At his press conference yesterday in Istanbul after a five-day stay in the city, Mo Yan called for the governments of China and Turkey to actively promote literary translation.
“I could have [the] chance to read only the books of Orhan Pamuk as he was the only Turkish writer whose books have been translated into Chinese. And Turkish readers most probably only read my book,” he said (Xinhua). The latter is a reference to Kızıl Darı Tarlaları (Red Sorghum), his sole novel to be translated into Turkish.
Well, that’s a slight exaggeration. At least 9 of Pamuk’s books are available in Chinese, but the good news is that several new titles from other Turkish authors—I count another 9—should be launched before or at the 2014 Beijing Int’l Book Fair in late August this year. They include the classic Turkish novel of the 20th century, The Time Regulation Institute by Ahmet Tanpınar, also newly rendered in English. See 中文版本 for the full list.
If politically correct Mo Yan insists on reading solely Chinese renditions available in the People’s Republic, however, he will be missing out on two of the most popular Turkish authors who have elected to publish their works first in Taiwan: Elif Şafak, who just launched her 愛的哲學課：雲遊僧與詩人魯米 (Forty Rules of Love) there, and Ahmet Ümit’s 伊斯坦堡死亡紀事 (Istanbul Hatırası), a crime thriller.