Call for Chinese Short Story Proposals from Literary Translators

By Nicky Harman, published

Comma Press is an independent publisher based in the UK, specialising in short fiction. In 2007 Comma launched a translation imprint, with the remit of bringing original, contemporary short stories in translation to UK readers.

Comma is currently exploring the feasibility of publishing an anthology of contemporary Chinese short stories, translated for the first time. They say: "As we begin our search for stories to consider, we’d welcome putative submissions from literary translators interested in taking part and willing to recommend stories for inclusion in the anthology."

To propose a story to translate, please send to Comma:

• a brief CV of your translation work

• a sample translation of the first page of the story you wish to propose

• a brief (one paragraph) synopsis of the remainder of the story

• a brief (one paragraph) explanation of its strengths as a short story.

• a brief (one paragraph) biog of the author

• details of the book in which the story originally appears, the name of the publisher, ISBN no. and date of publication.

Please note the following:

• We’re only interested in short stories. We’re not looking for chapters from novels, autobiography, character sketches, journalism, non-fiction, etc. • Stories must have been previously published in print or online, in their original language within the past 20 years. • Stories must not have been previously published in English translation. • Stories must be by living authors. • Stories should be between 1000 and 5000 words in length (though we may be flexible if the story absolutely justifies it). • While we’re not interested in historical fiction or romance, we will consider including some Sci-fi/speculative/horror/crime stories, in the event that they’re of a high literary standard. • While there are no regional restrictions on the stories we’re looking for, we hope that the finalised anthology will reflect both urban and rural perspectives. • We will not consider any material that could reasonably be deemed racist, sexist, homophobic, or otherwise offensive to minority groups. • We are looking for stories from across China (geographically) and representing a wide range of backgrounds, and cultural perspectives.

As a guiding principle, we intend this anthology to showcase the best short stories by the best short story writers currently working in China. If it’s not a fantastic story, we’re unlikely to want to use it.

Please send all proposals to Simon Richardson:

In the event that we commission you to translate a story, we pay the UK Translators’ Association standard rate.

Submissions welcome until 1st September 09.


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