Xi Chuan, Yu Hua, Mo Yan, & others at Istanbul Book Fair

China will be guest of honor at the International Istanbul Book Fair (Nov 2-10), with the theme being the Journey of Chinese literature from traditional to contemporary as illustrated by the “New Silk Road.”

Festivities are scheduled to include Xi Chuan 西川 and sixteen other Chinese authors, such as Ge Fei 葛菲, Jiang Nan 江南, Lao Ma 马俊杰, Li Jingze 李敬泽, Liu Zhenyun 刘震云,  Su tong 苏童,  Wang Gang 王刚, Yang Hongying 杨红樱, Yu Hua 余华, Zhang Wei 张炜,  Zhang Yueran 张悦然, and China Writers Association president, Tie Ning 铁凝.

For more, click the image above, or see here.

Xi Chuan at the London Book Fair

Digital Conference catch up

The London Book Fair opens today, with China as the Guest of Honor. My friend the translator Bruce Humes compiled a list of China-related events, but his blog is down, so I’m re-posting here:

April 16

Modern Chinese Masters: The launch of two new books in translation by Annie Baobei and Li Er, together with their translators and publisher Harvey Thomlinson.

Independent Foreign Fiction Prize 2012: Shortlist Spotlight: Chinese novelist and film maker Xiaolu Guo and Director of the Edinburgh International Book Festival Nick Barley as they reflect on judging the scores of books in translation submitted for this year’s award. They will be sharing their insights into literary translation with Literary Editor of The Independent Boyd Tonkin, a long-serving judge of the Prize.

Editing China and Japan: This session will explore the joys and challenges of editing translations from Chinese and Japanese, languages and literary cultures that are unfamiliar to many editors and readers. How can editors make decisions about translation from languages they don’t know; what are the peculiarities and specificities of languages such as Chinese and Japanese; and what is the role of the translator in this process? We will hear from Harvill Secker’s publishing director Elizabeth Foley, Penguin China’s Managing Director Jo Lusby and translators Eric Abrahamsen and Michael Emmerich.

April 17

Bi Feiyu Interviewed by Rosie Goldsmith: Bi Feiyu’s novel The Moon Opera (青衣), translated by Howard Goldblatt was longlisted for the 2008 Independent Foreign Fiction Prize while Three Sisters (玉米 ,玉秀,玉秧), also translated by Goldblatt, won the 2010 Man Asian Literary Prize. In China, his awards include twice winning the Lu Xun Literary Prize, and  the 2011 Mao Dun Prize, the highest national literary award, for Massage.

Ancient Myths in Contemporary Fiction: Alai and Tsering Norbu explore why ancient myths fascinate us until today and how these timeless stories can be brought into the 21st century.

New Perspectives in Chinese and British Literature: Four Chinese writers, Tie Ning, Mo Yan, Alai and Liu Zhenyun as well as their four British counterparts will share ideas on topics such as “maintaining national characteristics in a global context”, “active and diverse literature creation in China (UK), “literature and contemporary life, “literature and social progress and development”, etc.

Chinese Children’s Literature: British readers are all too aware of the British superstars in children’s literature, such as J.K. Rowling, Michael Morpurgo or Julia Donaldson. In an attempt to find out more about the world of Chinese children’s literature, two of China’s most popular authors in this genre—Yang Hongying and  Zheng Yuanjie—join us to discuss their writing.

April 18

Contemporary Chinese Poetry: Contemporary Chinese poetry is constantly evolving, drawing both on the ancient and rich poetic tradition in China as well as on influences from around the world. Xi Chuan and Han Dong, two of China’s most celebrated contemporary poets, read from their work with fellow poet Pascale Petit and reflect on this evocative and though-provoking genre.

Bringing Chinese Poetry to the UK: Chinese poetry has a long and honourable history in English translation – it is nearly 100 years since Arthur Waley’s 170 Chinese Poems was first published. Both the Chinese classics and contemporary poetry, which has flourished in the last three decades, provide rich opportunities for Western publishers. In the last twelve months alone, several new volumes – both anthologies and single-poet volumes have been published in the UK and the USA. Nevertheless there are huge challenges: • Few poetry publishers will have in-depth knowledge of the contemporary Chinese poetry scene. Which poets will be represented? In the West, the label ‘dissident’ sells books, but what does it mean in the Chinese poetry context? • Who will do the translations? The panel will look at collaborative translating (translators + poets) as a practical and creative solution. • Promoting the unfamiliarand finding new audiences. How much contextualization is needed when introducing new poetry (whether classical or contemporary) to readers? How important are promotional events or readings, if at all? Panelists Nicky Harman, Bill Herbert, Brian Holton and Yang Lian, will discuss all this and more with chair David Constantine.

Contemporary China on the Page: Chinese society has been undergoing monumental changes and is constantly evolving under the influence of China’s changing status in the world. Chi Zijian, Feng Tang and fellow author Xinran discuss how contemporary literature is reflecting these transformations and the effect they have on the life of Chinese people today.

Rural China: Amidst rapid urbanization, the rural setting in contemporary fiction has acquired new meaning in China. Authors Mo Yan and Li Er debate with literature expert Lu Jiande the role of life outside the city in contemporary fiction, forming the background to explorations of tradition and change.

Path Light Notifications Signup

Path Light, the new English-language journal produced by Paper Republic and People’s Literature 人民文学, is beginning to have a web presence. Sign up here for information & notification on news and new issues. And as an added bonus, here’s the table of contents of the first issue, including four Xi Chuan pieces in my translation:

Feature: 8th Mao Dun Literature Prize

Zhang Wei You Are on the Highland
Liu Xinglong Holy Heaven’s Gate
Liu Zhenyun A Word is Worth Ten Thousand Words

Fiction / Non-Fiction

Jiang Yitan ‘China Story’
Di An ‘Williams’ Tomb’
Qi Ge ‘The Sugar Blower’
Xiang Zuotie ‘A Rare Steed for the Martial Emperor’ and ‘Raising Whales’
Li Juan ‘The Winter of 2009’ and ‘The Road to Weeping Spring’

Poetry

Lei Pingyang Prayer-Poem on Mt. Jinuo, White Herons, Keeping a Cat, Going Home for a Funeral, The Myna Bird Asks a Question, Collectivist Insect Calls, and Abandoned City
Hou Ma Bloodsucking Rapture, Subway, Li Hong’s Kiss and A Wolf? In Sheep’s Clothing?
Sun Lei Travel
Yu Xiang Sunlight Shines Where It’s Needed, My House, They, A Gust of Wind, Low Key, It Goes Without Saying, Holy Front and Street
Wong Leung Wo At Midnight, I See Your Shoes in the Bathroom, Father, This is the Last Day, The Story of Santa and I Thought We Wouldn’t Meet Again
Xi Chuan The Body and History, Ill Fortune H 00325, Looking at the Mural in the Ruicheng Temple of Eternal Joy and Dragon

Editor’s Pick

Li Er

‘Stephen’s Back’

Path Light: New Chinese Writing

Issue #1 of Path Light: New Chinese Writing, edited by Li Jingze 李敬泽, Alice Xin Liu, and Canaan Morse, is already out at the Beijing Bookworm and other venues (once it’s got an online presence / ordering page I’ll put up the link). Read this for the Xinhua English writeup, or take a look at Bruce Humes‘s list of some of the contents over at Ethnic ChinaLit:

Editorial Director Qiu Huadong (邱华栋) revealed some of the first issue’s contents:

  • Excerpts from the novels that won the 2011 Maodun Literary Prize, plus interviews with their authors.  He did not specify which novels would be excerpted, but the five winners were: On the Plateau, Zhang Wei (你在高原 , 张炜著) ;  Skywalker, Liu Xinglong (天行者, 刘醒龙著); Massage, Bi Feiyu (推拿, 毕飞宇著); Frogs, Mo Yan (, 莫言著) ; and One Sentence Worth Thousands, Liu Zhenyun ( 一句顶一万句, 刘震云著) See Rewarding Writer-Officials? for insight into the controversy surrounding this year’s Maodun Prize.
  • Short stories by authors born in the 1970s and 1980s, including Jiang Yitan (蒋一谈), Qi Ge (七格) and Di’an (笛安).
  • Poems by Xi Chuan (西川), Lei Pingyang (雷平阳) and others
  • Short stories by other writers including Li Er (李洱)
  • Introductions to new books such as Ge Fei’s Spring in Jiangnan (春尽江南, 格非著), Wang Anyi’s Tiānxiāng (天香, 王安忆著), Jia Pingwa’s Old Kiln (古炉, 贾平凹著), and Fang Fang’s Wuchang City (武昌城, 方方著)

The Xi Chuan pieces they’ve published are “Looking at the Mural in the Ruicheng Temple of Eternal Joy” 观芮城永乐宫壁画, “Ill Fortune H 00325″ 厄运 H 00325, “Dragon” 龙, and “The Body and History” 体相与历史.