Ahmet Ümit Translation Forum: No Chinese Presence?

A one-day symposium titled “Translating Ahmet Ümit into Foreign Languages” will be held on

Reportedly now working on a thriller set around the Syrian refugee crisis

Reportedly now working on a thriller set around the Syrian refugee crisis

April 7 in Istanbul at Okan University’s Beyoğlu campus. The symposium will be attended by 11 translators from various countries, according to a report in Hurriyet Daily News.

For a Turkish writer of fiction, Ümit (阿赫梅特·乌米特) has been fairly widely translated into Chinese. His novels now available in Chinese include 《伊斯坦堡死亡纪事》(A Memento for Istanbul) and《隐没与谎言》 (Patasana), and translation of The Dervish Gate  《托钵僧之门》is underway at Shanghai Art & Literature Publishing (上海文艺出版社).

According to Hurriyet, among the translators who will join the event are “Rafael Carpintero Ortega (Spanish), Rakesh Jobanputra (English), Sabine Adatepe (German), Barbara La Rosa (Italian), Aneta Matovska (Macedonian), Elen Ivanova (Bulgarian), Nina Rajkovic (Croatian), Thanos Zarangalis (Greek) and Vesna Gazdic (Serbian).”

Based on this report, it appears that none of his Chinese translators will be present.

For insight into which overseas readerships are targeted by the Turkish government, see Soft Power Strategy: Where Does China Figure in Turkey’s Literary Translation Program?

Extract: Alat Asem’s Novel “Confessions of a Jade Lord” (时间悄悄的嘴脸)

An excerpt from the soon-to-be-published novel by Alat Asem,

Confessions of a Jade Lord

《时间悄悄的嘴脸》

19

Rechristening a High-rise

In the midst of his hectic days as minor-character-cum-

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

stagehand, Exet the Mouse’s magnificent new sobriquet — “Suet Exet” — fails to resonate. Those two sheep were indeed sacrificed in vain. Afterwards, he didn’t bother to invite the jade lords out to drink either; he embraced his bad luck. “There’s a history to your nickname,” says Eysa ASAP to console him, “and history cannot be rewritten.”

Eysa sets to work quickly seeking a middle-man to lobby for talks to buy all twelve stories of the high-rise that belongs to Big Stick Obul, who dug his first bucket of gold in a coal mine. In the end, it’s Silver-tongue Salam, endowed with a gift of gab that can entice buyer and seller to the negotiating table, who does the trick.

Salam’s deal-closing skills were first practiced at the Saturday second-hand bike market. As dust danced in the square, he honed his persona and honeyed trap. With help from splendiferous Time, the money in his pocket prospered year after year, and nourished his heart.

After dining on handheld mutton at a scenic riverside venue, Eysa, Mouse, Obul and Salam address the thorny issue of price.

“Ahem,” coughs Salam before he begins.

Deal or no deal, mutual trust shall prevail.

Roasted, stewed or hand-held, mutton remains meat all the same.

Heroes of the world, you have all come today!

The magnificent Monkey King is present today,

And so is our Uyghur Wise Man, Ependim.

It is cool cash that drives human life.

Today’s chop suey is better than tomorrow’s fresh meat;

promises are no good until they are cooked in the pot.

Today’s victory is today’s Paradise!

The big item on today’s agenda is a high-rise built to last. The seller is a person, not a lord, and so is the buyer, who is no one’s servant. My mouth is neither friend nor enemy. It speaks for your mutual interests. Had I ever harbored selfish intentions or betrayed bias toward either party, my tongue could not have secured me this bowl of arbitrator’s rice over the last two decades. The truth behind this, I’m sure you all understand.

The building is new, constructed just five years ago. Buyer and seller both have things itching at their hearts. Each of you knows this. My mouth is a hand that can scratch that itch for you. I do not know the depth of the water, but my sincere hope is that both duck and goose may cross safely. I care not wherefrom my camel guests hail, but obtaining some of the peppercorns, black pepper and ginger root is my goal. ‘Feed your master’s donkeys well and receive a good tip’ is my motto.

Blessed is Eysa Xojayin, and so is our Big Stick Obul, a hero who wrestled his way out of a dark coal pit. Coal Mine Mogul, please quote a price.

The mine owner states his asking price, and the figure is fairly close to the one that Eysa has guessed beforehand. This gives him confidence in the eventual outcome.

Obul is keen to offload his high-rise. It’s a matter of money-laundering, actually. The proceeds from the mines don’t have eyes but they have lips, and he worries that sooner or later that lucre will land him in hot water. Once the building is sold, his mind would be at peace, his tongue confident, and henceforth he could hang out at his leisure.

In the six hours that ensue, Salam’s silver tongue binds the two wicked hearts ever tighter. Eventually the high-rise’s surname changes, and a sizable lot of moolah finds its way into Big Stick Obul’s bank account — an eight-digit sum, in fact. On the ATM card, the dancing digits sigh long and hard; in the freezing underground vault, the bills reminisce over their tainted but exhilarating past. [Translated by Bruce Humes and Jun Liu. For more information about Alat Asem, click here.]

Boubacar Boris Diop and His Wolof Publication Initiative

Boubacar Boris Diop, Senegalese author of Doomi Golo which he wrote in Wolof (and later translated into French), has launched the “Céytu” initiative to publish major works of francophone literature in Wolof. The language is spoken by about 11m people in Sénégal,Mariama Bâ Bataaxal bu gudde nii Mauritania and the Gambia. In this interview with Anne Bocandé of africultures.com, he explains the three works he has begun with:

Une si longue lettre [好长的一封信] de Mariama Bâ s’imposait par sa valeur propre mais aussi par l’exceptionnelle traduction, qui existait déjà, de Mame Younousse Dieng et Arame Fal ; L’Africain de Jean-Marie Le Clézio, est un tour de force en ce sens qu’il reste une confession à la fois intime et d’une ahurissante précision documentaire ; la pièce de Césaire sur l’assassinat de Lumumba a beau dater des années 70, elle reste actuelle quand on pense, par exemple, au destin tragique d’un Thomas Sankara, aux événements du Burkina et même au rôle plus que douteux de l’ONU dans des événements allant du génocide des Tutsi du Rwanda à la Syrie ou la Libye. J’avais une folle envie de traduire Une saison au Congo et maintenant, je souhaite faire jouer la pièce dans les grandes villes du Sénégal.

To read the full interview, click here.

To visit Céytu: Littérature en Wolof, click here.

非漂 [Fēi Piāo] April 2017 Newsbriefs

Chimamanda Ngozi, the Afropolitan: . . . because she has walked so confidently into the realm of non-fiction, and has agreed on multiple occasions, to take up the mantle of “spokesperson,” there is an increasing expectation that she is up to the task; that she can in fact authentically speak on behalf of the fans who adore her. Over time those fans have included young women enthralled by her popularization of existing mainstream feminist ideas and LGBTI communities across the diaspora and in urban European, American and African contexts. 

April 8 Marseilles event: Paroles et danses sacrées ! Poésies Poesis et chants vaudouet Chants vaudou with Hyacinthe Kougniazondé (griot né au Bénin); PéPé Oleka (musicienne Nigérienne); Sùnnù Wedo (“urban griot”); Mona Georgelin (professeure de danse gwoka); Médard Sossa (chorégraphe, danseur, percussionniste et chanteur).

Congo’s Francophone author Alain Mabanckou’s Black Moses (translated from his novel, Petit Piment) has been longlisted for the prestigious translated literature award, Man Booker Int’l Prize 2017. Amazingly, none of his works have been published yet in Chinese. 刚果法语作家阿兰‧马邦库: 为何没有中文译本?

Fox 2000 has reportedly acquired the movie rights for 23-year-old Nigerian-American author Tomi Adeyemi’s debut young adult West African fantasy novel, Children of Blood and Bone, which is the first in what will be a trilogy. This despite the fact that the book has yet to arrive in a bookstore. Henry Holt Books for Young Readers will publish under Macmillan Publishers. Adeyemi joins the likes of Chimamanda Adichie and Chinua Achebe who have had their novels Half of a Yellow Sun (半轮黄日) and Things Fall Apart (这个世界土崩瓦解了) adapted for the silver screen. And watch the trailor for Adichie’s more recent Americannah here.

Among Three Percent’s candidates for its 2017 Best Translated Book Prize are several works whose originals were penned by African writers. On the 25-Doomi Golo by Boobacar Boris Diopstrong fiction list are Senegalese author Boubacar Baris Diop’s novel Doomi Golo: The Hidden Notebooks and Egyptian author Basma Abdel Aziz’s novel The Queue, and on the 10-strong poetry list is Moroccan author Abdellatif Laabi’s collection In Praise of Defeat. You can read background info about these three here. Doomi Golo is reportedly the first novel ever to be translated from the Wolof into English. But perhaps more interesting is Diop’s story about how he rendered it himself in French, although this act of auto-traduction took him five years. When it came out in Wolof, a friend commented: « Tout à fait entre nous, tu t’es bien fait plaisir en écrivant dans ta langue maternelle, c’est très bien, bravo, mais mets-toi à présent au travail et donne-nous le même roman dans une vraie langue. Ne penses-tu pas que ce sera plus simple pour tout le monde ?» For a fascinating explanation of the process, see Écrire entre deux langues. De Doomi Golo aux Petits de la Guenon.

Factoids re: Africa-based Confucius Institutes (孔子院), according to the official Hanban web site: There are 46 institutes now up and running (mainly within a university), with at least one located in 36 of Africa’s 54 countries, including 8 in South Africa, 5 each in Ethiopia and Kenya, and 3 in Tanzania.

刚果法语作家 Alain Mabanckou (阿兰‧马邦库): 为何没有中文译本?

 

阿兰‧马邦库的 Black Moses (法文原书名: Petit Piment) 2017 年入围 Man Booker International Prize 的 Longlist

阿兰‧马邦库的 Black Moses (法文原书名: Petit Piment) 2017 年入围 Man Booker International Prize 的 long list

刚从台南来到婆罗洲的古晋。路过台北,去了趟信鸽法国书店,也拜访了出版 “非洲系列” 的南方家园出版社。

信鸽供应 Alain Mabanckou (阿兰‧马邦库)几本法文小说,我已经开始阅读 Lumières de Pointe-Noire。这本属于自传性的,是描写他离开家乡 Pointe-Noire 23 年之后头次回去的感受。他的母亲已去世了,为了某些神秘的原因  ——  我还没读到那部分 —— 当时没能回家参与其葬礼。这点明显给他留下不少痛苦的痕迹。

Mabanckou 在刚果共和国土生土长的,在法国读完法律系,发表几本小说之后,搬到美国,目前在加州大学洛杉矶分校教法文文学。他得了一系列的高级文学奖,几本小说与涉及政治话题的文章都被译成英文,并按照 Wikipedia 被认为:

He is among the best known and most successful writers in the French and one of the best known African writers in France.

刚得知,两周前,他的 Black Moses (法文原书名: Petit Piment) 入围曼布克国际奖 (Man Booker International Prize 2017 ) 年的 “长单” (long list),即有可能是 13 本译本当中得第一名。4 月 20 日将宣布 “短单”(short list),即 6 本,然后 6 月 14 日将宣布第一名。13 本中也有中国作家阎连科的 The Explosion Chronicles (原书名: 炸裂志)。

英、法文学界颇受欢迎的当代刚果作家 Mabanckou (阿兰‧马邦库): 为何没有中文译本?

英、法文学界颇受欢迎的当代刚果作家 Mabanckou (阿兰‧马邦库): 为何被中文出版界忽略?

但莫名其妙,至少据我了解, 至今 Mabanckou 没有一本小说被翻译成中文。这很遗憾,因为他确实写的很好,而且他是一个很风趣的人。 YouTube 上面有他的采访,也有他得奖的演讲,值得一听。许多定居非洲与移民海外的非洲人对他颇有看法,因为他发表的文章里说的很清楚:不该把今天非洲落后的全部责任强加于殖民时代和殖民者的头上,而应该承认自己的份儿。同时,他的作品也经常围绕着非洲人在法国当 “侨民” 的状态。

他用法文写作,但他主要的著作被译成英文,除 Black Moses 也有:African Psycho, Broken Glass (打碎的玻璃杯), Memoirs of a Porcupine (豪豬回憶錄) 以及 Black Bazaar。(这些中文书名是直译,不是真书名)

非漂 [Fēi Piāo] March 2017 Newsbriefs

Call for Papers

Workshop on Strategies for the Promotion of African Language Literature. To be held at the University of Vienna May 2-4. Deadline for abstracts: March 15, 2017.

 

Topics

J.O.J. Nwachukwu-Agbada’s Nigerian Written Literature Since 1914: . . . to write a piece of African literature without the injection of African traditional materials is like preparing a soup without thinking of salt. African oral materials found even in snippets confer authenticity on the modern African literary heritage. Thus Achebe, Soyinka, Okigbo, Okara, Aluko, Clark, Ike, Amadi, etc. are today remembered among other reasons for what they have made of orature which they inherited from their different cultures . . . recent writers are even more aggressively adept at appropriating folk materials: Osofisan, Okri, Osundare, Fatoba, Sowande, Ofeimun, Enekwe, Nwabueze, Ezenwa-Ohaeto . . .

Full text of speech by Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o in Pretoria in early March, Decolonize the Mind, Secure the Base: The entire African language speaking majorities are taxed directly or indirectly so that 90 percent of the resources available for language education can go to English accents. In some countries African language have been unceremoniously axed out of the curriculum or made into electives. Some advocates of English dominance not only want it so but would actually like to see the literary disappearance of native languages altogether. 

Extract from Chi Zijian’s New Novel, “Peak among the Mountains” (群山之巅)

The Saber

When livestock catch sight of Xin Qiza, the Butcher of Longzhan Town, they realize that this is their doomsday sun. They take fright, even though that isn’t a butcher knife strapped at his waist — it’s just his beloved pipe.

Winter or summer, as long as it’s sunny, Xin Qiza needn’t light his pipe with a match. In one of his pants pockets is a fist-sized convex lens, and in the other Chi Zijian's On the Summita clump of birch bark. Whenever he feels like a smoke, he pulls out the lens and turns it towards the sun, concentrating its rays downwards as if they were rushing to town on market day. He generates a flash point, then extracts a paper-thin slice of bark, holds it under the lens for it to catch and lights his pipe.

Of course, starting a fire from the sky isn’t always so easy. On a bright summer’s day, the lens can filch fire in an instant, but in the dead of winter, the North Wind howls and the sun is weak, and fire comes slowly. Still, Xin Qiza is patient. Tobacco lit by the sun has a unique fragrance, he says, and is worth the wait. The lens that he keeps on his person is like a hired hand: he can call him whenever he likes and order him to his heart’s content.

His pipe and lens aside, Xin Qiza’s treasures comprise butcher knives of every description — they are the utensils upon which his livelihood depends. He can’t help but adore them. Amongst farm animals, though, his affection engenders hatred!

After several decades as the Butcher of Longzhan, a bloody bouquet hovers tenaciously about him, and for these animals with their acute sense of smell, it’s like a hidden River of Death, something with which they could not be more familiar. So when he appears by the waterway, and the cows, horses and sheep catch sight of him, no matter how luscious the grass where they are grazing, they raise their hooves and gallop off. When he strolls on the streets and in the alleys, if sunbathing pigs spy him, they tremble and crawl on their bellies, and the odd one loses control of its bladder. When a neighbor’s dog encounters the butcher, if it doesn’t retract its head like a turtle and scamper back to its master for refuge, then it approaches ingratiatingly and licks his shoes, as if appealing for a permanent stay of execution. Xin Qiza doesn’t wear leather shoes. If he did, he wouldn’t need to shine them. [end]

(Partial excerpt from Chi Zijian’s new novel, Peak among the Mountains (群山之巅, 迟子建 著). Translated by Bruce Humes. For full excerpt and information on English language rights, contact Ms. Li at likangqin@99read.com . Read more about Chi Zijian here.)

非漂 [Fēi Piāo] February 2017 Newsbriefs

Potpourri

Welcome to LagosFive greatest Old African novels to read before you die . . . cheveux naturels in Sénégal, Men may say they don’t like it and of course they hate the cost but they are attracted to the look . . . resident Chinese in Africa by the numbers . . . interview with Abubakar Adam Ibrahim: Northern Nigeria’s ‘literary provocateur’ . . . Chibundu Onuzo’s novel Welcome to Lagos reviewed at The Guardian . . .

Upcoming Literary Events

Time of the Writer’s Festival

Date: March 13-18th, 2017

Theme: The Past Paving the Future

Host: Centre for Creative Arts, U of Kwa-Zulu Natal

Participants include: Fred Khumalo, author of Bitches’ Brew; Nomsa Mdlalose, folklorist and author of children’s books published in isiZulu, Setswana, Afrikaans and English; Lidudumalingani Mqombothi, awarded 2016 Caine Prize for African writing for his short story Memories We Lost;  Nakanjani G. Sibiya is a short story writer, novelist, poet and playwright who has authored/edited 50+ isiZulu literary works across genres, including his debut novel, Kuxolelwa abanjani?

Paper, Airwaves, Screen: From Text to Audience in African Popular Culture

Date: 12-13th July 2017

Venue: University of Bristol, UK

Keynote speakers: Lydie Moudileno (U of Pennsylvania), Tsitsi Jaji (Duke U)

Recent artworks, including Bili Bidjocka’s Infinite Writing and François-Xavier Gbré’s National Printworks, evoke the fragile material status of writing and reading. They also remind us of the power that each can yield. In light of development agendas pertaining to literacy (e.g. UN Sustainable Development Goal 4), this conference will attend to the cultures of reading and reception that emerge in popular culture on the African continent.

Backgrounder: Contemporary Ethnic-themed Fiction out of China

For several years after I arrived in China, I was treated like the “Other,” constantly quizzed on my nationality, what my compatriots ate for breakfast and my impressions of China. When visiting small towns or the countryside, at times I was ogled, which made me feel I was somehow, well, odd. That was a new experience for me!

One day it occurred to me that foreigners weren’t the only “Other” on the scene. What about those persons who didn’t claim to belong to the Han, China’s mainstream ethnic group? Estimates are that one out of ten citizens are of a different ethnicity, such as Zhuang, Miao or Uyghur, and that information appears on their ID card.

I began to wonder: How do they view their “Other,” i.e., the Han? How do their writers portray the effects on their people as they inevitably come into more frequent contact with the outside world, attend school taught in Chinese, or migrate to the city? And how do Han authors use ethnic motifs and depict minority characters in their contemporary fiction? I decided to explore these questions via new literature appearing in Chinese . . . (click here for full text)

Quote of the Week: What’s on the Curriculum for Students in South Africa?

Screen Shot 2017-01-14 at 06.44.01

One tweet in reaction to the Abantu Book Festival’s opening tweet designed to restart the decoloniality conversation: