Paper Republic 9

Happy New Year everyone! We hope you’ve found time for rest, relaxation and recuperation over the festive period—a slowing down of things, if only briefly. And with another new year only just around the corner, this is a period of transitions, whether smooth or difficult, so here we are with very little segue, the first feature of 2022, a conversation between Eric and the editor of a number of books we were over the moon to see will be coming out in translation next year.

You can find the conversation beneath the news below, but before you start browsing, take note: tomorrow (Tuesday, Jan 10) marks the launch of a new collab, with Perspectives in the Arts and Humanities Asia—a special double issue on Nanjing literature & art, from which we’ll be publishing six new translations of work by Nanjing authors, including Han Dong, Su Tong and Cao Kou. So make sure to check the website every Tuesday over the next few weeks to catch the newest instalment in our Read Paper Republic series.

Extracts, stories and poems:

  • Read an excerpt from A History of Taiwan Literature by Ye Shitao, tr. Christopher Lupke, which recently won MLA’s Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Prize for a Translation of a Scholarly Study of Literature. And here listen to a podcast with the translator
  • Read two poems by Chen Xianfa, tr. Nancy Feng Liang and Martyen Cruefix, in the new issue of Exchanges
  • Enjoy Lantern, a poem by Fei Ming, tr. Yilin Wang
  • Browse The Willowherb Reviews‘s issue on Taiwanese Nature Writing in Translation
  • Jump into Sabina Knight’s run-down of China’s “minority fiction”. including an extract from a translation on Bruce Hume’s website
  • Read Andrea Lingenfelter’s take on the present and future of Hong Kong through the lens of new English translations of Hong Kong literature
  • Take a look back at the special South & Southeast Asia issue by Commonwealth Writers on adda
  • Catch this magnificent essay by translator and writer Yilin Wang on wuxia, its history, and the possibilities it offers writers
  • Read “The Nü Country” by Angie Sijun Lou
  • Read “Empire and Catastrophe” by Choo Yi Feng
  • One to refer back to, a list of the first 145 books covered by the Chinese Books for Young Readers blog
  • Read Dr. Astrid Møller-Olsen’s gushing review of Jeremy Tiang’s translation of Faraway by Lo Yi-Chin, in which she includes a link to Steve Bradbury’s rendering into English of the author’s story “The Body Transporter”

Events

  • Bristol Translates announces its 2022 dates, 4-8 July, with Nicky Harman running the Chinese strand. Registration opens soon
  • Keep your eyes peeled for the conference recording, “Non-Sinitic Literatures of the People’s Republic of China”, w/ translators Christopher Peacock and Joshua Freeman and more
  • PR&TA is open for submissions!

News:

  • Three Chinese translations are longlisted for PEN America Literary Awards. For poetry, Words as Grain by Duo Duo, tr. Lucas Klein, and I Name Him Me by Ma Yan, tr. Stephen Nashef, and for fiction, Faraway by Lo Yi-Chin, tr. Jeremy Tiang
  • Chinese & Korean fantasy platform Wuxiaworld joins the Kakao family in an acquisition for $37.5 million
  • Yan Ge is on the selection panel for the next Laureate for Irish Fiction
  • Liang Hong and Esther Tyldesley win a PEN Translates award for The Sacred Clan, to be published by ACA Publishing
  • MXTX becomes triple New York Times best selling author in one week with Seven Seas debut of Danmei Novels
  • Check out The Paper‘s recommendations for Chinese works to look out for in 2022 (in Chinese), including books by Liu Liangcheng, Can Xue, Ye Zhaoyan and more
  • The mystery is solved! Sort of… F.B.I. arrests man accused of stealing unpublished book manuscripts, who happens to have translated Rao Pingru’s Our Story into Italian. But why was he doing it…?
  • Visible Communities Residencies for UK-based Black, Asian and Ethnically Diverse literary translators at the National Centre for Writing
  • Jeremy Tiang is delving into the world of children’s literature, with Kailin Duan’s picture book Nine Color Deer

Reviews and releases:

  • Distant Sunflower Fields by Li Juan, tr. Christopher Payne, makes author ‘s Rónán Hession favourite books of 2021
  • A Kirkus review of The Artisans by Shen Fuyu, tr. Jeremy Tiang
  • Words Without Borders staff name Yan Ge’s Strange Beasts of China, tr. Jeremy Tiang, and Ta-wei Chi’s The Membranes, tr. Ari Larissa Heinrich, as two of the best translated books of 2021
  • Books and Bao choose Whisper by Chang Yu-Ko, tr. Roddy Flagg, as their favourite translated book of 2021
  • SAND Journal‘s latest issue contains Jacqueline Leung’s translation of Hon Lai-chu’s “Fog”
  • World Literature Today on Purple Perilla by Can Xue
  • Translator and poet Lucas Klein reviews Translating Early Modern China: Illegible Cities by Carla Nappi
  • Wild China on the 10 Best Books on China in 2021
  • A review of Whisper by Chang Yu-Ko, tr. Roddy Flagg, and another here
  • And here’s a review of The Wedding Party by Liu Xinwu, tr. Jeremy Tiang
  • LitHub’s most anticipated books of 2022 includes Rouge Street: Three Novellas by Shuang Xuetao, tr. Jeremy Tiang
  • Translator Shelly Bryant shares her translated titles of interest
  • Find out which China-related books are on Vulture’s list of most anticipated books for 2022, and which new release is WWB most looking forward to
  • Book Riot recommends How I Survived a Chinese “Reeducation” Camp: a Uyghur Woman’s Story by Gulbahar Haitiwaji and Rozenn Morgat, tr. Edward Gauvin
  • Another review of The Wedding Party by Liu Xinwu, tr. Jeremy Tiang

Media:

  • Catch this conversation with The Artisans author, Shen Fuyu
  • An interview with Ge Fei translator Canaan Morse at his alma mater
  • Check out a translation diary by Arabic translator, Sawad Hussain, for insights into the craft
  • An important piece on bridge translations or “the colonial phenomenon of rendition as translation”
  • If you liked our chat with former ALTA mentee, Jenna Tang, here is a conversation on WWB she had with her erstwhile mentor, Mike Fu
  • A sneak peek behind the scenes at how Sinoist Books make the bookmarks that come as part of their subscription
  • New TrChFic episode with Ge Fei’s Turkish and Finnish translators

We were very excited to hear of the upcoming Han Song publication from Amazon Crossing. While the book is a ways out from publication yet, we thought it would be interesting to talk to Gabriella Page-Fort, Editorial Director of Amazon Crossing, who acquired the title, and ask her a few quick questions about how and why she picked it up. Now we’re looking forward to it even more!

Can you tell us a bit about how this book first came to you? What about its initial presentation first piqued your interest?

I’ve been looking for a book with Jennifer Lyons at the Jennifer Lyons Agency for years – we’ve enjoyed a long tradition of Absolute Bagels at her book-lined Upper West Side apartment – and when she reached out to me about HOSPITAL I knew instantly this was the one. I’ve been reading science fiction from around the world my whole career but I’ve only acquired a few books in the category – so many of my favorite submissions are simply “too weird” by American genre standards. But the world is changing before our very eyes. The huge US response to PARASITE put a lid on my fear of the weird and in fact I was actually seeking it out. And when Jennifer pitched me this series I happened to be going through some health problems so the hospital setting and extreme depiction of the health care system really spoke to me. What brings us together across differences better than the humiliating health care system mocking our mortality?

We’ve always felt that Han Song is in a category of his own when it comes to Chinese sci-fi. He’s got some of the “hard sci-fi” aspects of writers like Liu Cixin, but also a lot of the immediate social commentary of the younger generation of “near future” authors of the genre. And, mixed in with that, a real darkness, or weirdness, of his own. How do you see him fitting in with other Chinese sci-fi available in English?

I’m a huge Liu Cixin fan, both of his work and his impact on American publishing as the first author in translation to win a Hugo Award. He’s paved the way for English readers to engage with social commentary about contemporary China on an entertainment level – and proven to the industry that translations are welcomed by sci-fi readers. But as Han Song himself told me, their books are not direct “comps,” as we would say in publishing. Han Song weaves in a stabilizing sense of normalcy that leaves me doubting nothing, making his universe wholly believable even as it contorts before my very eyes, leaping further from my lived experience with every page without ever losing that strong connection. You have to get deep into HOSPITAL (literally, deep under the earth where he descends into the labyrinth for care) before you start to wonder if there’s something fishy going on here. So we’re acclimating to this world in real time along with our protagonist, and we take the increasing alienation personally. I think Chinese sci-fi is a thing – readers will see social commentary as the connection between Liu Cixin and Han Song. Both are exquisitely subtle and truly funny, in an all-too-real-but-too-horrible-to-accept way.

Can you share something you like from the book: a particular scene, or a character, something that has stuck with you after reading?

The peacocks!! Their mysterious cage, their connection to Hinduism, the way they become a symbol of subversion and defiance for the medical-punks. From the moment we first spot the iron cage, the metaphor locks into place around us. “I stood there wondering if this hospital was closer to a zoo or a Buddhist temple.” The novel is both, magnificently so, and I can’t wait to continue the series and feel what life is like on Mars – it really can’t feel weirder than the hospital!

Thank you for your time and answers, Gabriella, and thanks to you, Michael Berry and Amazon Crossing for bringing such a brilliant series into English!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *