“Hiraeth,” Speaking in Tongues, and Penang’s Georgetown Literary Festival (Nov 25-27)

georgetown-literary-festivalI will be one of four translators taking part in Speaking in Tongues: The Art and Craft of Translation on Saturday November 26 at the “Georgetown Literary Festival” in Penang. Our panel will be moderated by Gareth Richards, and fellow translators will be Pauline Fan, Jérome Bouchard and Muhammad Haji Salleh.

You can check out the full festival program here.

Intriguingly, the theme for this year’s festival is hiraeth, a Welsh term that Wikipedia defines as:

Homesickness tinged with grief or sadness over the lost or departed . . . a mix of longing, yearning, nostalgia, wistfulness . . . for the Wales of the past. 

We can assume that the Wales part of the formula won’t be the focal point, since nostalgia for British colonial rule is not a mainstream sentiment here. At least, I don’t think so.

I was pleased to find an essay by Malaysian feminist Zainah Anwar in the first few pages of the handbook, suggesting that this festival is not intended as an ivory tower event for the local intellectual elite. Trump and the Red Shirts of Malaysia both got a mention, for one. Have a read: [Read more…]

非漂 [Fēi Piāo] Quote of the Week: Better Ignorant than Misinformed

“. . . a society is best when it is fully and truly informed, otherwise an uninformed society is better than a misinformed one.”

(Dr Negeri Lencho, Ethiopia’s new Minister of Government Communication Affairs, speaking in a 2013 interview)

非漂 [Fēi Piāo] October 2016 Newsbriefs

season-of-crimson-blossoms欢迎访问关注非漂 [Fēi Piāo]新设的微博,liberation 时代

Season of Crimson Blossoms, a novel by Abubakar Adam Ibrahim, wins the 2016 Nigeria Prize for Literature, worth US$100,000. Writes author and critic Toni Kan: I was fascinated because I grew up in the North, first Kano and then Jos, but I was discovering something new about the North in Abubakar’s book. There was lust and passion but above all a clear-eyed exposition of what it means to be human and a woman and middle aged in Northern Nigeria riven not just by religion but by religious crises.

在 《非洲法语文学在国内的翻译》里,汪琳系统地分析 70 年代至今用中文出版的非洲文学作品。

Ethiopia opens its Chinese-built railway linking Addis Ababa to the Red Sea port city of Djibouti. It’s the first step in a 5,000km-long network of rail which Ethiopia hopes to build by 2020, connecting it to Kenya, Sudan and South Sudan.

Black Eunuchs of the Ottoman Empire, reviewed by William Armstrong. There was plenty of demand for eunuchs, and a steady supply was guaranteed by Arab horsemen raiding Africa. Most died during the castration process, driving up the price of those who survived. At their peak there may have been as many as 800 court eunuchs organized in a hierarchical, well-defined structure.

采访:恩古吉·瓦·提安哥,肯尼亚作家。他最早提倡用母语写作并以身作则。

Literary Hub proposes 25 New Books by African Writers You Should Read.

Almost two-thirds of 54,000 Africans polled consider China’s influence on Africa ispositive-african-views-of-china “somewhat” or “very positive”, according to AfroBarometer’s latest poll (free PDF summary here). At 24 percent, China is second only to the US (30 percent) as the most popular model for national development. China’s positive image is primarily based on its investments in infrastructure and low-cost of its products, while appreciation of the Chinese people, culture and language are negligible factors (2 percent).

The first online Kiswahili-Chinese Dictionary, Siwaxili, now features 14,000 entries. 想了解 “新编斯汉辞典”(在线版)背后的故事,请点这里

Authors attending South Africa’s Abantu Literary Festival in Soweto December 6-10, 2016.

Caixin on Guangzhou’s Chocolate City — Souring Business, Xenophobia Makes China Dream Lose Its Appeal for African Migrants

非洲文学:中文译本

非洲文学:中文译本

(包含大陆、港台等版本)

最近更新:2016.10.21

本 “迷你数据库” 刚开始建设,绝对不算齐全,只供参阅。至今,原文都是英文或法文的书籍,但希望将来能包括其他本地语言,例如斯瓦希里、科薩語、阿拉伯语等。[] 指的是译著出版年,而非原著作出版年。欢迎留言!

Leila Aboulela (阿布列拉; 阿鮑蕾拉; 阿布雷雅; 莉拉·阿鲍蕾拉)

Chinua Achebe (钦努阿•阿契贝)

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (奇玛曼达·恩戈齐·阿迪奇埃)

Ama Ata Aidoo (阿玛·阿塔·艾杜)

Uwem Akpan (乌文·阿克潘)

Ishmael Beah (伊斯梅尔·比亚)

Tahar Ben Jelloun (塔哈尔·本·杰伦)

C

J. M. Coetzee (J.M.库切)

[Read more…]

African Themes at Frankfurt Book Fair 2016 (Oct 19-23)

Topic: From Africa to Europe: Refugees at the border in Melilla 

Date/venue: 15:00-16:00, Oct 20, Weltempfang Stage (Hall 3.1 L 25), Frankfurt Book Fair

Language: German/English

That the EU is watching its external borders is made clear by the border fence at Melilla, the Spanish city bordering on Morocco. Björn Kuhligk’s poem Die Sprache von Gibraltar (“The Language of Gibraltar”) examines the migration of people fleeing Africa. Kuhligk has done his research on the ground. He joins Flemish-Moroccan author Rachida Lamrabet, and Moroccan essayist Rachid Boutayeb to take a closer look at this bottleneck.

* * * * * *

Topic: How do artists, creative cultural professionals and academics from Africa view the future?

Date/venue: 12:00-13:00, Oct 23, Weltempfang Stage (Hall 3.1 L 25), Frankfurt Book Fair

Language:  German/English

Panel: Moderated by Sean O’Toole (art critic, co-publisher African Futures) with Lauren Beukes (South African writer), Smangele Mathebula (South African literary activist) and Angela Wachuka (head of Kwani Trust, curator of African Futures in Kenya)

Junma Literary Prize: Winners of National Award for Writing by non-Han Authors

Uyghur mafiosa: Alat Asem takes us into the colorful world of Xinjiang's Uyghur jade traders

Uyghur mafioso: Alat Asem takes us into the colorful world of Xinjiang’s jade traders

The winners of the Junma Literary Awards for Ethnic Minority Writers (骏马奖)  — handed out every three years since 1981 — have just been announced. The competition is designed to promote writing by authors who belong to one of China’s non-Han peoples. Entries are permitted in all indigenous languages. Eight of the 24 winners were written in a minority language, and three were translated into Mandarin, one each from Mongolian, Tibetan and Uyghur.

Of particular interest — to me — is the award to Uyghur author Alat Asem for his novel, 《时间悄悄的嘴脸》(The Mute Visage of Time). I am currently co-translating this book from the Chinese with Jun Liu.

 

 

第十一届(2012—2015)全国少数民族文学创作 “骏马奖” 获奖名单

长篇小说奖

 

《白虎寨》 李传锋(土家族)
《破荒》 袁仁琮(侗族)
《时间悄悄的嘴脸》 阿拉提·阿斯木(维吾尔族)
《信仰树》(蒙古文) 乌·宝音乌力吉(蒙古族)
《昨天的部落》(藏文) 旦巴亚尔杰(藏族)

 

For full list that includes award-winning novels, short stories, reportage, poetry, essays, and translation, see 骏马奖.

Vladivostok, Ancestral Manchu Territory: Home to Russia’s Pacific Fleet — For Now

In Vladivostok Lures Chinese Tourists (Many Think It’s Theirs), the NYT’s Andrew Higgins reminds us that the city was ceded by the Qing Dynasty to Russia in 1860 in one of those infamous “unequal treaties”:

Cui Rongwei, a businessman from northeastern China, could not afford a trip to Paris, so he settled for an exotic taste of Europe right on China’s doorstep. He liked Vladivostok so much that he has made three trips there to savor a city so strikingly different from his own hometown just a few score miles away.

Yet, like nearly all Chinese who visit a city whose Russian name means “master of the East,” Mr. Cui is absolutely certain about one thing: The place should really be called Haishenwai [海參崴], the name it had back when China was master in these parts.

A native of the Chinese province of Jilin in Manchuria, Mr. Cui said it was a “historical fact” that the home of Russia’s Pacific Fleet and the showcase of President Vladimir V. Putin’s ambitions to project his country as an Asian power is in reality Chinese territory.

Or at least it was, until the Treaty of Beijing, signed in 1860 after China’s defeat by Britain in the Second Opium War, placed Vladivostok and other territory to the northeast of what is now North Korea firmly in Russian hands.

Sakharov Prize for Uyghur Intellectual Ilham Tohti?

In an open letter entitled Donnons le prix Sakharov à un intellectuel ouïghour published in the French newspaper Libération on July 14, 2016, three prominent French citizens propose awarding the Sakharov Prize to Ilham Tohti:

Il est temps que l’opinion publique francophone s’empare de son cas : à force d’évoquer les méfaits de Daech, d’Isis ou de Boko Haram, on en vient à oublier que certains citoyens de religion musulmane pourraient faire la différence et ramener la paix dans un monde déchiré par la haine et le rejet de l’autre. Ilham Tohti fait certainement partie de ceux-là. Sa place n’est pas dans le Centre de détention numéro 1 d’Urumqi au Xinjiang, et le prix Sakharov serait à la fois un hommage et un message d’espoir envoyé à une victime innocente de la dictature implacable du président chinois Xi Jinping. Aux députés européens de se mobiliser en sa faveur ! 

Full text in English: Give the Sakharov Prize to an Uighur Intellectual.

May 2016: Altaic Storytelling Newsbriefs

走进中国少数民族丛书·蒙古族  (lit., Up Close with the Mongols) the latest volume in a series of 走进中国少数民族丛书·蒙古族Chinese-language books that will eventually profile each of China’s 55 officially designated minority ethnicities, has been launched. It is published by Liaoning Ethnic Publishing House. To date, 8 books featuring peoples of northeast China are out: Daur, Evenki, Hezhen, Korean (Chaoxian), Manchu, Mongols, Oroqen, and Xibe.

An exhibition showcasing the lifestyle of the Oroqen (鄂伦春) has opened at the new Huma Museum (呼玛博物馆) in Heilongjiang’s Greater Khingan Mountains (大兴安岭). The Oroqen are a Tungusic-speaking people closely related to the reindeer-herding Evenki (鄂温克) who figure in Chi Zijian’s Last Quarter of the Moon. Displays feature the Oroqen’s mobile housing, known to the Han as 撮罗子 (similar to teepee of native North Americans), hunting, dancing and Shamanism.

1944, a ballad sung by Jamala evoking the deportation of Crimean Tatars by Josef Stalin, has won the 2016 Eurovision song contest for Ukraine (Politically Charged). Inevitably, the song’s lyrics are interpreted as a criticism of Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 via Putin’s “Little Green Men.” The Crimean Tatars emerged as a nation at the time of the Crimean Khanate, an Ottoman vassal state, during the 15th to 18th centuries. Tatar is a Turkic language, classified as a member of the West Kipchak branch.

Madonna in a Fur Coat (Kürk Mantolu Madonna) by the 20th-century Turkish author Sabahattin Ali has just been published in English by Penguin. Translated by Maureen Freely, the novel centers on a post-World War I love affair between Turkish student Raif Efendi and a German singer, Maria Screen Shot 2016-05-07 at 10.35.02Puder, in Berlin. The Turkish edition has sold 750,000 copies “in the last three years alone,” according to one article (Glorious Comeback). It appears that the Chinese edition (I think this is the same novel) appeared way before Penguin got around to it, however, as 穿皮大衣的玛利亚 was out back in 1984. At any rate, the Turkish have a curious way of showing appreciation for their authors — the article also notes that the “left-wing poet, writer and journalist was a fierce critic of the government during the early years of the Turkish Republic. He was imprisoned at least twice and was killed in 1948 by an unknown assailant in a murder widely attributed to Turkey’s secret service.”

Altaic Storytelling: What We’re Reading Now (2016.4.12)

Following Xinjiang's Kazakh herders during their winter migration

Following Xinjiang’s Kazakh herders during their winter migration

Just started 冬牧场 (lit, winter pasture) by Li Juan. In 2010, she was commissioned to live with a Kazakh family as they herded their camels, sheep and horses deep into the desert of southern Altay where they traditionally graze during the bitterly cold winter. Her job: To document the little known, semi-nomadic lifestyle of Xinjiang’s Kazakh that features seasonal migrations.

Li Juan (李娟) is a young female Han writer born in Xinjiang. She spent most of her childhood in Sichuan before returning, and by her own admission, speaks only a smattering of Kazakh. See here for an introduction to her writing — all of which revolves around Xinjiang — including links to translations of some of her shorter pieces. To date, within China her best known titles are probably two collections of essays entitled 我的阿勒泰 (lit, my Altay) and 阿勒泰的角落 (lit, corners of Altay).

Promotional copy on douban reads as follows:

2010年冬天,李娟跟随一家哈萨克牧民深入阿勒泰南部的冬季牧场、沙漠,度过了一段鲜为人知的荒野生活。作为第一位描写哈萨克民族冬牧生活的汉族作家,她以饱含深情、灵气飞扬又不失节制的文字,呈现出阿尔泰最后一批 “荒野主人” 冬季转场时的独特生存景观,令人叹为观止。