Excerpt of the Week: Zha Jianying on Ji Xianlin’s “The Cowshed”

Nearly 20 years after the appearance in China of one of the most shocking first-person narratives of the Cultural Revolution, The Cowshed: Memories of the Chinese Cultural Revolution (牛棚杂忆, 季羡林著), The New York Review of Books has published the book in English. Written by Ji Xianlin, the account appears with a new introduction by Zha Jianying … Continue reading Excerpt of the Week: Zha Jianying on Ji Xianlin’s “The Cowshed”

“This is our Auschwitz”: Introduction to the “The Cowshed”

China: Surviving the Camps, adapted from Zha Jianying's introduction to The Cowshed: Memories of the Chinese Cultural Revolution, just launched in 2016: At the center of the book is the cowshed [牛棚], the popular term for makeshift detention centers that had sprung up in many Chinese cities at the time [of the Cultural Revolution]. This one was … Continue reading “This is our Auschwitz”: Introduction to the “The Cowshed”

Booming Sales of Alexievich’s Works: State Media Attributes them to China’s “Nobel Complex”

Amazon China’s sales of new Nobel Laureate Svetlana Alexievich’s works in soared from nowhere to occupy the Number 20 ranking in less than 24 hours after she was awarded the prestigious prize, reports the Xi’an Evening News at Chinanews.com (作品销量). Nothing like this jump occurred when China’s own Mo Yan was honored with the same … Continue reading Booming Sales of Alexievich’s Works: State Media Attributes them to China’s “Nobel Complex”

Xi Jinping’s “Little Red Book” for Art Workers of the Nation

What a relief! Now we know that even President Xi Jinping’s speeches must be finely airbrushed before they’re ready for mass consumption. In A Year After Xi’s Landmark Speech on the Arts, Some Things Get Left Out, we learn that his infamous October 2014 closed-door speech to Art Workers of the Nation has finally been released … Continue reading Xi Jinping’s “Little Red Book” for Art Workers of the Nation

Svetlana Alexievich, Nobel Laureate: China Media’s Initial Reactions

Oct 20 Update Booming Sales of Alexievich's Works: State Media Attributes them to China's "Nobel Complex" Oct 12 Update Man Asian Literary Prize winner Bi Feiyu praises Alexievich and her brand of non-fiction in an interview with Yangzi Evening News: 毕飞宇:今年的诺奖不是一个冷门 . But he does not cite any current practitioners of oral history or investigative journalism … Continue reading Svetlana Alexievich, Nobel Laureate: China Media’s Initial Reactions

Kurdish Dengbêjî and the ‘Nostalgia Industry’

Building the dengbêj ‘tradition’ . . . must also be considered in a wider context. Interest in memory is rapidly spreading in contemporary Turkey and is helping people explore personal and collective histories. These memories are also — within certain limits — fostered by official narratives that ‘rediscover,’ for instance, an Ottoman and multicultural past. … Continue reading Kurdish Dengbêjî and the ‘Nostalgia Industry’

Extract: “The Embassy’s China Bride” by Jiu Dan

The Embassy’s China Bride 《大使先生》九丹著 Author: Jiu Dan Translator: Bruce Humes Editor: Christopher Cottrell She’s an aging Chinese female novelist of cult fame banned for her intimate portrayal of women and their men. Her lover De Niro is a wild Italian hell-bent on motorcycles. Her other lover is an ambassador to the Middle Kingdom, and … Continue reading Extract: “The Embassy’s China Bride” by Jiu Dan

“Dissident Writers” with Chinese Characteristics

In Censorship and Salesmanship at America’s Biggest Book Fair , Christopher beam argues that categorizing China's community of writers into "dissidents and collaborators misses the nuances of Chinese publishing and politics": “People use the term ‘dissident writer’ in a very confused way,” said Eric Abrahamsen, an American translator and publishing consultant who lives in Beijing, and … Continue reading “Dissident Writers” with Chinese Characteristics

One-Size-Fits-All Qualification Exam for China Publishing Professionals Militates Against Ethnic Minority Talent

In China, since 2002 all technical staff employed in a publishing enterprise engaged in “editing, publication, proofreading and distribution . . . must obtain a National Publication Professional Qualification Certificate” (国家出版专业职业资格). That sounds fairly reasonable in the China context where media is tightly managed for political correctness. But the reality is that in one sector … Continue reading One-Size-Fits-All Qualification Exam for China Publishing Professionals Militates Against Ethnic Minority Talent

2014: Year of the Chinese Literary Prize (Scandal)?

“If 2013 was ‘Mo Yan Year’, then 2014 was ‘Year of the Literary Prize’ ” writes Chen Mengxi (陈梦溪) at the Beijing Evening News. Indeed. It’s got the makings of a good scandal: transparency and fairness of the voting were loudly questioned in social media, new-fangled prizes not sponsored by the state --- or even … Continue reading 2014: Year of the Chinese Literary Prize (Scandal)?