Nicky Harman

wikipedia | worldcat | academia |

contact

Nicky Harman lives in the UK. She translates full-time from Chinese, focussing on contemporary fiction, literary non-fiction, and occasionally poetry, by a wide variety of authors. When not translating, she spends time promoting contemporary Chinese fiction to English-language readers. She works for Paper-Republic.org, a non-profit registered in the UK, where she is also a trustee. She writes blogs (for instance Asian Books Blog), give talks and lectures, and takes part in literary events and festivals, especially with the Leeds Centre for New Chinese Writing. She also mentors new translators, teaches summer schools (Norwich, London, Warwick and Bristol), and judges translation competitions. She tweets, with Helen Wang, as the China Fiction Bookclub @cfbcuk.

She taught on the MSc in Translation at Imperial College until 2011 and was co-Chair of the Translators Association (Society of Authors) 2014-2017.

Winner of the 2020 Special Book Award of China; the 2015 Mao Tai Cup People's Literature Chinese-English translation prize; and of first prize in the 2013 China International Translation Contest, Chinese-to-English section, with Jia Pingwa’s "Backflow River", 倒流河

Forthcoming: I Want to be Good (《我要做好孩子》) , Huang Beijia, GBD Books India (and forthcoming UK edition)
Wake Me Up at Nine in the Morning, (《早上九点叫醒我》), A Yi, Oneworld
Shaanxi Opera, (《秦腔》), Jia Pingwa, Amazon Crossing

2020 publications:

Oriental Silk, by Zhu Xiaowen, Hatje Cantz (Germany)

2019 publications:

Broken Wings, By Jia Pingwa, ACA Publishing

2018 publications:

The Chilli Bean Paste Clan, by Yan Ge, Balestier Press (awarded a PEN Translates grant)

Our Story: A Memoir of Love and Life in China, by Rao Pingru, Knopf Doubleday (awarded a PEN Translates grant)

2017 publications:

Jia Pingwa, Happy Dreams, Amazon Crossing, 2017.

Fish Tank Creatures, by Dorothy Tse, short story, translated with Natascha Bruce

2016 publications:

Crystal Wedding, novel by Xu Xiaobin, Balestier Press, 2016 (awarded a PEN Translates grant)

2015 publications:

Paper Tiger, essays by Xu Zhiyuan, co-translated with Michelle Deeter, Head of Zeus, 2015 (awarded a PEN Translates grant).
Sissy Zhong by Yan Ge, published READ PAPER REPUBLIC.
January:Bridges, by Dorothy Tse, published READ PAPER REPUBLIC. The translation and editing of this story is discussed and illustrated here: Free Word Centre.

Also, 2015-2016, READ PAPER REPUBLIC short story series: launching, planning, translating, editing, promotion and publicity.

2014 publications:

The Book of Sins by Chen Xiwo published by FortySix, October 2014.

White Horse, novella by Yan Ge, Hope Road Publishing, October 2014.

A Tabby-cat's Tale by Han Dong, winter 2014.

The Unbearable Dreamworld of Champa the Driver by Chan Koon-chung, Doubleday, April 2014.

Snow and Shadow, short story collection by Dorothy Tse, East Slope Publishing, March 2014.

A New Development Model and China’s Future, by Deng Yingtao, Routledge, March, 2014.

The Stone Ox that Grazed, short story by Sun Yisheng in Asymptote, April 2014.

A Loud Noise, poems by Han Dong, March 2014.

Other Published Translations in date order:

Urban Control and the Modernist City - essay by Leung Man-Tao, in LA Review of Books, originally appeared in Paper Republic, August 2013.

Woman Fish, by Dorothy Tse, for the Guardian newspaper, March 2013

The Shades who Periscope through Flowers to the Sky, by Sun Yisheng, for Words Without Borders, December 2012, and Dad, Your Name is Bao Tian, by Sun Yisheng, for The World of Chinese, March 2013.

Old Man Xinjiang, by Xue Mo, in China Stories for the Guardian newspaper, April 2012.

The Man with the Knife by Chen Xiwo, for Words Without Borders, November 2012

'Goodbye to Anne', in the novella collection The Road of Others, by Anni Baobei, Makedo Publishing, 2012.

Throwing out the Baby, by Xu Zechen, in Words Without Border, April 2012.

Shi Cheng: Short Stories from Urban China, Comma Press "Tales from Ten Cities" series, the two by Han Dong and Ding Liying, 2012

Flowers of Nanjing by Yan Geling, , published by Chatto and Windus, January 2012

A Phone Call from Dalian: Selected Poems by Han Dong, published by Zephyr Press, April 2012. Multiple reviews including World Literature Today and Peony Moon

The Eye of the Eagle, short story by Bai Hua, published by Hope Road Publishing

Prize-winning novel Gold Mountain Blues/Jin Shan by Zhang Ling, published by Penguin Canada

Short stories for Ou Ning's Shenzhen & Hong Kong Bi-city Biennale of Urbanism/Architecture, 2009, and literary magazine Chutzpah, 2010 and 2011.

Message from Unknown Chinese Mothers (Author: Xinran), Chatto & Windus, 2010.

China Witness (author: Xinran), oral history Co-translator with Esther Tyldesley and Julia Lovell. Chatto & Windus , 2008.

Banished! (author: Han Dong) (《扎根》 韩东), novel. University of Hawai’i Press, 2009. Won a PEN Translation Fund Award (2006) for this work. Longlisted for Man Asian Literary Prize, 2008.

‘Long Corridor, Short Song’ (author: Zi Ren, in To Pierce the Material Screen: An Anthology of 20th Century HK Literature, to be pub. Renditions, Hong Kong 2008); (《长廊的短调》 梓人) short story.

China Along the Yellow River (author: Prof. Cao Jinqing, pub. Routledge Curzon, December 2004); (《黄河边的中国》 曹锦清) sociology of rural China.

K – The Art of Love (author: Hong Ying, pub. Marion Boyars, 2002); (K 虹影) novel.

Research publications:

Li Hao: Translation of Contemporary Chinese Literature in the English-speaking World: An Interview with Nicky Harman, The AALITRA Review, No 4 (2012)

What's that got to do with anything? Coherence and the translation of relative clauses from Chinese. In Journal of Specialised Translation (www.jostrans.org) issue 13, January 2010

Foreign Culture, Foreign Style: a Translator’s View of Modern Chinese Fiction. In Perspectives: Studies in Translatology 14(1): 13-31. (2006).

Beyond Paper Dictionaries: Mining the Web for Technical Terminology in Chinese (available from http://isg.urv.es/cttt/cttt/research.html, or on request from NH).

Visiting Fellow at the Research Centre for Translation at Chinese University Hong Kong, April 2006. Visiting Scholar, Fudan University and Beijing University, China, 2008.

Nicky Harman translated for READ PAPER REPUBLIC, week 3, 2 July 2015, and READ PAPER REPUBLIC, week 10, 20 August 2015.

 

Read Now: On Paper Republic

View from a Window by Han Dong April 16, 2020
Hide! Hide! Hide! by Yan Geling March 28, 2020
Letter to My Mother by Ou Ning October 04, 2018
Dad Your Name is Field-Keeper by Sun Yisheng February 04, 2017
Gu Jieming – a Life by Han Dong June 09, 2016
The Bathtub – Scene of a Struggle by Han Dong May 12, 2016
Snow by Xu Xiaobin tr. Natascha Bruce and Nicky Harman March 24, 2016
That Damned Thing She Said by Fu Yuli March 03, 2016
Backflow River by Jia Pingwa February 25, 2016
Apery by Sun Yisheng January 28, 2016
The Cry of the Deer by Han Dong January 21, 2016
Sissy Zhong by Yan Ge August 20, 2015
January: Bridges by Dorothy (Hiu Hung) Tse July 02, 2015

Read Now: Around the Web

The Cry of the Deer by Han Dong Pathlight: New Chinese Writing
Mother Earth (excerpt) by Chiu Zu-Yin Books from Taiwan
Free! by Wang Bang Words Without Borders
Old Man Xinjiang by Xue Mo The Guardian

Book Publications

Broken Wings cover

Broken Wings

Jia Pingwa

May 03, 2019

The Chilli Bean Paste Clan cover

The Chilli Bean Paste Clan

Yan Ge

May 01, 2018

Happy Dreams cover

Happy Dreams

Jia Pingwa

October 01, 2017

Crystal Wedding cover

Crystal Wedding

Xu Xiaobin

January 01, 2016

White Horse cover

White Horse

Yan Ge

March 01, 2014

Gold Mountain Blues cover

Gold Mountain Blues

Zhang Ling

March 01, 2012

K: The Art of Love cover

K: The Art of Love

Hong Ying | Nicky Harman and Henry Y.H. Zhao

June 15, 2004

Original Works

Non-fiction (1)

All Translations

Poem (27)

Short story (37)

Novella (1)

Novel (13)

Essay (3)

Non-fiction (2)

Graphic novel (1)

Excerpt (2)

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.

Posts

Hapaxes and Chinese authors

By Nicky Harman, September 11, '17

hapax.jpg

Here's a nice article I came across in Atlas Obscura about authors (Maya Nandakumar gives mainly classical ones as examples) who invent their own words. Made me think of a few living Chinese authors who seem to be similarly inventive with words or expressions ... Jia Pingwa comes to mind. On the other hand, when I can't find certain mystifying expressions anywhere else online, I often wonder if it's really the author's own invention or just that certain varieties of language (local dialects) are poorly represented on the internet....

1 comment

Chinese Translation Slam, Sheffield, 16th October 2017

By Nicky Harman, September 10, '17

pic

In Sheffield on Monday 16th October? Come and hear Nicky Harman and Michelle Deeter debate their competing translations of an Aman Song short story, in "Forty Nine Degrees – Chinese Translation Slam." In the heat of a traffic jam, a man and woman get stuck in a taxi on their way to visit the woman’s parents. She’s a graduate with few prospects; he’s the man her parents desperately want her to marry. Will they make the train? With host Deborah Smith from Tilted Axis Press. 7:30pm. http://www.offtheshelf.org.uk/…/forty-nine-degrees-chinese…/

leave a comment

Dialect, obscenities and (religious) swearing: different languages, same translation issues

By Nicky Harman, August 24, '17

pic

I came across this fascinating discussion on the Facebook page of the (UK) Translators Association Diaspora and with David Warriner's permission am re-posting it here.

22 August 2017, from David Warriner:

Here's a challenge for the hive mind: I'm translating a literary crime thriller set in coastal Quebec that's peppered with local flavour, mainly through religious swearing. The main challenge with the novel is going to be keeping that local flavour through the characters' speech while maintaining readability for a predominantly British audience. Most of the expressions are used so frequently, it's not really an option to keep them in French. And they're peppered so liberally throughout the characters' speech, they're not really swear words anymore. Anyway, I'm hoping to gather some ideas for religious almost-swear words along the lines of Sweet bejesus! and Christ on a bike! for tackling gems such as Saint-ciboire de câlisse! For context, think middle-aged, salt-crusted fisherman propping up the bar at the pub on the docks. Thanks in advance for any ideas."

Click "Leave a Comment" to read the responses

1 comment

Translation Workshop, Hong Kong 20th June 2017

By Nicky Harman, May 24, '17

I'm running a translation workshop at Baptist University in Hong Kong on Tuesday 20th June 2017. We'll be working on a short piece of text from Jia Pingwa's novel 《高兴》. The event is free but please register by Monday 5th June to receive the text. Contact: cpw@hkbu.edu.hk and put Translation Workshop in the subject line.

pic

1 comment

Translate in the City, Summer School in London, 26th-30th June 2017

By Nicky Harman, March 27, '17

Literary Translation in Practice 26th - 30th June 2017, City University London
Are you a practising professional or a newcomer to the art of translation?
Develop your translation skills under the guidance of top professionals at a central London campus. An immersion course in literary translation into English across genres - including selections from fiction. poetry, history, essays, journalism, travel and academic writing - taught by leading literary translators and senior academics, with plenty of opportunities for networking.
• Arabic - Ruth Ahmedzai Kemp
• Chinese - Nicky Harman
• French - Trista Selous and Frank Wynne
• German - Shaun Whiteside
• Italian - Howard Curtis
•Japanese-Angus Turvill
• Polish - Antonia Lloyd-Jones
• Portuguese - Daniel Hahn
• Russian - Robert Chandler
• Spanish - Peter Bush
• Swedish - Kevin Halliwell
Evening programme (attendance free): French Translation Slam with Frank Wynne and Ros Schwartz; Keynote Lecture Who Dares Wins by Professor Gabriel Josipovici; Author/translator Daniel Hahn on Translation and Children's Books and a buffet supper at local gastro pub sponsored by Europe House with a talk by Paul Kaye, Europe House Languages Officer.
Full fee: £520. Bursaries available.
Directors Amanda Hopkinson (Visiting Professor in Literary Translation. City, University of London) and French literary translator Ros Schwartz
Please note: All translation is into English and English needs to be your language of habitual use. All evening and lunchtime events are free and attendance is voluntary. The organisers reserve the right to cancel a workshop that does not recruit to the required minimum number of participants. Any applicants for these groups will be notified with a minimum six weeks' notice.

leave a comment

GLLI (16) - Reincarnations: Chinese novels translated into English and into film

By Nicky Harman, February 16, '17

Many libraries stock both books and films – a good film can encourage people to read the book, and vice versa, and it can be very interesting to compare a book with its film, to identify the changes and to understand the reasons behind them. For this blog, I have selected five Chinese novels or novellas available in English translation, that have been turned into films for international audiences. The films are of books by Geling YAN, ZHANG Ling and JIA Pingwa, and I have been lucky enough to translate one book by each of them.

2 comments

GLLI (9) - Writing (and translating) the surreal, part two: the stories of Sun Yisheng - by Nicky Harman

By Nicky Harman, February 9, '17

Surrealist fiction, as exemplified by Franz Kafka and his Kafkaesque absurdities, feels like a very western phenomenon. But it is also a kind of story-telling that some excellent Chinese writers have taken to and given a style and a twist all of their own. Yesterday, I looked at the stories of Dorothy Tse, from Hong Kong. In my second blog on surreal story-tellers in China, I’m writing about Sun Yisheng, one of a small number of independent-minded young authors who have experimented with new styles and stories far removed from the literary realism pervasive in mainland China.

1 comment

GLLI (8) - Writing (and Translating) The Surreal, part one: Dorothy Tse - by Nicky Harman

By Nicky Harman, February 8, '17

Surrealist fiction, as exemplified by Franz Kafka and his Kafkaesque absurdities, feels like a very western phenomenon. But it is also a kind of story-telling that some excellent Chinese writers have taken to and given a style and a twist all of their own. Blair Hurley has a nice definition in her writer’s blog: ‘The most chilling or ominous surreal stories are where everything seems normal — until it gradually becomes clear that something is wrong, something is inescapable out of your character’s control.’ In a two-part blog, today and tomorrow, I’ll look at Dorothy Tse and Sun Yisheng, two contemporary Chinese writers who manage that feeling of ‘wrong-ness’, that juxtaposition of the normal and the weird, to perfection. In other ways, however, they are very different from each other and from classic western surreal writing.

2 comments

2016 translations from Chinese

By Nicky Harman, December 4, '16

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...........

12 comments

Nominate an organisation for the London Book Fair International Excellence Awards

By Nicky Harman, December 3, '16

In 2015 and 2016, Paper Republic were honourable runners-up. Asymptote won in 2015, Words without Borders in 2016. Anyone can nominate any group/collective/organization...so to put in your nominations, see below.

The London Book Fair and UK Publishers Association are seeking entries from non-UK organisations for The Literary Translation Initiative Award at the LBF International Excellence Awards. Closing date is 15 December 2016.

Organisations that have succeeded in raising the profile of literature in translation, promoting literary translators, and encouraging new translators and translated works should apply/be nominated.

Who is eligible? Any company or organisation operating outside the UK, whose scope of achievement is outside the UK.

This is a great opportunity to follow in some illustrious footsteps, to be recognised by your peers and get some good publicity for your company. The shortlist for the awards will be unveiled in February and the winner announced at a gala awards event on Tuesday 14 March, during LBF.

To enter or learn more about the awards go to www.londonbookfair.co.uk/awards

leave a comment

It's Women In Translation Month - and Paper Republic has been busy...

By Nicky Harman, August 1, '16

August is Women in Translation Month – and we're recommending some excellent women writing in Chinese.
From June 2015 to June 2016, the Read Paper Republic team published a short story/essay/poem translated from Chinese, one a week for a year. For last year’s #WITmonth we published four pieces written by women and translated by women (nos 7-10). The rest of the time, we didn’t pay too much attention to the gender of the writer. So it’s cheering to see that over the entire year, of the 53 pieces we published, 22 were written by women. They are all available online – free to view. Thank you to all our authors and translators.
Also , in May 2016, we drew up a list for The Literary Hub, of 10 CHINESE WOMEN WHOSE WRITING SHOULD BE TRANSLATED: WRITING FROM MAINLAND CHINA, HONG KONG, AND TAIWAN. Read it here: http://lithub.com/10-chinese-women-whose-writing-should-be-translated/

1 comment

Foyle Bookshop interview with Xinran and Xu Xiaobin

By Nicky Harman, June 25, '16

"Iron Girls to Leftover Women: What Next for Chinese Women?" is a blog I've just written for Foyles, a mega-bookshop in London (and elsewhere) with an impressive website including regular blogs. I approached them because I knew they'd ordered some copies of Xu Xiaobin (徐小斌)'s Crystal Wedding and I wanted to do some promotion for the book. But it's hard to interest the general reader in a (virtually) unknown author and book, so I decided to pick up on the piece Xu Xiaobin wrote recently for PEN Atlas, "A sea of red flags" and write about women. Xinran (薛欣然) has written a lot about Chinese women too, and was happy to be included...and so I ended up with two nice interviews. I have no idea if it will shift more books by both these authors off the shelves, but it felt like a worthwhile thing to do......

leave a comment