardias, translated by Brandon Yen (Balestier Press) (M/M)
Qin Wenjun, Aroma’s Little Garden, translated by Tony Blishen (Better Link Press) (F/M)
Cao Wenxuan, A Very Special Pigeon, translated by Helen Wang (Renmin wenxue chubanshe, Tiantian chubanshe( M/F)
Cao Wenxuan, Looking for Snowy, translated by Helen Wang (Renmin wenxue chubanshe, Tiantian chubanshe( M/F)
Cao Wenxuan, The Cassia Tree, translated by Helen Wang (Renmin wenxue chubanshe, Tiantian chubanshe( M/F)
Cao Wenxuan, Huiwa’s Stand, translated by Helen Wang (Renmin wenxue chubanshe, Tiantian chubanshe( M/F)

Congratulations to everyone who has won a prize, or made the long/short lists this year! In no particular order,
Bronze and Sunflower, by Cao Wenxuan, translated by Helen Wang (Walker Books), shortlisted for the Marsh Award for Children’s Literature in Translation 2017
Crystal Wedding, by Xu Xiaobin, translated by Nicky Harman (Balestier Books), longlisted for the 2016 Financial Times / OppenheimerFunds Emerging Voices Awards
The Four Books, by Yan Lianke, translated by Carlos Rojas (Chatto and Windus), longlisted for the Man Booker International Prize 2016, shortlisted for the 2016 Financial Times / OppenheimerFunds Emerging Voices Awards
Aroma’s Little Garden, by Qin Wenjun, translated by Tony Blishen (Better Link Press) – winner of Shanghai Translation Grant
The Seventh Day by Yu Hua, translated by Allan Barr (Pantheon), shortlisted for the 2016 Financial Times / OppenheimerFunds Emerging Voices Awards
Wang Anyi, winner of the 2017 Newman Prize for Chinese Literature, announced September 2016
Luisetta Mudie, winner of the Writing Chinese/Read Paper Republic translation competition, 2016
John Minford, winner of the inaugural Medal for Excellence in Translation (Australian Academy of the Humanities) for his Chinese-to-English translation of I Ching (Yijing): The Book of Change (Viking).

For shorter pieces, there have been lots of publications online, free-to-view:
Read Paper Republic Series 1 (53 pieces)
Read Paper Republic Series 2 – Afterlives series (6 pieces)
Writing Chinese Book Club (Leeds University, UK) – monthly bookclub
Clarkesworld – Science Fiction

Notes F/F = female author, female translator; M/M = male author, male translator; and so on Some books have a different publisher per region.


# 1.   

Amazon Crossing is doing good work here too! Also: Hong Ying's Good Children of the Flowers is not a book for children, so you might want to change that.

Anna Gustafsson Chen, December 5, 2016, 6:37a.m.

# 2.   

Thanks, Anna. I just changed it.

Nicky Harman, December 5, 2016, 9:57a.m.

# 3.   

"Tibet on Fire: Self-Immolations Against Chinese Rule" was translated from Chinese into English and published by Verso Books in January 2016.

The author is Tsering Woeser and the translator is Kevin Carrico.

High Peaks Pure Earth, December 5, 2016, 12p.m.

# 4.   

Thanks! Do you have the original Chinese title handy?

Eric Abrahamsen, December 5, 2016, 7:01p.m.

# 5.   

It was published as 《西藏火凤凰》in Taiwan in 2015.

High Peaks Pure Earth, December 5, 2016, 8:15p.m.

# 6.   

A bonanza year! And great to see such an array of translators--many of whose names I've never seen before.

It looks like the golden age of contemporary Chinese poetry in English translation has ended, though.


Lucas Klein, December 7, 2016, 11:46a.m.

# 7.   

Thanks High Peaks Pure Earth for mentioning Tibet on Fire. I first read the book in French, and then used both the French and the original Chinese text in translation.

Kevin Carrico, December 7, 2016, 11:58a.m.

# 8.   

@Lucas: It was hardly long enough to qualify as an "age"! It was good while it lasted, though.

@Kevin: I've added the book to the database, and now you have a page as translator here. Let me know if you'd like to put any more information on that page, or if you have other translations you'd like to list. Thanks!

Eric Abrahamsen, December 7, 2016, 4:53p.m.

# 9.   

I've gone in and made changes to add the translators for the By the River anthology and Li Zhi's Book to Burn and a Book to Keep (Hidden) collection, to correct the poet's name to Ya Hsien for Abyss, and to add Red Pine's Finding Them Gone under poetry.


Lucas Klein, December 8, 2016, 1:20a.m.

# 10.   

The authors should at least be listed in By the River: Jiang Yun, Li Tie, Xu Zechen, Fang Fang, Chi Zijian, Wang Anyi, Han Shaogong.

Charles A. Laughlin, December 20, 2016, 4:11a.m.

# 11.   

Added, Charles!


Lucas Klein, December 20, 2016, 4:43p.m.

# 12.   

Keep in mind this stuff is all in the database as well:

By the River

Eric Abrahamsen, December 20, 2016, 5:30p.m.


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