Tie Ning wins PEN Translates grant

Source: English Pen (8/22/23)
China’s premier female author Tie Ning wins PEN Translates grant from English Pen

The Buttonless Red Shirt (没有纽扣的红衬衫), her bestselling novella, will be translated from Chinese into English by Annelise Finegan and published by Sinoist Books.

Distinguished Chinese author Tie Ning (铁凝) has been honoured with the prestigious PEN Translates Grant from English PEN. The award underscores Tie Ning’s contribution to the global literary landscape and highlights the importance of bridging cultures through the power of words.

“These thirteen books are significant works of literature – individually, in their quality; and collectively, in how they help shift the UK literary landscape. We have major figures – International Booker-winning authors and translators – sitting alongside exciting debut voices, with stunningly experimental work. The range of language and region represented is remarkable, but so too is the range of form, readership, theme and style. We’re thrilled to support these books, and excited for English-language readers to be able to buy them and enjoy them.” – Will Forrester, Translation and International Manager at English PEN

With an impressive body of work that has captured the hearts of readers in her native China, Tie Ning is known for the exquisite way she renders everyday people, and the realism she imparts, especially with her female characters.
The Buttonless Red Shirt is one of Tie Ning’s earliest successes. It’s a semi-autobiographical novella that draws on the relationship between the author and her sister. The novella documents both characters maturing into their roles. It conveys delicate and vivid descriptions of their lives while preserving the beauty contained in the trivial every day. Continue reading

Leo Ou-fan Lee memoir

Prof. Leo Ou-fan Lee’s memoir, 𝑀𝑦 𝑇𝑤𝑒𝑛𝑡𝑖𝑒𝑡ℎ 𝐶𝑒𝑛𝑡𝑢𝑟𝑦: 𝐴 𝑀𝑒𝑚𝑜𝑖𝑟 𝑜𝑓 𝐿𝑒𝑜 𝑂𝑢-𝐹𝑎𝑛 𝐿𝑒𝑒, was published by The Chinese University of Hong Kong Press in July, 2023:


The English translation of the preface to this memoir was published by Cha: An Asian Literary Journal  and is available here:


Heidi Huang <heidihuang@ln.edu.hk>

Eulogy for Maureen Robertson

Eulogy for Dr. Maureen Robertson

Dr. Maureen Annette Robertson passed away on July 27 2023 in Stoughton, Wisconsin at the age of 87, in comfort and peace.

Dr. Robertson was a professor of Chinese and Comparative Literature at the University of Iowa from 1976 to 2017, and was one of the pre-eminent scholars of Chinese medieval women’s writing.  She inspired and trained a generation of women scholars in what she entered as an overwhelmingly male discipline, forging ties between literary translation, comparative literature, and feminism.  Her pathbreaking analytic work on identifying and magnifying women authors in the Ming and early Qing Dynasties – a period during which women were officially forbidden to be literate – was matched by the precise elegance and clarity of her translations; what one colleague called “her exacting words, a model of intellectual vigor and stylistic beauty.” She poured matchless energy into mentoring, and her advisees recall the tirelessness and generosity of the line-editing and compositional notes she provided, her house always open and her ear always ready.  Her work and her advisees stand as a formidable legacy, the more so because of the forces arrayed against women of her generation trying to establish a space and a voice in academia. Being a scholar, a mentor, and a writer was her passion and her deepest calling.

She earned her MA from Indiana University in 1960 and her PhD from the University of Washington in 1970 as a student of Dr. Hellmut Wilhelm.  Her dissertation was on the male T’ang poet Lǐ Hè (李贺), but during a year doing research in Taiwan in 1965 she was already laying the foundations for a life of work on women’s writing.  This was, her advisors assured her, empty and meaningless work, because it was well known that women didn’t write in medieval China.  Knowing this to be false, she nonetheless, in her own initial notes towards the very idea of exploring a literary thematics of gender, tentatively asked “of what interest is this topic?”.  Unsure and finding no external validation, she made her own.  By 1990, she was a senior figure in a small but prolific group of women researching the lives and writing of medieval women in China, who met that year at UCLA in the Colloquium on Poetry and Women’s Culture in Late Imperial China, and included Kang-i Sun Chang, Ellen Widmer, Dorothy Ko, and Susan Mann.  Over her long career, she directly advised nearly 50 graduate degrees and sat on over 150 graduate committees. Continue reading

Chinese Humanities 2033–cfp

Chinese Humanities 2033: New Visions, New Directions
Call for Projects

This conference invites Ph.D. candidates (ABDs), postdocs, and early-stage scholars working on any period to in-person panel sessions at Harvard University on October 6-7, 2023, to discuss what changes are happening in the field of Chinese humanities and where they are leading us. Though we may not be fully aware of the ways in which epistemic paradigms, theoretical frameworks, disciplinary boundaries, and academic job descriptions limit our imagination of what Chinese studies in the humanities can be, they should not keep us from envisioning what we would like to see or change in this field over the next 10 years. As Alvin Toffler says, “change is the process by which the future invades our lives.” “Chinese Humanities 2033” summons the future of Chinese humanities to invade its present. It is a conference about new visions and directions.

This conference both calls for daring anticipation of important topics, approaches, and directions of research for the next ten years, and seeks to foster a hospitable environment for research and creative projects that might not enjoy academic currency today or are struggling on various margins and frontiers. Questions we hope to address include: What are the yet-discussed phenomena, yet-developed approaches, and yet-discovered fields of studies of Chinese humanities? What are their interventions and how do they change the premises of our research today? How do they connect with conventional thinking and conventional subjects of research in new and exciting ways? Can Chinese humanities attract an even broader diversity of scholars? How to make/keep Chinese humanities legible and welcoming to those outside the field? Where will Chinese studies in the humanities be in ten years? How will we get there? We invite you to contribute your expertise to think through these questions with us. This is a conference about change both within academic disciplines and the Chinese cultural sphere. Continue reading

Pema Tseden dies at 53

Source: Variety (5/8/23)
Pema Tseden, Tibet New Wave Film Director, Dies at 53
By Patrick Frater

Getty Images.

Pema Tseden, the Tibetan art house film director known for “Jinpa” and “Balloon,” has died. He was 53.

It is understood that he was in Tibet when he died suddenly of an unspecified illness. Some unconfirmed Chinese-language media said that he had a heart attack.

The news was reported by the China Academy of Art, where he taught as a professor.

“Pema Tseden, a famous Tibetan director, screenwriter and professor at the Film School of the China Academy of Art, died in Tibet in the early hours of May 8 due to an acute illness. Due to the sudden incident, the school will work with Mr Tseden’s family to deal with the follow up matters. The relevant information will be announced in due course,” the Academy said in a statement. Continue reading

BCAS Prize for Best PhD Thesis

For those with a recent UK PhD, the British Association of Chinese Studies (BCAS) Prize for Best Doctoral Thesis on China – 2023. Upcoming Deadline.

The British Association of Chinese Studies invites nominations for the Best Doctoral Thesis Prize on China for 2023. Self-nominations are invited. To enter the prize competition, candidates need to email their documents to the Administrative Chair of the BACS Doctoral Thesis Prize Panel, Chris Berry, (chris.berry@kcl.ac.uk) by 15 April 2023.

For further information: https://bacsuk.org.uk/2021-bacs-best-doctoral-thesis-prize

Newman Prize in Chinese Literature 2023

The Newman Prize in Chinese Literature Symposium, which was held on March 2, can be viewed on Youtube here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mDyWPkAUUT8. It features Zhang Guixing 張貴興, the 2023 prize winner, reading from a new novel, and talks by Shu-mei Shih, E. K. Tan, and Carlos Rojas. The video starts at around minute 7:00.  The award ceremony, held yesterday, can be seen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oDRhiAjHntI. Speeches start at minute 41:40.

Soong Translation Studies Awards 2022-23

Stephen C. Soong Translation Studies Memorial Awards (2022–2023)
Call for Entries


Stephen C. Soong (1919–1996) was a prolific writer and translator as well as an active figure in the promotion of translation education and research. To commemorate his contributions in this field, the Stephen C. Soong Translation Studies Memorial Awards were set up in 1997 by the Research Centre for Translation, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, with a donation from the Soong family. They give recognition to academics who have made contributions to original research in Chinese Translation Studies, particularly in the use of first-hand materials for historical and cultural investigations.

Entry and Nomination

RCT invites Chinese scholars or research students in mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Macau or overseas regions to participate in the 25th Stephen C. Soong Translation Studies Memorial Awards (2022–2023). General regulations are as follows:

  • All Chinese scholars or research students affiliated to higher education/research institutes in mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Macau or overseas regions are eligible to apply.
  • Submitted articles must be written in either Chinese or English and published in a refereed journal within the calendar year 2022. Each candidate can enter up to two articles for the Awards. The publication date, title and volume/number of the journal in which the article(s) appeared must be provided.
  • Up to three articles are selected as winners each year. A certificate and a cheque of HK$3,000 will be awarded to each winning entry.
  • The adjudication committee, which consists of renowned scholars in Translation Studies from Greater China, will meet in June 2023. The results will be announced in July 2023 and winners will be notified individually.
  • Articles submitted will not be returned to the candidates.

Continue reading

The Sacred Marriage

Source: China Daily (2/20/23)
New novel explores challenges faced by urban elites in the new era
By Yang Yang

Shensheng Hunyin (The Sacred Marriage) by Xu Kun. [Photo provided to China Daily]

A new novel Shensheng Hunyin (The Sacred Marriage) by Xu Kun has been recently published by People’s Literature Publishing House.

Xu, with a broad vision and in a sharp writing style, directly addresses the dramatic and complicated changes that young people who return from overseas, outsiders coming to work in Beijing, intellectuals, and cadres who are sent on a temporary task are facing in a new era of the development of Chinese society.

Vivid personal experiences, powerful characterization, and heart-wrenching pain not only display Xu’s unique writing style of playfulness and irony, but also imparts the story with profound feelings.

“From narration to structure, from characterization to plotting, The Sacred Marriage shows the internal rhythm of the new era we are now existing in,” said Li Yan, general manager of China Publishing Group, at the book launch ceremony in Beijing.

“It displays the aesthetic characteristics of fiction in the new era, while exploring serious topics, using China’s traditional cultural value to examine the experiences and changes of urban elites, intellectuals and overseas returnees,” he said. Continue reading

Passing of a colleague at Bard

Dear Members of the MCLC Community,

It is with deep sadness that I write on behalf of the Asian Studies Program at Bard College to share the news of the passing of our esteemed colleague, Li-hua Ying, after a long battle with cancer. Li-hua was a gifted literary scholar, a masterful teacher, and a talented calligrapher. She founded and developed the Chinese Studies Program at Bard and was a cornerstone of our Asian Studies community for more than three decades. Generations of students came to know China through her generous guidance, which was always seasoned with her sharp wit and wry humor. We at Bard are all mourning the loss of our longtime colleague. An excerpt from Bard President Leon Botstein’s message to the college community is pasted below. Thank you for joining us in remembering Li-hua’s life and contributions to the study and teaching of Chinese language and literature.


Rob Culp <culp@bard.edu>
Professor of History & Asian Studies, Bard College Continue reading

Victor H. Mair: A Celebration

Invitation to Contribute to Tabula Gratulatoria for Professor Victor H. Mair’s 80th Birthday

Hundreds, if not thousands, of people have benefited from the kindness of Professor Victor H. Mair. Stories proliferate of him coming to the aid of others. Just a fraction of these stories of his generosity are being published in Victor H. Mair: A Celebration, edited by Neil Schmid and Diana Shuheng Zhang. As Victor Mair turns 80 on March 25, 2023, colleagues and students reflect, in reminiscences that range from touching to hilarious, on how he has impacted their lives. This collection includes essays from luminaries like Ronald Egan, Daniel Boucher, Valerie Hansen, Haun Saussy, Tansen Sen, and more. Together, the 38 essays show how Victor H. Mair has served as a selfless pioneer across disciplines, opening doors to all interested and providing a model of mentorship.

From the introduction of the book:

“Few people would ever imagine that behind the vast piles of overflowing books and papers in a small office on the eighth floor of Williams Hall on the University of Pennsylvania campus lies the epicenter of a complex network spanning immense reaches of space and time. That vast web, like the books and papers, has rapidly expanded over the decades, ever since Victor H. Mair’s arrival on Penn’s campus in 1979, his home now for more than forty years. Victor’s boundless curiosity, indefatigable energy, and proficient talents at making connections among disparate phenomena has resulted in hundreds of publications, numerous cooperative projects, and most importantly a rich network of students, colleagues, and friends. His research and interests span domains as far afield as Proto-Indo European linguistics, twentieth-century Chinese literature, and Warring States archaeology, the diversity of areas equally matched with fellow-minded colleagues and conversation partners around the world.”

Be Part of This Book: Please join us in honoring Professor Mair on his 80th birthday with a contribution of $80 toward the publication of this tribute. Your gift will place your name on the tabula gratulatoria, memorializing your part in this important celebration of Victor H. Mair.

To contribute to this publication and include your name, please do so by February 20  at http://cambriapress.com/VictorMair80.

Ben Goodman
Marketing Dept., Cambria Press

Association for Chinese Art History

I am happy to announce the call for membership in the Association for Chinese Art History (ACAH), a new home for scholars of Chinese art history to share news, events, and find their communities. ACAH is the result of a collaboration between the Association for Asian Studies and art historians Amy McNair, Kate Lingley, Roberta Wue, and myself; we are grateful for the support of the Bei Shan Tang Foundation 北山堂基金 and the Smithsonian Institution. Please visit our website and read the #AsiaNow blog post about the development of ACAH and its initiatives, and our meeting in conjunction at the Association for Asian Studies Annual Conference in Boston.

Faculty, students, museum staff, art world professionals, and independent scholars are warmly invited to join us in envisioning how this growing organization can best serve the needs and interests of scholars of Chinese art history by meeting the challenges of the present day and anticipating the opportunities of the future: developing new networks and collaborations across institutions, augmenting the pipeline for Chinese art history, increasing equitable access to resources, and more.

Please help spread the word by forwarding this announcement to your students and colleagues, networks, and listservs. Thank you!

All best wishes,

ACAH Board of Directors
Michelle C. Wang <mcw57@georgetown.edu>, Amy McNair, Kate Lingley, Roberta Wue, Shellen Wu

Xi Xi dies at 85

Source: SCMP (12/19/22)
Hong Kong author Xi Xi, often credited with putting city on literary map, dies aged 85
A prolific writer of fiction, poetry, non-fiction and screenplays, Xi Xi led a life that was ‘wonderful, happy and meaningful’, a publisher she co-founded said. Her imaginative writing often gave mundane events a fairy tale twist. She famously called Hong Kong a ‘floating city’ in 1984 when its return to China was sealed

A scene from “Women Like Us”, a chamber opera commissioned by the Hong Kong Arts Festival last year is based on two short stories by Xi Xi. Photo: Hong Kong Arts Festival

A scene from “Women Like Us”, a chamber opera commissioned by the Hong Kong Arts Festival last year is based on two short stories by Xi Xi. Photo: Hong Kong Arts Festival

Hong Kong author Xi Xi, whose whimsical tales became a defining portrait of a city transitioning away from British rule, died on Sunday, according to a publisher she co-founded. She was 85.

One of the most beloved names in Sinophone literature, she published more than 30 books of fiction, poetry, non-fiction and screenplays in a career spanning six decades.

She was often credited with putting Hong Kong on the map in the literary world.

Xi Xi died of heart failure at a Hong Kong hospital on Sunday morning surrounded by family and friends, publisher Plain Leaves Workshop said in a statement on Facebook. Continue reading

Paper Republic 16

Hello, hello, a happy autumn to one and all! (It’s my favourite season, can you tell?) (Sickening, right?)

It’s been a while since the last instalment of this here newsletter came out, and a lot has happened between those heady dog days of August and now, some of which you might have missed. So wherever there are recordings of events I’ve included them below. And of course, if there’s something that has happened in the world of Chinese lit over the past few months that isn’t below, please do send in the article or link and I’ll pop it in the list [website only].
The reason for this is, though you might have been waiting eagerly chewing at the bit for this issue to come out, it is nevertheless going to be the last one for a short while. Probably until early next year, in fact. We enjoy running the newsletter and putting it together, and there has been some lovely feedback about it as a resource, for which we thank you, but we need to rethink how to make it more readily sustainable and maintainable for those of us behind the scenes. In the meantime, a period of rest is in order (instead of a period of procrastination, which is what the last three months have been).

We hope you’ll stick around and stay subscribed for when the new issue drops into your inboxes come January or February, and if it happens that any of you have any interest in being part of running a newsletter for Chinese literature in translation on a voluntary basis, then be sure to get in touch. The same goes for if you have or know of any news that you think would fit the newsletter, now or anytime in the future; you can always email news AT paper-republic DOT org with anything Chinese-lit-related that you think worth sharing. If it’s urgent, and waiting until the next issue would mean missing out, we’ll post it straight onto the website and socials (Facebook, WeChat and Twitter for the time being). Continue reading