Readers in Taiwan were reading I am Malala a year ago — in Chinese (我是马拉拉), if they wished.
So why is it that people living in China still can’t get their hands on a version published in simplified Chinese?
As usual, you aren’t going to find out via the mainstream media in China. Several items have appeared lionizing the Sichuan People’s Press for its “timely” purchase of the rights to publish it in China, and its damn near herculean efforts to get it out to consumers by . . . the end of this month (我是马拉拉 “四川造”).
Given that the China version is based on the Taiwan one — same translator, 翁雅如 — translation time was obviously not a major factor in the year-long discrepancy in publication times. The China edition was apparently polished or partially re-translated by 朱浩, but the article suggests that this was mainly to ensure place names, etc., were rendered according to PRC standards.
It could be that joint venture publisher and rights holder Hachette Phoenix was asking for a higher price than Chinese publishers were at first willing to pay.
At any rate, it’s clear that when Malala Yousafzai won the Nobel Peace Prize, the Chinese publishing world could be confident that she’d sell well in China. And so a deal was struck within just a day or two of the Nobel Committee’s announcement.
Kind of sad, really. Surely the story of a fearless young Pakistani who took a bullet in the head as the price for promoting girls’ education would have been of interest to Chinese readers, regardless of a nobel laureate’s halo?