By Bruce Humes Recent press reports in the English-speaking world note that the new Nobel Laureate for Literature, Abdulrazak Gurnah, is relatively unknown in his native Zanzibar and Africa in general, but none of his novels have ever appeared in Chinese. This looks set to change. "We aim to publish five of Gurnah's full-length novels within the second … Continue reading Nobel Laureate Gurnah’s Tales of Exile and Migration Set to Launch in China within 2nd Half 2022￼
Nobel Literature Prize Update (Nov 6, 2021) Shanghai Translation Publishing House has announced that it has acquired the rights to publish Chinese translations (using the PRC's official, simplified script) of ten novels by the new Nobel Laureate Abdulrazak Gurnah. See the announcement here in Chinese. They are: Memory of Departure (published 1987), Pilgrims Way (1988), … Continue reading 非洲文学：中文译本 African Writing in Chinese Translation
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 … Continue reading Gurnah’s Nobel Prize for Literature: One African Publisher’s Take
April 14, 2021 Update: Writer's Literary Agent Confirms that a China Publisher has Bought the Rights to Translate and Publish <The Perfect Nine> in Chinese Reports the Guardian: Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o has become the first writer to be nominated for the International Booker prize as both author and translator of the same book, and the first nominee writing … Continue reading Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o and his “The Perfect Nine”: Now Slated for Future Translation into Chinese?
2021 looks set to be a banner year for what I refer to in shorthand as “Afrolit4China,” i.e., African writing in Chinese translation targeting readers in the People’s Republic. According to the latest statistics from the sole online mini-database in this niche, the bilingual African Writing in Chinese Translation (非洲文学: 中文译本), now lists 240 translated works by 101 … Continue reading Coming soon to China: African Poetry, Novellas and Parables Translated Direct from Hausa and Swahili
As Xi Jinping’s maritime Silk Road initiative reaches its tentacles further West into Africa, it’s not just accumulating alarming rates of China-driven debt and sucking up the continent’s mineral exports. Publishers in the People’s Paradise are now showing modest interest in importing what the authorities label “cultural products.” In this case, contemporary African writing. According to … Continue reading African Writing in Chinese Translation: 2020 Round-up and a Peek at 2021
In a recently published essay at The Paper (澎湃新闻) two Chinese academics — one studying in Germany and another in South Africa — ask how a Chinese should go about getting acquainted with contemporary African literature. One suggestion, in case you can’t read indigenous languages such as Swahili, Hausa, Amharic or Shona, or colonial languages such … Continue reading Chinese Academics Ask: 非洲文学离我们有多远？
Can Literary Imports Change Chinese Perceptions of Africa? : My piece on AfroLit in Chinese is up now at Sixth Tone: Since the founding of the modern Chinese state in 1949, there have been three waves of African literary imports. The first, which emerged in the 1980s, was ideologically driven. Empowered by Beijing’s policy of promoting … Continue reading African Literature: On China’s Cultural Radar Yet?
Alburi Njaay, the Muslim ruler of Senegambia in the late 19th century, fought actively — though unsuccessfully in the end — against the French presence in West Africa’s Sénégal, and the colonial power’s efforts to extend its reach to his territory. He is the hero of an orally transmitted epic in Wolof, which has been … Continue reading Wolof-to-Mandarin rendition: The Epic of Jolof King Alburi Njaay (excerpt)
Believe it or not, China imports more from Africa than just oil, diamonds and exotic parts of endangered species to maximize male, erh, performance (壮阳). Fiction writing, for instance. According to my newly updated mini-database of African literature in translation — 非洲文学 : 中文译本 — there are almost 100 contemporary African works (mainly novels) now … Continue reading African Fiction: Exports to China on the Rise in 2017