Xinjiang-based “West” Magazine Announces 2012-13 Awards

西部 magazine (lit, “West”) recently held an award ceremony in Tekes County (located in the Ili Kazakh Autonomous Prefecture). Ten authors received awards for texts published in the magazine during 2012-13 (西部文学奖). They are:

Winning poet Maimaitimin Abolizi: Writes in Uyghur and Mandarin

Winning poet Maimaitimin Abolizi: Writes in Uyghur and Mandarin

Novels

《龋齿》by 弋舟 (Yi Zhou), and《小说二题》by 流瓶儿 (Liu Ping’er)

Short Stories

《小叙事》by 汗漫 (Han Man);《母亲》by 辛生 (Xin Sheng); and《禾木纪事》by 康剑 (Kang Jian)

Poetry

《冉冉的诗》by 冉冉 (Ran Ran), and《石头里的天空》by 麦麦提敏·阿卜力孜 (Maimaitimin Abolizi)

Literary Criticism

《诗之思》by 泉子 (Quan Zi), and《巴扎里的时间》by 王敏 (Wang Min)

Translation

《英美自然诗文》translated by 松风 (Song Feng)

Siberia: 21st Century Greater China Territory?

In Why China Will Reclaim Siberia, Frank Jacobs explains how vulnerable Russia’s northeastern territory is to eventual annexation by the awakened dragon to the south. What if China were to—à la Putin in Crimea—”hand out passports to sympathizers in contested areas, then move in militarily to ‘protect its citizens’ “? Certainly, that scenario is still far off, but large numbers of (rather successful) Chinese businesspeople have already emigrated there. An excerpt from Jacobs’ essay:

Siberia – the Asian part of Russia, east of the Ural Mountains – is immense. It takes up three-quarters of Russia’s land mass, the equivalent of the entire U.S. and India put together. It’s hard to imagine such a vast area changing hands. But like love, a border is real only if both sides believe in it. And on both sides of the Sino-Russian border, that belief is wavering.

The border, all 2,738 miles of it, is the legacy of the Convention of Peking of 1860 and other unequal pacts between a strong, expanding Russia and a weakened China after the Second Opium War. (Other European powers similarly encroached upon China, but from the south. Hence the former British foothold in Hong Kong, for example.)

Chan Koonchung Debunks Tibetan Stereotypes

Chan Koonchung, author of Champa the Driver, a new novel about a Tibetan chauffeur who plays lover-on-demand to his Han boss, says he wanted to “cut across five kinds of stereotypes when it comes to Tibet and Tibetans,” including:

The victim stereotype – Tibetan culture is under threat, all because of the Chinese rule: non-Tibetan migrants, ‘Han-ification’, assimilation policies, bureaucratic nepotism and state violence. But traditional culture is also changing inside Tibet because many Tibetans want modernisation and welcome economic growth. Many Tibetan families urge their children to learn Chinese and young Tibetans love hybridised popular culture.

For the full piece, see The Five Stereotypes of Tibet at English Pen.

Or check out this review of the novel, Tibetan Dreamer in an Alien Land.

Unveiled: List of “2014 China Classics” to Benefit from Translation/Publication Subsidy

Tenzin's collection of autobiographical works

Tenzin’s collection of autobiographical works

In yet another move that emphasizes how much $$ China is spending to take its literature global, the 2014 list of finalists for the “China Classics International Publication Project”  (经典中国国际出版工程) has just been announced. It comprises 256 titles that will be translated into 27 languages, according to an article on China Book Int’l (入围). You can find the full (but unprintable!) list here in Chinese.

The translation and publication of these works will be subsidized, but the specific amounts are not detailed. Obviously, this represents an opportunity for enterprising foreign translators and publishers to follow up. [Note: I've just been asked how to apply for your share of the subsidy pie, and all I can suggest is: contact the publishers of these works direct.]

Works of fiction represent but a small number of the finalists. Authors whose fiction appear on the list include [Read more...]

Altaic Storytelling Quote of the Week: Mathematics of “One Country, Two Systems”

However many people take part in Hong Kong’s illegal public vote, there will never be as many as 1.3 billion

(June 23, 2014 headline in Chinese-language 环球时报 (Global Times), a reference to the unofficial referendum on how the next leader of Hong Kong should be chosen. As of June 25, over 700,000 Hong Kong citizens had already voted.)

Chinese Publishers Discover Spanish

族长的秋天ThinKingdom Media Group Ltd (新经典) has just launched the Chinese edition of Gabriel Marquez’s El otoño del patriarca, and plans to publish another dozen or more of his works (!) within 2015, according to China Daily.

Entitled 族长的秋天, it is translated by Xuan Le (轩乐), who is currently studying in Spain. The previous edition was translated from the Russian, but the new version is from the Spanish original.

Chi Zijian’s 额尔古纳河右岸 (Last Quarter of the Moon) was recently translated into Spanish as A la orilla derecha del Río Argún by native Chinese speaker Xu Yingfeng (徐颖丰), and then edited by a Spaniard.

Osnos, Vogel and China Censorship Percentage Stats

But when can I get my uncensored Chinese edition?

But when can I get my uncensored Chinese edition?

In what a publicist would judge a savvy approach to pre-launch marketing of one’s book, Evan Osnos recently wrote a much-discussed NY Times Op-ed in which he explained why he won’t be releasing his new Age of Ambition: Chasing Fortune, Truth and Faith in the New China in Chinese in the People’s Republic any time soon.

In a word, because Osnos doesn’t want a “special edition” of it — with chunks of the original deleted — customized for Chinese readers. That would, he maintains, “endorse a false image of the past and present.”

In her June 20 piece about the brouhaha, Slippery Slope, Dinah Gardner cites two statistics several times: 10% and 25%. The 10% is a reference to the amount of text that Ezra Vogel claims was deleted from his Deng Xiaoping and the Transformation of China when published in Chinese. And 25% is an estimate of what one Chinese publishing agent proposed cutting from Osnos’ Age of Ambition.

Based on my knowledge of editing and censorship in China, however, if Vogel actually believes that 90% of his work was faithfully transmitted via the final Chinese text, then he is deluding himself. Or, more charitably, he is much more knowledgeable about Deng Xiaoping than he is about publishing in China. [Read more...]

June Training Sessions: Authors of Five Major non-Han Languages Meet their Translators

During June 5-9, Nationalities Literature Magazine (民族文学) organized an intensive “editing/rewriting training course” (改稿班) that brought together the magazine’s editors with twenty-plus Kazakh writers and their translators. Mandarin and Kazakh aside, the magazine appears in Mongolian, Korean, Tibetan and Uyghur, and training sessions for writers and translators of the latter four languages are also scheduled to take place within June, according to the article (改稿班).

We can expect that this will—eventually—lead to fiction written by non-Han authors in their own tongues being published in English. The first step is to get their writing into Mandarin, possibly via Nationalities Literature Magazine, or People’s Literature (人民文学). It will then stand a good chance of appearing in Pathlight, a magazine dedicated to Chinese literature in English translation that is jointly produced by People’s Literature and Paper Republic.

In fact, the Spring 2014 edition of Pathlight will feature writing solely by ethnic writers: fiction by Alat Asem (阿拉提·阿斯木, Uyghur), Ayonga (阿云嘎, Mongolian), Jin Renshun (金仁顺, Korean), Guan Renshan (关仁山, Manchu), Li Jinxiang (李进祥, Hui), Memtimem Hoshur (买买提明·吾守尔, Uyghur),Ye Guangqin (叶广芩, Manchu) and Yerkex Hurmanbek (叶尔克西·胡尔曼别克, Kazakh);  poetry by Artai (Mongolian,阿尔泰), Aydos Amantay (艾多斯·阿曼泰, Kazakh), Jidi Majia (吉狄马加, Yi-Nuosu), Luruodiji (鲁若迪基, Pumi), Ma Huan (马桓, Hui) and Nie Le (聂勒, Wa); and non-fiction by Patigul (帕蒂古丽, Uyghur), Ye Fu (野夫, Tujia), Ye Mei (叶梅, Tujia) and Tenzin (丹增, Tibetan). The full contents aren’t up online yet, but the cover, contents page and link to purchase should be here soon. [Read more...]

“A la orilla derecha del Río Argún”: Spanish Rendition of Chi Zijian’s《额尔古纳河右岸》Published

The Spanish-language edition of Chi Zijian’s 20th-century saga of the Evenki, 《额尔古纳河右岸》, is now for sale A la orilla derecha del Rio Argunonline in China (JD.com).  Co-translated by Xu Yingfeng (徐颖丰) and Fernando Esteban Sema, A la orilla derecha del Río Argún joins my English translation, Last Quarter of the Moon, Ultimo quarto di luna (Italian), and Het laatste kwartier van de maan (Dutch), all of which have been published. The Turkish edition is now being translated.

Happily, the Spanish version is the first to use a direct translation of the title from the Chinese, i.e., The Right Bank of the Argun. I argued for the same in English, but Harvill Secker opted to follow the previously published Italian translation which ignored the Chinese title in favor of the quarter moon “theme.” What a pity!

Narrated in the first person by the aged wife of the last chieftain of an Evenki clan, the novel is a moving tale of the decline of reindeer-herding nomads in the sparsely populated, richly forested mountains that border on Russia. [Read more...]

Manchu Novelists: Storytellers First, and Partial to the Spoken Language

满族小说与中华文化A conference on the unique contribution of Manchu novelists was held in Beijing on June 6, 2014, to celebrate the publication of 满族小说与中华文化 (Manchu novels and Chinese culture). The book is the result of a project sponsored by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences Fund (社科基金项目).

Editor Guan Jixin (关纪新), a Manchu himself, conceded that not long after the Manchu took power, they applied themselves earnestly to mastering Chinese culture, and as a result, early on most lost the ability—and/or the desire—to  write literature in their own tongue. While that may have been a loss to the Manchu, it was decidedly a plus for Chinese literature as a whole.

The work appears to be a creative and broad-ranging look at Chinese-language fiction by ethnic Manchu from the Qing Dynasty to the present.  A quick summary of a few of the more intriguing topics covered in this book: [Read more...]