“You’re stepping on my shadow, please back off,” she said.

Sun Yisheng / Nicky Harman

About Read Paper Republic

Between 18th June 2015 and 16th June 2016, we are publishing a complete free-to-view short story (or essay or poem) by a contemporary Chinese writer, one per week for a year, 52 in total. Readers can browse them for free, on their computer, tablet or phone.

Update, 10 December 2015

Today is our 26th week, so we’re publishing RPR no.26 – and celebrating reaching the halfway point of Read Paper Republic!

Achievements so far:

53 short stories, essays and poems translated from Chinese

Links Contacts and Networking


  • Working with the Free Word Centre
  • Working with the Writing Chinese Project at Leeds University, including a translation competition, and
  • Video of literary event produced
  • We’ve posted news-worthy stories:

    • We featured in China Dialogue during the week of the Paris Talks, with a story on the Chinese environment
    • When the one-child-per-family policy formally came to an end, RPR translated the personal recollections of an author, Lu Min: A Second Pregnancy, 1980, which got hundreds of views. One of our members also blogged in LA Review of Books on the same topic.
    • We co-published an article by Bill Jenner, translator of the classic Journey to the West, in the LA Review of Books, over Chinese New Year, and posted an excerpt from his translation ourselves.
    • To commemorate the Cultural Revolution, we posted two very different pieces, a poem by Han Dong with a child’s eye view of violent happenings; and He Jiahong’s account of re-visiting the north-east where he was sent to work on a commune, and renewing old friendships.
    • To celebrate Liu Cixin and translator Ken Liu’s The Three Body Problem winning the prestigious Hugo scifi prize, we published The Thinkers by Liu, and An End of Days Story, by another well-known scifi writer Fei Dao. We linked End of Days to translator Alec Ash’s Q&A with Fei Dao on the Los Angeles Review of Books China blog here.
    • Disappeared persons and interrogations featured more than once in our stories, for example, Missing, and Snow, as well as in real-life.
    • Co-publications – an essential way of reaching other literary website’s readerships and mailing lists!

      • Shen Congwen/Canaan Morse’s The Young Couple was co-published with the Anthill.
      • Liu Qingbang/Rachel Henson’s Pigeon was co-published with China Dialogue.
      • Venus, a story from Taiwan, was co-published with Asymptote Journal, as part of their Translation Tuesday series. The story appeared simultaneously on RPR, and in Asymptote, and in The Guardian newspaper.


      • Working with the Writing Chinese Project at Leeds University, including two translation competitions, and
      • Video of literary event produced
      • A literary event at the Free Word Centre, Wanderlust series, March 2016, repeated in Leeds and Beijing. Called “speedbookclubbing”, each event offered readers four short stories in translation to read in advance. On the evening itself, each story was discussed in small groups led by the translators. The event was COMPLETELY SOLD OUT.
      • To follow up, we also posted a blog on the Free Word Centre website, in which the authors answered readers’ questions about their stories.
      • This formula worked so well that we have two more speedbookclubbing events in the pipeline, starting this autumn.

      To all you nice people out there, who have “liked” our Facebook posts and re-tweeted our Tweets, thank you, and keep posting!

      And our four editors (Eric Abrahamsen, Nicky Harman, Dave Haysom and Helen Wang) are also sharing news of Read Paper Republic via the China Fiction Book Club Twitter account (@cfbcuk), and Pathlight Magazine’s Twitter (@PathlightMag) and Facebook accounts.

      And thanks to Dongmei for posting on Wechat! (We’re on WeChat as PaperRepublic)