Reviewing Chinese-language literature in translation for Writing Chinese (@WritingChinese)


One cannot work as a Chinese-English/English-Chinese translator without knowing something about the trends and achievements of Western research on Chinese-language literature in translation. For readers interested in this field, perhaps the best place to start is Paper Republic (@PaperRepublic), which began in 2007 as a forum for translators of Chinese literature to share information about Chinese books and authors and discuss how to get them translated and published abroad. Today the organisation is renowned for its promotion of Chinese-language literature in translation, with an extensive database of Chinese-language authors and books, as well as Chinese-English translators. It also provides news and research about the Chinese publishing industry.

Academic publications aside, the Asian Review of Books (@BookReviewsAsia) is another place where Asia/China-related books and news can be found. The online periodical was launched in 2000 by Pater Gordon, who later established the Hong Kong International Literary Festival (@litfest_hk) and the Man Asian Literary Prize (2007-2012).

In 2015 I began following Balestier Press (@BalestierPress) on Twitter, and later had a chance to review one of their titles, Masked Dolls by Taiwanese author Shih Chiung-Yu (translated by Wang Xinlin and Poppy Toland, 2016). You can read the full review here. I am embarrassed to admit that my review of Crystal Wedding by Chinese author Xu Xiaobin (translated by Nicky Harman and Natascha Bruce, 2016) is still forthcoming.

Meanwhile, ChinaFictionBookClub (@cfbcuk), with tweets by highly achieved translators Nicky Harman (@NickyHarman_cn) and Helen Wang (@HelenWangLondon), is for all readers interested in Chinese-language literature in translation. Thanks to the hard work of Ken Liu (@kyliu99), award-winning science-fiction author and translator, Neil Clarke at Clarkesworld Magazine (@clarkesworld) has also been promoting Chinese-language science fiction and fantasy in translation since 2014. Finally, in February 2017, the Global Literature in Libraries Initiative (@GlobalLitinLibs) collaborated with Paper Republic to showcase contemporary Chinese-language literature in translation, with a focus on discussions by translators, academics and other experts on the art and craft of Chinese-English translation. You can see a list of 28 articles here.

To conclude this article, I want to draw your attention to the “Writing Chinese: Authors, Authority and Authorship” project (@WritingChinese) based at the White Rose East Asia Centre in the University of Leeds, U.K. Funded by the U.K.’s Arts and Humanities Research Council, the project collaborates with a number of partners, including Penguin China and the aforementioned Paper Republic and Balestier Press, to develop resources that help to make new Chinese-language writing accessible to all readers. I recently saw their call for people to join their Reading Chinese Book Review Network and sent an application. Having been accepted, I now look forward to receiving, reading and reviewing my first book from the U.K.

If you are interested in reading contemporary Chinese-language literature in translation, please check out Writing Chinese. Publishers who are interested in having their translated Chinese-language literary titles reviewed are also welcome to contact them.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Molly Cook
    Jan 03, 2018 @ 15:10:53

    I completely agree with your article about Chinese language literature in translation….Thanks for sharing!


  2. Christine Sun
    May 20, 2018 @ 17:15:39

    Hello Moly, You’re welcome. 🙂 You can help them, too!


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