About Bruce Humes (徐穆实)

Welcome to the blog that I launched in 2009, and have hosted since. Granted, it has undergone a number of iterations — Ethnic Chinalit: Writing by & about non-Han Peoples, Altaic Storytelling, and most recently, 非漂 [Fēi Piāo] —

but 300+ original posts can still be found here.

One of my main projects for 2020 will be rendering Professor Chang Hsin-kang’s  Silk Road Cultures: 15 Lectures <絲路文明: 15 講> (at left) into English.

Topics include: Zhang Qian Pioneers Exploration of the ‘Western Regions’ (張騫鑿空與漢代的西域), Kumarajiva Supervises Translation of the Buddhist Canon (鳩摩羅什主持譯經), Sogdians on the Silk Road (來自河中地區的粟特人), Paper-making Know-how Migrates West (紙術西傳), Islam’s Debut in the Middle Kingdom (伊斯蘭教入華), Rise of the Turkophone Tujüe (突厥的崛起與西遷), and Maritime and Land-based Communications under the Mongols (蒙元時期的海陸交通) — 15 lectures in all.

Me in Tainan, one day biking in the wetlands leading to Pacific Ocean shore

I will be gradually adding detail to this page, but in the meantime if you want to contact me, please click here.

Like to learn more about my published literary translations — including full-length books and magazine articles — as well as synopses and  excerpts for marketing use? Click here.

My (serendipitous) Timeline


  • Since the authorities have made learning Uyghur in its spiritual homeland (Xinjiang’s Kashgar) impossible, I study elementary Turkish in Istanbul. Both Turkic tongues, Uyghur and Turkish share similar sentence structure and vocabulary. Useful in translating Uyghur author Alat Asem’s Confessions of a Jade Lord.


  • Published: My translation of Last Quarter of the Moon (额尔古纳河右岸), Chi Zijian’s moving account of the 20th-century twilight of the reindeer-herding Evenki in the Greater Khingan Mountains of Inner Mongolia and Heilongjiang.


  • Robbed by a knife-wielding thug in Shenzhen, I awake in hospital hallway where staff advise amputating my right hand. Immediately.


  • Browsing in 季风书店 bookstore at the Shaanxi Subway Station entrance, I buy a copy of 上海宝贝 (Shanghai Baby) featuring cover selfie of Wei Hui’s sultry lips.  My rendition becomes a best-seller in Hong Kong and Singapore.


  • Supervise English-to-Chinese translation of 世界经人理文摘 (World Executive’s Digest), China’s first management monthly not targeting lobotomized party cadres


  • Arrive in Taipei all hyped up about my China adventure, only to discover that Taiwan ain’t exactly the People’s Republic. But it is  under martial law, it is  a one-party state, and several famous dissident writers are  in prison.


  • Mum teaches me elementary German that summer using 1st-year university textbook. My first reads not long after: Siddhartha (Hermann Hesse) & excerpts from Lutherbibel