African literature wave in China

Source: Quartz Africa (1/15/19)
Chimamanda Adichie is leading the rise of an African literature wave in China
By Abdi Latif Dahir

An African “literary icon” arrives in China

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

Confession of a Jade Lord

Source: Daily Sabah (1/4/19)
A gem of Uighur literature: Alat Asem’s ‘Confessions of a Jade Lord’

A gem of Uighur literature: Alat Asem's ‘Confessions of a Jade Lord'

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

The Handsome Monk

Dear Colleagues,

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:

The distributor in the UK, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia is John Wiley & Sons (, and Footprint Books in Australia and New Zealand (


Christopher Peacock <>

Yesterday’s stray dog becomes today’s guard dog

Source: China Heritage (1/4/19)
Yesterday’s Stray Dog 喪家狗, Today’s Guard Dog 看門狗
Dog Days (VIII)

This latest addition to Dog Days — a series of canine-themed articles, essays, translations and art works marking The Year of the Dog (16 February 2018—4 February 2019) — takes as its theme China’s most famous ‘stray dog’ 喪家狗, the pre-Qin thinker and latter-day Sage, Confucius. In it, the irrepressible thinker, critic and essayist Liu Xiaobo 劉曉波 reviews the controversy surrounding Peking University professor Li Ling’s 2007 book, Stray Dog: Reading ‘The Analects’ 李零著《喪家狗——我讀論語》. Continuing his two-decade-long critique of the intellectual world, Liu then discusses the history and fate of China’s intellectuals as Homeless Dogs, Guard Dogs, Lap Dogs, Whipping Dogs and even Running Dogs.

Liu’s observations on State Confucianism, as well as on the benighted state of China’s intelligentsia, are even more relevant today, in 2019, than when he made them in 2007.

Acknowledgements: The following translation is taken from Liu Xiaobo, No Enemies, No Hatred: Selected Essays and Poems, edited by Perry Link, Tienchi Martin-Liao and Liu Xia, Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2012, pp.188-200. We are grateful to Perry Link and Lindsay Waters for supporting our request to reprint this essay and to The Belknap Press for their kind permission. (The typographical style of the original has been retained.)

Yesterday’s Stray Dog Becomes Today’s Guard Dog
Liu Xiaobo
translated by Thomas E. Moran

Chinese people are talking excitedly these days about the rise of China as a great nation. First we spoke of an economic rise, then a cultural rise; we started spreading money around the globe, then exported soft power. There have been fads for reading the classics, for honoring the memory of Confucius, and for promoting Confucian ethics. China Central Television (CCTV), pressing to reestablish an orthodoxy in China, has used its program Lecture Hall to touch off a fad for reading The Analects. The government has put big money into “Confucius Institutes” around the world in an effort to spread soft power. The dream of ruling “all under heaven,” repressed for a century or more, is now resurgent and is taking Confucius the sage as its unifying force. The craze for Confucius grows ever more fierce. Continue reading

Afro-Lit in Chinese translation

Source: (12/19/18)
2018 Round-up: AfroLit in Chinese Translation
By Bruce Humes

What a difference a year makes.

In 2017, readers in mainland China keen to experiment and read newly translated novels from Africa could choose from just 8 titles, all translated from English or French, and weighted in favor of high-profile “diaspora” authors writing from abroad, such as Chimamanda Adichie and Alain Mabanckou. And 3 of those books were written by Nigerians.

Mia Couto’s “Terra Sonâmbula”: One of several Lusophone novels to be rendered in Chinese within 2018.

As 2018 comes to an end, according to the bilingual database African Writing in Chinese Translation, there are 143 titles dating from the sixties through today — mainly novels, but including short story and poetry collections — from which to choose.

The 2018 batch of new titles — 13 in all — looks rather more varied. To wit:

  • The majority were penned in Portuguese or Arabic
  • Four of the authors hail from Lusophone countries (Angola, Mozambique), three from countries bordering on the Mediterranean, and the others are natives of sub-Saharan Africa (Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa)
  • Novels, short stories and drama are all represented

Continue reading

Ma Jian finds echoes of Mao and Orwell

Source: NYT (12/14/18)
A Dissident Chinese Novelist Finds Echoes of Mao, and Orwell
By Mike Ives

“Only in literature can we fully express the injustices of society, the extremes of human nature and our hopes for a beautiful future,” said Ma Jian while he was in Hong Kong for the annual literary festival. CreditCreditLam Yik Fei for The New York Times

HONG KONG — Ma Jian, an exiled Chinese novelist who lives in London, took the stage at a packed Hong Kong theater last month and asked the audience a question: Who among them had read “1984”?

Mr. Ma, 65, was at the annual Hong Kong International Literary Festival to promote “China Dream,” his satirical novel about President Xi Jinping’s eponymous domestic propaganda campaign. He told the crowd that the book, published last month in English (Counterpoint will offer it in the United States in May 2019), showed how the dystopian future that George Orwell’s fiction once warned about had become a reality in the Chinese mainland under Mr. Xi’s leadership. Continue reading

The April 3rd Incident review

Source: SCMP (11/29/18)
Yu Hua’s short stories portray disturbing personal and political realities of modern China
The April 3rd incident cements the Chinese author’s position as a literary enfant terrible, mixing techniques and times to weave narratives that are more fantasy than fiction
By James Kidd

The April 3rd Incident
by Yu Hua
[Translated by Allan H. Barr]

The April 3rd Incident collects recent short stories by China’s literary enfant terrible.

Yu Hua’s reputation owes much to his experiments with avant-garde techniques (sudden leaps in time or perspective, unholy clashes of comedy and tragedy), his relish of violence and the scatological (toilets both sumptuous and rudimentary proliferate in his inter­national breakthrough, Brothers, 2005), and how such devices drive the political intent of his writing: the jagged edges of Yu’s fiction reflect “realities of modern Chinese society [that] are even more fantastical than fiction”. Continue reading

Book translations 2018

The Paper Republic folk have come up with their end-of-year list again and it’s a bumper one: thirty novels or other book-length works ranging from classics to contemporary literature, scifi to short stories, and a beautiful graphic memoir (Rao Pingru), as well as six poetry collections and assorted children’s and YA books.And some of last year’s books have won or been listed for prestigious prizes: Remains of Life by Wu He, tr. Michael Berry (Columbia University Press), 2017, was shortlisted for the Best Translated Book Award 2018. Notes of a Crocodile, Qiu Miaojin, tr. Bonnie Huie (New York Review Books), was longlisted for the 2018 PEN Translation Prize and won the 2018 Lucien Stryk Asian Translation Prize.The Stolen Bicycle, by Wu Ming-yi, tr. Darryl Sterk (Text Publishing Company), was longlisted for The Man Booker International Prize.

Click Roll-call of Book Translations from Chinese in 2018 for the full list.

many thanks,

Nicky Harman <>

Hang Seng University MA programmes

Hang Seng Management College has just been granted university status by the Government of Hong Kong SAR. Now we are The Hang Seng University of Hong Kong. The Translation School has two MA Programmes on offer, one new, one not so new. The CAT MA should be of interest to sinologists.

Two MA Programmes in Translation Offered by the Hang Seng University of Hong Kong

Master of Arts in Translation (Computer-aided Translation) (MA-TCAT)

This programme offers systematic training in computer-aided translation (CAT) and state-of-the-art translation technology in the era of AI and big data. The programme aims to equip students with the knowledge and skills they need to excel in their careers in the language and translation industries. Students get first-hand experience in a wide range of professional tools, including automatic translation systems, translation memories, terminology databases, and integrated translation platforms. They learn how to apply CAT skills to specialised translation projects across domains (e.g., science, business, medicine and law) and professional language services, including collaborative translation, web localisation, bilingual copywriting and editing, and digital marketing. Continue reading

Ball Lightning

Source: China Daily (10/26/18)
The science of a good story
By Mei Jia

The English version of Liu Cixin’s Ball Lightning hits the global book market in August.[Photo provided to China Daily]

Two months after the English version of Ball Lightning hit the international book market in August, sci-fi writer Liu Cixin headed for the 2018 Frankfurt Book Fair in Germany.

There, following the book fair, Liu met with fans and gave talks and interviews at a university, in an old coal mine and several more venues across four German cities over the course of a week. According to local reports, he was received enthusiastically, as the second book of his Three Body trilogy, The Dark Forest, was still hot off the presses after its German-language release.

This time, however, as well as his critically acclaimed trilogy, Liu is armed with another recently translated novel-a story about tragedy, obsession and cutting-edge weapons.

The story begins on Chen’s 14th birthday, when his parents are killed in front of him, turned to ash after being hit by ball lightning.

Chen makes it his life’s mission to uncover the mysteries of the natural phenomenon in college, trying to figure out the mathematical pattern behind its random occurrence and movements. Continue reading

Looking for translator for Wa Lan’s poetry


The mainland Chinese poet Wa Lan (born in Sichuan; approx 55-60 years old) is interested in finding someone who would be willing to translate his poetry into English. I cannot take on the task myself, and I do not wish to recommend people to him without their knowledge or consent.

If anyone is interested in translating this contemporary poet, please contact me directly and I will put you in touch with him.

Christopher Lupke <>
University of Alberta

LARB China Channel translations

A series of four translations of long creative non-fiction essays that first appeared in Chinese in OWMagazine 单读, have been published over the last few weeks on the LARB China Channel, translated in collaboration with Read Paper Republic.

(1) “Three Sketches of Peter Hessler”, by Wu Qi, tr Luisetta Mudie (14 Sept)
(2) “The Spices of Life”, by Yan Ge, tr Poppy Toland (21 Sept)
(3) “Letter to My Mother”, by Ou Ning, tr Nicky Harman (28 Sept)
(4) “Small Town”, by Li Jingrui, tr Helen Wang (5 Oct)

Helen Wang <>

Deng Yuwen essay translated into English

Deng Yuwen 邓聿文’s essay, “中共速朽论和习近平无能论为何是错的,” which was discussed in an earlier MCLC posting, has been translated into English as: “Why the Theories That the Party Is Rapidly Decaying and That Xi Jinping is Incompetent Are Wrong.” It is available as a pdf download on China Matters:


October Dedications review

Source: HKR Books (9/20/18)
Marija Todorova reviews Mang Ke’s poetry collection and considers the significant role played by translators in such projects.

Mang Ke, October Dedications, trans. Lucas Klein, Huang Yibing and Jonathan Stalling (Zephyr Press, 2018), 131pp.

October Dedications

Published under the title October Dedications, this selection of Mang Ke’s poems is arguably one of the most important titles published so far in the Zephyr Press Jintian series of Chinese poetry. The mission of Zephyr Press is to publish “outstanding literature from around the world, and it  seeks to foster understanding of other languages and literary traditions through the twin arts of poetry and literary translation.” The Jintian series, which is published bilingually on facing pages, includes some of the most well known poets in their respective countries, with the majority of translated titles being the first books to appear in English by these authors. The whole series carries the name of the underground literary journal Jintian (Today) – the first unofficial literary journal published in the People’s Republic of China, a journal established by Mang Ke together with Bei Dao. Continue reading

An Anthology of Twenty-First-Century Chinese SF

Dear List Members,

We are happy to announce the publication of The Reincarnated Giant: An Anthology of Twenty-First-Century Chinese Science Fiction by Columbia University Press. Theodore Huters and I spent years working on this project, together with a group of excellent translators and scholars. The CUP webpage for the book is here:

The anthology features some of the most important works by science fiction writers Liu Cixin, Han Song, Chen Qiufan, Egoyan Zheng, Chi Hui, Xia Jia, as well as by writers experimenting with science fiction motifs and elements, such as Lo Yi-chin, and Dung Kai-cheung.

We are most grateful to our contributors, translators, editors, and so many people who have helped us work on this project. Thank you!

Mingwei Song <> and Theodore Huters