Gurnah’s Nobel Prize for Literature: One African Publisher’s Take

During the immediate aftermath of the naming of Zanzibar-born author Abdulrazak Gurnah as the winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, it seemed that much of the Sinosphere coverage was either scholarly papers penned a few years back by Chinese scholars and reheated for the occasion, or translated snippets of English-language wire service reports pasted together in Chinese. 

So I contacted reporter Chris Kang (康慨) at China Reading Weekly (中华读书报), and recommended he get some feedback from an African publishing professional. Sure enough, Kang rose to the occasion, and here is an excerpt from his Q & A with Richard Ali, Nigerian lawyer, novelist, poet, editor-in-chief of the Jalada Africa Trust and co-founder of Parresia Publishing:

中华读书报:中国出版了一些非洲小说,如恩古吉、阿切贝、索因卡、库切、戈迪默、奥克里、喵·科托和奇马曼达·恩戈济·阿迪切的作品,但古尔纳的书还一本都没有。为什么我们对他如此不熟悉?在其他地方也是同样情况吗?

阿里:我注意到,中国出版商往往选择出版已经流行的或人所共知的东西。在这一点上,这与出版“教材”并没有太大的区别,实际上无法展示出世界各民族真正的文学。非洲是一块有五十四个国家的大陆,不能简化为几十个作家,非洲的文学成果比获奖作品多得多。

我希望看到,以中文出版的非洲作家无论在数量上,还是在种类上都能得到扩大,这需要中国出版商必须理解非洲有很多国家,例如,除了喵·科托,您所列出的那些作家都是讲英语的。法语国家和葡语国家的作家在哪儿呢?这些国家、这些语言所代表的非洲文化,对中国人来说肯定也是有意义的,因为中国是世界大国。同样非常重要的是,这些国家也希望通过翻译来阅读中国文学。“一带一路”必须把文化也包括在内,这是一种双向的交流。

 Click here for full Q & A 全文点这里

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