“Funeral of a Muslim” (穆斯林的葬礼): Tale of Three Generations of a 20th Century Hui Family

With sales of several million copies, Funeral of a Muslim, Huo Da’s tale about three generations of a Hui family in Beijing, is quite possibly the most popular ethnic-themed novel ever published in China. It spans the turbulent years of the Japanese invasion, World War II and part of the Cultural Revolution. If the novel is … Continue reading “Funeral of a Muslim” (穆斯林的葬礼): Tale of Three Generations of a 20th Century Hui Family

Ethnic ChinaLit: February 2016 Newsbriefs

Richard Bernstein reviews Perry Link's translation of physicist Fang Lizhi's autobiography, Most Wanted Man in China, and Ji Xianlin's The Cowshed. (Enemy of the State) International publishers, booksellers and free speech advocates have penned an open letter to HK head honcho Leung Chun-ying calling for him to defend HK's interests in the face of China's … Continue reading Ethnic ChinaLit: February 2016 Newsbriefs

Ethnic ChinaLit Roundup for end January 2016

Multilingual CASS scholar Adili Zhumaturdu (阿地力·朱玛吐尔地) reports that his 4-volume Chinese translation of the Kyrgyz epic, Manas (玛纳斯史诗), has made it onto the list of 86 books for "popularizing multi-ethnic traditional culture" (全国推荐中华优秀传统文化普及图书名单) recommended by China's very official State Administration of Radio, Film and Television. An ethnic Kyrgyz, he worked closely with Jusup Mamay, China's last … Continue reading Ethnic ChinaLit Roundup for end January 2016

2016 Awards: Winning Taiwan Aboriginal Works

Taiwan Today reports (Awards): The winners of Taiwan Aboriginal Literary Awards organized by Taiwan's Ministry of Education were honored in a ceremony Jan. 20 at Hualien Cultural Creative Industries Park. The 36 recipients are from the indigenous tribes of Amis, Atayal, Bunun, Kahabu, Paiwan, Pazeh, Puyuma, Rukai, Saisiyat, Sediq, Truku and Tsou. They finished atop … Continue reading 2016 Awards: Winning Taiwan Aboriginal Works

Korean Script in Mainstream China Media: Kosher at last?

For the first time ever --- I've been watching such announcements for at least 5 years --- official Chinese media has used an indigenous language other than Mandarin to publicize the winners of a major literary prize for writing in a minority language. In this case, the China Writers Association has issued a Chinese press … Continue reading Korean Script in Mainstream China Media: Kosher at last?

1982-2015 Mao Dun Prize: 43 Winners — But which Ones Truly Benefited Sales-wise?

Over the last few years, the veil has been partially lifted on what has been China’s most coveted literary prize for the novel, the Mao Dun Literature Prize, which is awarded just once every four years. You can bone up on the scandals behind this and other awards here if you like. The Beijing Daily … Continue reading 1982-2015 Mao Dun Prize: 43 Winners — But which Ones Truly Benefited Sales-wise?

Documenting Folk Songs of Yunnan’s Bai People in Multilingual Format

Chinese Ethnic Minority Oral Traditions: A Recovered Text of Bai Folk Songs, a new work in the Cambria Sinophone World Series, was published recently. A brief backgrounder on how it came into being: In 1958 while conducting fieldwork in Yunnan, a professor came across a rice paper booklet with strange script created from Chinese characters. … Continue reading Documenting Folk Songs of Yunnan’s Bai People in Multilingual Format

“Customs of Zhuang People”

The book “Customs of Zhuang People” describes a remote village where people feel more comfortable singing to stranger than talking to them. So if you got lost in the mountains, you are better off singing your inquiries if you want to get directions from the locals. 『壯族風情錄』裡說,在壯山裡問路,要用唱的人家才回答你。 這不是為難人嗎? 我好不容易背了簡單的句子問路。這麼看來,練說的不夠,要練唱! 所以,我寫了首相見歌,等我壯文再多學點,可以用壯文來唱。 Visit Song of Reunion 相见歌 for full text by Chilin … Continue reading “Customs of Zhuang People”

2015 Mao Dun Prize: Who Will Snare Award for Unofficial “Ethnic-themed” Category?

The longlist for what is arguably China’s most prestigious award for novels has just been published (第九届茅盾文学奖参评作品目录). I write “arguably” because, like virtually every literary competition in the PRC of late, even the reputation of the Mao Dun Literature Prize --- sponsored by the very official Chinese Writers Association --- has been questioned. See 2014: Year of … Continue reading 2015 Mao Dun Prize: Who Will Snare Award for Unofficial “Ethnic-themed” Category?

Yi Creation Epic Published in Korean, Based on “Reconstructed” Mandarin Version

The creation epic of the Yi people, Meige (梅葛), was translated and published in Korean in 2014 by Seoul-based 民俗苑, according to a news item from the bimonthly Forum on Folk Culture (彝族创世史诗《梅葛》在韩国出版). There are some 8 million Yi (彝族) living in China, Vietnam and Thailand, of which over 4.5 million reside in Yunnan Province. As … Continue reading Yi Creation Epic Published in Korean, Based on “Reconstructed” Mandarin Version