I Live in the Slums selected for Booker prize long list

I Live in the Slums, a collection of stories by Can Xue, has been selected for the International Booker Prize long list (https://thebookerprizes.com/international-booker/2021).

The stories were translated by Karen Gernant and Chen Zeping and published by Yale University Press in 2020. This translating duo has worked on a number of stories by Can Xue, including the recent small format collection Purple Perilla (isolarii.com). They describe their work in an online interview at Three Percent, although only part of the interview is accessible.

Wendy Larson

Statement of support for targeted academics

Below a new statement in support of all the scholars sanctioned by China, circulating as of this morning March 30. This one is truly international — Please sign.–Magnus Fiskesjö, nf42@cornell.edu

Dear All:

Members of the academic and research community are invited to express their solidarity with colleagues affected by the Chinese government’s recent sanctions by signing this statement. For questions about this statement, please contact solidarity.scholar@gmail.com

Please consider signing – thank you.

Newman Prize videos

Both the Newman Prize Award Ceremony and Symposium videos are now available online.

The Newman Prize Award Ceremony was held in person at Renmin University in early March and again online on March 19th in an event on zoom which included the acceptance speech of Yan Lianke as well as the nomination statement of Eric Abrahamsen and speeches by others.

The results of this year’s Newman Prize for English Jueju were also revealed and celebrated. Finally, the Newman Prize symposium can be viewed here: https://youtu.be/oRDRCR-prDg which featured a conversation about the winner’s work with leading experts on Yan Lianke: Shelley Chan, Howard Choy, Carlos Rojas, and Eric Abrahamsen, moderated by Zhu Ping and Hosted by Jonathan Stalling.

Westerners fear traveling to China

Source: CNN (3/9/21)
Westerners are increasingly scared of traveling to China as threat of detention rises
By Jenni Marsh, CNN


(CNN)Jeff Wasserstrom is a self-proclaimed China specialist who is seriously considering never returning to China — at least, he says, not while President Xi Jinping is in power.

The American professor, who for decades made multiple trips a year to China and was last there in 2018, hasn’t focused his career on Tibet or Taiwan — lightning-rod issues which attract Beijing’s ire at lightning-quick speed — but he has written about cultural diversity and student protests in mainland China, and appeared on panels with people he says the Communist Party is “clearly upset with.”

Three years ago, that made the California-based academic wonder if his visa application to China might be rejected.

Today, it makes him consider whether crossing the border risks his indefinite arbitrary detention. The chance of that outcome, Wasserstrom says, might be “pretty minimal,” but the consequences are so grave — those detained can be locked up for years without contact with their families or a trial date — he is not willing to gamble.

And he is not alone. Continue reading

Interview with Liu Cixin

Source: Chinese Literature Today (3/5/21)
Humanity, Crisis, and Changes: An Interview with Liu Cixin
[Originally published in Chinese at Kyodo News Beijing, March 1, 2021. click here for link to article]
By: Okuma Yuichiro
Translated by: John Broach

Liu Cixin, photo by Li Yibo

Okuma Yuichiro (hereafter referred to as OY): The Three-Body Problem tells a story about a female scientist who, having lost hope for humanity after her father’s death during the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976), initiates communications with aliens. Why did you choose the Cultural Revolution as the background of the story?

Liu Cixin (hereafter referred to as LCX): When conceiving this novel, I dove into modern Chinese history and looked for what can cause complete disillusionment with humanity. I found the Cultural Revolution. Even though the later Reform and Opening up have brought many challenges for Chinese people as well, none of those problems were enough to make someone lose hope in humanity and human civilization.  Things like the COVID-19 pandemic unsettle us, but they are insignificant when compared to the upheaval of the Cultural Revolution. I came of age during the Cultural Revolution, which has made me more sensitive than younger generations to possible future crises or disasters. The future catastrophes depicted in my novel are not entirely fantasies, but exist in my subconscious. Of course, I only searched in Chinese history, if I looked for the context of the novel in world history, I might have found other historical periods of similar gravity. Continue reading

Newman Prize award ceremony

Dear MCLC colleagues and friends,

I would like to invite you and your students to attend this year’s Newman Prize for Chinese Literature Award Ceremony and celebrate this year’s winner Yan Lianke with us.  The event starts at 7Pm on Friday, March 19th but pre-registration is required. See image below for information. The registration link is: https://BIT.LY/2NK0QUe.


Jonathan Stalling

2021 Newman Symposium featuring Yan Lianke

Dear Friends,

Please register for the 2021 Newman Symposium featuring Yan Lianke 阎连科 that will take place 8:00pm-9:30pm Eastern Time on March 18 (Thursday). We are excited to have four Yan Lianke scholars (Howard Choy, Shelley Chan, Eric Abrahamsen, and Carlos Rojas) to talk about the 7th Newman laureate from different perspectives.

Registration link: https://bit.ly/3ockrsN

Ping Zhu

Ordinary Days: A Memoir in Six Chapters review

Source: Taipei Times (2/4/21)
Book review: The internationalist writers
A mixture of literary references from different cultures and personal reminiscence makes this a fascinating book
By Bradley Winterton / Contributing reporter

Ordinary Days: A memoir in six chapters, by Leo Ou-fan Lee and Esther Yuk-ying Lee.

Leo Ou-fan Lee (李歐梵) is a professor emeritus at Hong Kong’s Chinese University, and Ordinary Days: A Memoir in Six Chapters is a record of his second, and current, marriage, written in conjunction with his wife Esther Yuk-ying Lee (李玉瑩). Both had been married before, and Leo was almost 60 when he finally married Esther in 2000.

The spirit of Taiwan is everywhere in this book. It’s essentially a series of reminiscences about their marriage by the two authors, but Leo, though born in China, studied at the National Taiwan University (NTU). His father lived in Taiwan and Leo returned to Taipei (one of many return visits) for his father’s funeral.

The book consciously echoes the 18th century memoir, Shen Fu’s (沈復) Six Records of a Floating Life (浮生六記, of which only 4 chapters survive). Another influence is Eileen Chang (張愛玲). Her famous tale Love in a Fallen City (傾城之戀) is re-used in this book as the title of Chapter 4. Continue reading

Paper Republic News #2

Source: Paper Republic (1/21/21)
Read all about it! – News #2
By Jack Hargreaves

Here it is, what you’ve all been waiting for, the definitive round-up of all things Chinese / literature / translation / everything in-between. It was brilliant after the first instalment to receive requests for newsletter subscription, which is definitely our aim — to have this drop in your inbox every two weeks — but for now it remains in its nascent form. If there’s anything you’d like to see more of, less of, just the right amount of, please comment below. If you’ve stumbled upon news we’ve missed, or on any stories or extracts (I’ve found zero (EDIT: two)), pop them in the comments too.

See you again in two weeks!

1. Acclaimed Chinese-language writer Yeng Pway Ngon 英培安 dies aged 73 — Author of Unrest (tr. Jeremy Tiang), Lonely Face (tr. Natascha Bruce) and much, much more. RIP.
2. Northwest Review open for submissions — they “really, really want to see as much translation as possible for Winter 2021!!” Continue reading

New editorial team

After more than twenty years as editor of MCLC, I will be stepping down this spring. In December of last year, the editorial board met via Zoom to discuss the relative merits of four proposals submitted by parties interested in taking over the editorship. It was a difficult decision, but in the end we chose a two-person editorial team–Natascha Gentz and Christopher Rosenmeier–of the University of Edinburgh. I am delighted to welcome them as the journal’s new editors.

The new editors will begin their duties with the fall 2021 issue. However, effective immediately, they will be overseeing the submission review process. All new submissions to the journal should be directed to the new editors and sent to the following email address: MCLC@ed.ac.uk. At least for the time being, I will continue on as manager of the MCLC Resource Center, running the MCLC LIST/BLOG and supervising book reviews and editing online publications.

Details about the journal’s future publisher and the handling of subscriptions still need to be worked out, but they should be finalized by the beginning of 2022. Printing, subscriptions, and distribution will remain the same until that time.

It has been my honor and pleasure to serve the field over the years. With Professors Gentz and Rosenmeier in charge, MCLC will be in good hands.

Kirk A. Denton
Editor, MCLC

Wu Fuhui dies at 82

Professor Wu Fuhui 吳福輝, a leading scholar of modern Chinese literature, passed away on January 15, 2021. He was 82. Wu was born in Shanghai in 1939 and grew up in Liaoning Province. He graduated from Peking University with a degree in Modern Chinese Literature in 1981. Wu’s research redefined the concept of “haipai wenxue” 海派文學 with a focus on the modernist writings by authors active in the 1920s-40s, such as Ye Lingfeng, Liu Na’ou, Mu Shiying, Shi Zhecun, Xu Xu, Wumingshi, and Eileen Chang. In the 1980s, Wu joined Qian Liqun, Wen Rumin, and Wang Chaobing to write and publish the landmark monograph, Three Decades of Modern Chinese Literature 中國現代文學三十年. He was the founding deputy director of the National Museum of Modern Chinese Literature. His latest publications includes A Cultural History of Modern Chinese Literature (Cambridge University Press, 2020). David Der-wei Wang wrote an introduction to this book, in which he presents the following overview of Wu’s life and work: Continue reading

Yeng Pway Ngon dies aged 73

Source: The Straits Times (1/12/21)
Acclaimed Chinese-language writer Yeng Pway Ngon dies aged 73
By Olivia Ho

Yeng Pway Ngon's work spanned genres, ranging across poetry, essays, plays and more.

Yeng Pway Ngon’s work spanned genres, ranging across poetry, essays, plays and more. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE – Yeng Pway Ngon, one of Singapore’s most eminent Chinese-language writers, died on Sunday (Jan 10) after a long battle with cancer.

The Cultural Medallion recipient and three-time Singapore Literature Prize winner was 16 days shy of his 74th birthday.

He wrote more than 20 works, including acclaimed novels such as Unrest (2002), Trivialities About Me And Myself (2006) and Art Studio (2011).

The latter two were selected by the journal Asia Weekly for its prestigious annual list of the 10 Best Chinese Novels in the World, alongside works by Nobel laureate Mo Yan and Yan Geling. Continue reading

Ezra Vogel 1930-2020

Source: Fairbank Center (12/21/20)
EZRA F. VOGEL 傅高义, 1930 – 2020

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our beloved former director, colleague and friend Ezra F. Vogel (1930-2020), Henry Ford II Professor of the Social Sciences, Emeritus, at Harvard University. He passed away on Sunday, December 20, 2020 at Mt Auburn Hospital in Cambridge, MA, at the age of 90, due to complications from surgery.

From 1973-1975, Professor Vogel served as the second director of the East Asian Research Center, which was founded in 1955 and later renamed the Fairbank Center in honor of its founding director, Professor John King Fairbank. Professor Vogel served as director again from 1995-99.

He graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University (B.A.) in 1950 and then Harvard University (Ph.D. Sociology) in 1958, after which he then spent two years conducting fieldwork in Japan. He was Assistant Professor at Yale University from 1960-61 and a post-doctoral fellow at Harvard University from 1961-64, studying Chinese language and history. He became a lecturer at Harvard in 1964 and a professor in 1967. Continue reading

Yan Lianke wins Newman Prize 2021

Source: University of Oklahoma (10/30/20)
Yan Lianke Wins 2021 Newman Prize for Chinese Literature

Chinese novelist Yan Lianke

An international jury has selected the Chinese novelist Yan Lianke as the winner of the seventh Newman Prize for Chinese Literature.

Sponsored by the University of Oklahoma Institute for US-China Issues in the David L. Boren College of International Studies, the Newman Prize is awarded biennially in recognition of outstanding achievement in prose or poetry that best captures the human condition, and is conferred solely on the basis of literary merit. Any living author writing in Chinese is eligible. A jury of five distinguished literary experts nominated the seven poets last spring and selected the winner in a transparent voting process on Oct. 9, 2020.

Yan Lianke will receive $10,000, a commemorative plaque and a bronze medallion. He will be celebrated at an online symposium and award ceremony held on the OU Norman campus March 4-5. Yan Lianke was nominated for the prize by Eric Abrahamsen of Paper Republic. Other nominees and jurors include Wu He (舞鶴), nominated by Andrea Bachner (Cornell University), Su Tong (苏童), nominated by Yunte Huang (UC–Santa Barbara), Xu Xiaobin (徐小斌), nominated by Chen Xiaoming (Beijing University) and Lung Yingtai (龍應台), nominated by Eileen Chow (Duke University). Continue reading