Members of the Choir of King’s College, Cambridge perform under the baton of Stephen Cleobury, music director and conductor of the choir. [Photo provided to China Daily]
A new music video for the song Second Farewell to Cambridge, adapted from Chinese poet Xu Zhimo’s famous composition, has been released by the King’s College Record Label to mark Lunar New Year.
It was shot on location at King’s College, Cambridge, the place Xu portrayed in his poem, which was set to music by English composer John Rutter in the summer of 2018. It was performed by the Choir of King’s College, Cambridge, under the baton of Stephen Cleobury, music director of the choir and features a performance by Chinese tenor Wang Bo. Continue reading →
20 years ago I wrote my first Chinese poem.
It was in Chongqing. “Wanbao, wanbao!”
That’s what they cry, all over China. Every afternoon.
“Evening news, evening news!”
Evening paper, every town has one.
Some have morning papers, those are called Zaobao,
most of them.
“Get your evening paper!”
Anyway, “wanbao, wanbao!”
could mean late retribution. Bào, what comes back, gets back,
a report. Wan, late. Zao, early. Continue reading →
Translator and bloggerBruce Humes has worked to advance global interest in borderland fiction from China, often spotlighting voices from Altaic cultural perspectives. This work began with his English translation of Last Quarter of the Moon by Chi Zijian, a novel about the Tungusic-speaking Evenki.
Earlier in his career, Humes translated literature reflecting China’s mainstream urban culture. His work on the novel Shanghai Baby by Wei Hui, published in English in 2001 and a bestseller in Hong Kong and Singapore, is a notable example. The original novel was banned in the People’s Republic of China not simply for what was then considered its shockingly bold depictions of sexual acts, but because Hui was the first female author to unabashedly detail the protagonist’s experience—orgasms and all—from the woman’s point of view. Continue reading →
Yang Hengjun in San Diego in 2012. Credit: Weican Meng
SYDNEY, Australia — A well-known writer and former Chinese official with Australian citizenship flew from New York to China on Friday despite warnings from friends who told him it was too dangerous.
Now, he is missing and appears to have been detained by the Chinese authorities.
The writer, Yang Hengjun, did not answer his Chinese cellphone despite repeated attempts to reach him on Tuesday and Wednesday. Nor did he answer messages on WeChat, the popular Chinese social media service. Continue reading →
The science fiction writer Han Song just published a review of The Wandering Earth (the movie). It is a positive review of the film, while it also emphasizes the apocalyptical vision the film shows. The Wandering Earth, directed by Guo Fan and produced by Liu Cixin the author himself, will be released to theaters on the Lunar New Year.–Mingwei Song <email@example.com>
Newman Award for English Jueju/Writing Chinese Regulated Verse in English
Dear MCLC Literati,
Greetings from the University of Oklahoma! Now in its 8th year, the Newman Prize for English Jueju is again open for submissions. The window will remain open until March 1, 2019. The $500 prize is awarded in four categories: Three within the state of Oklahoma (elementary, middle, and high school) and one category for adult poets (college and adult) submitting poems from any location. For over 22 years, I have taught this form of poetry both within creative writing classes as well as in courses on Chinese literature and poetics in the belief that the best way (if not the only way) to learn about regulated verse is to learn to write it. Please keep in mind that the teaching video and game materials are a part of an evolving project, and one that has been created primarily for the purpose of general public education (elementary-high school teachers) and not for Classical Chinese poetics or phonology scholars. Still I have found this approach to teaching Chinese poetics exceptionally useful on a number of levels and hope that you and your students will find this project equally engaging and potentially enriching. The competition aspect of the project is meant to connect regulated verse culture, the rime table tradition, and the examination system so that poetics can be explored within the nexus of aesthetics, phonology/linguistics, cosmology/poetics and social/ideological forces. Therefore, I would encourage you and/or your students to participate in the competition for its full pedagogical potential, but the materials will remain in place as a teaching resource. College-age and adult poets must submit their poems to firstname.lastname@example.org by the deadline (March 1) along with the following information: Name, School, and Contact information. All entries are judged blindly and winners are contacted by March 3, 2019.
For winners not in the state, you will receive your prize money and certificate by mail. Your winning poem will be read at the Newman Prize Ceremony from 6-9pm on March 8, 2019 alongside the celebration of this year’s Newman Prize for Chinese Literature winner, Xi Xi! To learn how to write the English Jueju, please visit the website below:
“Science fiction is as rare as unicorn horns, which shows in a way the intellectual poverty of our times”, wrote Lu Xun, one of China’s most towering and revered literary figures, writing about science fiction literature in China in his preface to his 1903 translation of Jules Verne’s From the Earth to the Moon.
116 years later, science fiction in – and from – the People’s Republic of China has come a long way since then, to become what is arguably the most popular genre of literature in China and with translations of Chinese science fiction picking up pace and finding a ready and eager audience – to the extent that some have even referred to it China’s greatest cultural export since kung fu – one can safely say that Chinese SF’s journey to the west (and elsewhere) has only just begun, with its star showing no signs of diminishing. But it wasn’t always so. Continue reading →
Dear Ijeawele is a forthright and frank book, a 15-step letter about how to raise a feminist child. But when it’s published in China around April this year, it will garner its author, the celebrated Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, a new status: becoming one of few African writers whose body of work has mostly, if not all, been translated to Chinese.
“By far the hottest African writer among Chinese fans today is Nigeria’s Adichie,” says Bruce Humes, an American linguist and Chinese literary translator. For years now, Humes has compiled a bilingual list of contemporary African fiction published in Chinese since the 1980s, putting together a list of novels, poetry, drama, and short story collections available to readers in mainland China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. Humes, who has lived and worked across China since the late 70s, has so far identified 146 translated works from 66 African authors. Continue reading →
A gem of Uighur literature: Alat Asem’s ‘Confessions of a Jade Lord
In 2013, Uighur novelist Alat Asem published ‘Confessions of a Jade Lord,’ earning the Jun Ma Literature Prize, and a translation into English in 2018. As vice-chair of the Xinjiang Writers Association, Asem, who was born in Xinjiang in 1958, has an ear for preservation in the midst of cultural endangerment
On March 13, 2013, Alat Asem, author of 11 novels and seven collections of short stories, dated the last page of his book, “Confessions of a Jade Lord.” The year began bitterly when Amnesty International reported the death of his colleague, fellow Uighur writer Nurmemet Yasin. In the wake of the 2009 Urumqi riots, the harsh climate in the westernmost Chinese region of Xinjiang continues to worsen for its indigenous peoples. Dark clouds drift in from Beijing, the seat of government in the People’s Republic of China, where the ethnic Han majority rules over 1.3 billion people uncontested. Among the country’s 55 recognized minorities, the Uighur people of Xinjiang are targeted for practicing Islam in the midst of the territorial bids and geopolitical crises that afflict Central Asia. Continue reading →
Li Bai towers over Chinese literature. But few have attempted, in English, to explain the man behind such household poems as “Quiet Night Thoughts,” “Waking from Drunkenness on a Spring Day,” and “Drinking Alone by Moonlight” — how an itinerant drunk with political aspirations would end up becoming the greatest poet in Chinese history.
Li Bai (701-762), also known as Li Bo or Li Po, was a poet during China’s Tang Dynasty (618-907), amassing a legacy over his lifetime that would be surpassed by none. Yet few outside of the Chinese-speaking world know his name. Luckily, that may be about to change. Xuefei Jin (pen name Ha Jin), a National Book Award recipient (for Waiting) and creative writing professor at Boston University, has written a new biography of Li Bai called The Banished Immortal: A Life of Li Bai, which is available through Pantheon Press as of yesterday. His work gives the English-reading world access to a wealth of information about one of China’s greatest cultural icons, someone as revered as Shakespeare is in the West.
Ha Jin’s is not the first English-language biography of Li Bai. Sinologist Arthur Waley wrote The Poetry and Career of Li Po in 1950, and Jin cites from this book as well as from multiple other biographical accounts of Li Bai written in Chinese. Although I was not able to obtain Waley’s book, if the paper on Li Bai he presented to the China Society of London’s School of Oriental Studies in 1918, available freely online, is any indication, Jin’s biography is a much-needed English-language update on Li Bai’s life and legacy for the 21st century. Waley gives only a brief account of Li Bai’s life before devoting much of the rest of the book to translating his poetry. Jin’s book, on the other hand, is a 292-page, detailed account of Li Bai’s life from his birth to his death, interspersed with translations of his poetry throughout. Secondly, Waley is critical of Li Bai’s talent as a poet and patronizing toward his status in Chinese society. He even goes so far as to comment that Western scholars would never have selected Li Bai as one of China’s greatest poets, dismissing outright the popular opinions of Chinese scholars as though they do not matter. Continue reading →
I’m pleased to announce that my translation of The Handsome Monk and Other Stories, by Tsering Döndrup, is now available, published by Columbia University Press.
Tsering Döndrup is a Mongolian-Tibetan author from Amdo (Qinghai Province). He is one of the most popular and acclaimed authors writing in Tibetan today, and is renowned for his humorous and penetrating critiques of contemporary Tibetan society. Of particular interest will be the manner in which he treats the experiences of Tibetans in modern China, including the major impact of Chinese on the modern Tibetan language.
Here is the link to the publisher’s page. There is a 30% discount with the code CUP30:
MCLC and MCLC Resource Center are pleased to announce publication of Yanshuo Zhang’s review of Mystifying China’s Southwest Ethnic Borderlands: Harmonious Heterotopia (Lexington 2018), by Yuqing Yang. The review appears below and at its online home: http://u.osu.edu/mclc/book-reviews/yanshuo-zhang/. My thanks to Nicholas Kaldis, MCLC literary studies book review editor, for ushering the review to publication.
In Chinese literary scholarship in the U.S., the literary and cultural achievements made by China’s ethnic minority groups (shaoshu minzu 少数民族) remain a largely uncharted territory in clear need of more serious investigation. Some recent scholarship on ethnic minority literatures in China includes Mark Bender’s edited ethnic poetry anthology The Borderlands of Asia: Culture, Place, Poetry (Cambria Press 2017) and the chapters on Tibetan literature and the ethnic concerns of the prominent modern writer Lao She (老舍) in Sinophone Studies: A Critical Reader (Columbia University Press 2013).
Despite the wonderful insights on minority literatures developed in these studies, single-authored monographs on non-Han literatures are severely lacking in our field, and Chinese literary studies in the U.S. as a whole seems to be dominated by a Han-focused perspective. Yuqing Yang’s 2018 monograph, Mystifying China’s Southwest Ethnic Borderlands: Harmonious Heterotopia contributes to enriching the research on Chinese shaoshu minzuliteratures. An ethnic Bai scholar trained at the University of Oregon and currently teaching at Minzu University of China, Yang charts the cultural myths and fantasies surrounding three minority regions in southwest China, revealing an entanglement between representation and reality—“textual and extratextual formats”—in the making of the Bai, Mosuo, and Tibetan identities in reform-era China (227). Continue reading →
Elites from the world of literature and fans nationwide have been paying tribute to novelist Ling Jiefang, better known by his pen name Eryue He, who died on Saturday morning at age 73.
Ling, who was dean of the College of Liberal Arts at Zhengzhou University in Henan province, was best known for his Emperor series, which was released between 1989 and 1996, and consists of 5 million characters.
After his death, fans shared a couplet－a traditional form of two-line poetry－that includes the line, “Er yue he kai ling jie fang”, which translates as “The Yellow River’s frozen surface breaks in February, the ice is liberated.”
The poem, which quickly went viral, cleverly combines the author’s birth name and pen name. Continue reading →
This year, SupChina launched a new weekly column called “Chinese Corner,” where we introduce and review interesting nonfiction writing from the Chinese internet. A little more than six months into its existence, we’ve built a solid collection of impressive investigative pieces, thought-provoking commentaries, and emotion-filled personal essays that chronicle some of the biggest events in 2018 and illuminate how the public reacted to them.
We’ve selected our favorite articles from the past six months and broken them down into categories. Just scrolling through the topics provides a good sense of what Chinese people read and discussed in 2018 (sometimes quite different from what overseas media focus on — though this generally applies more to educated, middle-class Chinese). If you read Chinese yourself, we think these are among the most interesting essays from the past year to help you understand what is on the Chinese public’s mind heading into 2019.
Best profile writing:
The “Chinese medicine god” who is in doubt 令人生疑的“中国药神”
Diagnosed with leukemia, Lu Yong 陆勇 ditched his job, bankrupted himself, and became a drug smuggler. This summer, his legendary tale was told in the hit movie Dying to Survive (我不是药神 wǒ bùshì yào shén). But his real-life story is way more complicated than what’s shown on the big screen.
靳锦 | GQ报道 | July 5, 2018