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Chinese Fiction by & about Ethnic Minorities (中国少数民族文学)

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 Liu Zhenyun (我是金潘莲 into Swedish), Yu Hua (活着 into Danish), Jia Pingwa (带灯 into French), Ge Fei (山河入梦 into French) and Tie Ning (永远有多远  into Thai).

However, Mai Jia’s Decoded (解密) leads the pack: some 17 versions are to be subsidized, including Hebrew, Czech, Thai and Polish.

Interestingly, several books with ties to Turkic culture are slated for publication just in Turkish. They include:

  • Classics that have recently been officially designated as the three great oral epics of ancient Chinese literature (史诗) originating among non-Han peoples: King Gesar (格萨尔), Jangar (江格尔) and Manas (玛纳斯). The latter—a retelling of the Kyrgyz tale aimed at young readers—will pass into Turkish via an English edition that was authored in Chinese. This is ironic, since Kyrgyz, like Turkish, is a Turkic tongue.
  • 10 illustrated storybooks (阿凡提故事画库系列) about Nasreddin Hodja, a Sufi and populist philosopher who is believed to have lived in the 13th century near Konya in what is now Turkey. Chinese children know him as 阿凡提 (Ā fán tí), the Mandarin version of his Uyghur honorific, Effendi. 

The following are works penned by non-Han authors:

Alai (阿来, Tibetan)

  • 空山 (lit, hollow mountain): English edition of the novel to be subsidized. Alai is also author of Red Poppies, translated by Sylvia Li-chun Lin and Howard Goldblatt.

Tenzin (丹增, Tibetan)

  • 小沙弥 (lit, novice monk): English edition to be subsidized. A collection of autobiographical writing based on his upbringing in Tibet. His Childhood Dream appears in 2014 Spring Pathlight.

Jidi Majia (吉狄马加, Yi)

  • 火焰与词语诗集 (poetry collection): Arabic, Bosnian, German, French and Romanian versions to be subsidized.

Tsering Norbu (次仁罗布, Tibetan)

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