Q & A with Bruce Humes, Translator of Eco-fiction Novel “Last Quarter of the Moon”

Thomas Bird: You translated Chi Zijian’s The Last Quarter of the Moon in 2012. It has now been rebranded and newly launched as part of the Vintage Earth series. How do you feel about it 10 years on? Bruce Humes: I feel the book is more relevant than ever. On the one hand, it highlights the challenges that face … Continue reading Q & A with Bruce Humes, Translator of Eco-fiction Novel “Last Quarter of the Moon”

Video: Right Bank of the Argun (额尔古纳河右岸) in 14 (Transliterated) Evenki Words

Here is a link to the video of my recent presentation entitled <Right Bank of the Argun -- in 14 (Transliterated) Evenki Words>. <Right Bank of the Argun> is the literal translation of Chi Zijian's novel <额尔古纳河右岸> (rendered as Last Quarter of the Moon, by publisher Harvill Secker). I spoke about the significance of these … Continue reading Video: Right Bank of the Argun (额尔古纳河右岸) in 14 (Transliterated) Evenki Words

Morocco: Setting Foot in Tangier, the First Shiite Kingdom and Echoes of Du Fu

Morocco: Where the Sun Truly Sets (Excerpted from H.K. Chang's The Greater Middle East: Travelogue & Reflections) Translated by Bruce Humes in Collaboration with the Author (Map source: Nations Online Project) In the early 8th century, the commander of an Arab expeditionary force spurred his horse toward Tangier on the southern bank of the Strait of … Continue reading Morocco: Setting Foot in Tangier, the First Shiite Kingdom and Echoes of Du Fu

“Manas” Onstage: Ongoing Moves to Sinicize China’s Three Great Oral Epics

A large-scale, colourful rendition of the Kyrgyz epic Manas (玛纳斯史诗) was staged March 22-23 in Beijing’s ultra-modern Poly Theater. This performance came just two days after the newly anointed President Xi Jinping, speaking at the People’s Congress, cited two of the three great oral epics of non-Han peoples, Manas and the Tibetan-language King Gesar. While … Continue reading “Manas” Onstage: Ongoing Moves to Sinicize China’s Three Great Oral Epics

Backgrounder: Mongolian author Guo Xuebo

February 17, 2019 Author's Bio Although he writes in Chinese, Guo Xuebo (郭雪波) is fiercely proud of his Mongolian heritage and was raised in Inner Mongolia’s Khorchin Grasslands (Hure Banner). Now 71 and bilingual, he spoke Mongolian at home and school until he was 13. He graduated from Beijing’s prestigious Central Academy of Drama (Department … Continue reading Backgrounder: Mongolian author Guo Xuebo

Nuosuo Poet Aku Wuwu: Striving for a New Language Born of Cultural Fusion

Aku Wuwu (阿库乌雾), a bilingual poet who writes and performs in both Mandarin and Nuoso (a language of the Yi people), advocates a new-fangled form of Chinese that more fully expresses his people's non-Han culture. This reminds me of the attitude of Uyghur author Alat Asem (阿拉提·阿斯木) and the Turkic-flavor of his Confessions of a … Continue reading Nuosuo Poet Aku Wuwu: Striving for a New Language Born of Cultural Fusion

African Literature: On China’s Cultural Radar Yet?

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?

The New Xinjiang: Traveling when Uyghur

In Navigating Xinjiang's Security Checkpoints, Darren Byler, anthropology PhD candidate at the University of Washington, relates his recent experiences in northwest China: Over the course of a week in cities across Xinjiang, I went through dozens and dozens of checkpoints. I saw young Uighur officers berate elderly Uighurs for not showing their IDs. I saw … Continue reading The New Xinjiang: Traveling when Uyghur

Altaic Storytelling Quote of the Week: Culture as “backroom bric-à-brac”

. . . of course, the Chinese government enforcing Chinese as the language of the whole empire is based on the premise that if these unruly people can be acculturated, they can become part of the larger whole. When they check in at the door, their culture (like the Kyrgyz Epic of Manas) is denatured … Continue reading Altaic Storytelling Quote of the Week: Culture as “backroom bric-à-brac”

English Excerpt from “Prayers in the Wind” (祭语风中) by Tibetan Author Tsering Norbu

Excerpt from Prayers in the Wind A novel by Tibetan Author Tsering Norbu 节选:《祭语风中》(次仁罗布 著) Translated from the Chinese by Joshua Dyer Edited by Bruce Humes Zhyiö Rinpoche’s body sat upright on a wooden bed wrapped in his frayed and faded robe. Peering through the thick veil of incense smoke, I could almost will myself … Continue reading English Excerpt from “Prayers in the Wind” (祭语风中) by Tibetan Author Tsering Norbu