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

Sun Yisheng / Nicky Harman

Who is publishing Chinese literature in France?

return to translators resources

By Bertrand Mialaret

The French market has, compared to the Anglophone situation, some very specific features:

  • Prices for new books are fixed, discounts can only be given two years after the release of the book.
  • This helps to maintain an important network of independent bookshops.
  • Translations represent at least 15% of total sales and a higher percentage for literature compared with 3% in the US and the UK.

Three active publishers that specialise on Asia/China are a big asset:

  • Editions Philippe Picquier was created in 1986 and has published 900 titles of Asian literature. Philippe Picquier has been a strong supporter of Yan Lianke, Bi Feiyu, Su Tong, Wang Anyi and also Lao She. The current Chinese catalogue includes around 100 books.
  • Bleu de Chine specialises on China and was created by Genevieve Imbot-Bichet. The back list is important although not republished. Bleu de Chine is now a part of the major publisher Gallimard and issues around four titles per year.
  • You Feng has two bookshops in Paris, specialises on Asia and has a wide catalogue of published books, with no clear editorial strategy and with some translations of average quality.

Two major publishers have a strong interest in China, with a large backlist, excellent editorial quality and a clear strategy:

Other publishers have stopped with Chinese literature like Albin Michel, Christian Bourgois, Stock or have significantly decreased their involvement (Editions de l’Aube).

Editions de l’Olivier has been important in promoting young writers, unfortunately no new titles are coming.

Other publishers are “one shot” like Flammarion, Belfond, Calman-Levy…

Outside of our scope are the Chinese classics, but we should still mention Gallimard’s Connaissance de l’Orient which has published around thirty titles

The publisher «Les belles lettres» has recently started a bilingual publication of classics. This collection «Bibliothèque Chinoise» managed by Anne Cheng and Marc Kalinowski has published ten titles in two years.


Comments

# 2.   

Comment se fait-il que les Editions de l'Aube ne soient pas dans la liste?

marie-claude Cantournet-Jacquet, February 4, 2014, 9:49a.m.

# 3.   

(suite) en caractères gras ? D'accord avec vous pour leur "dicreasing involvement" but... ils sont encore vivants ! Voir ma traduction du chinois publiée par eux en septembre 2013 : Crime impuni aux monts Wuyi Un simple clin d'œil aux amateurs!

marie-claude Cantournet-Jacquet, February 4, 2014, 9:54a.m.

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