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Censorship Watch (被河蟹)

穆拉特詹·萨本主: “我的父亲与新闻自由正在土耳其受审”

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AfroLit4China Newsbriefs (非漂出版专讯)

非漂出版专讯: 2016.11 AfroLit4China Newsbriefs

guangzhous-little-africaHard times for Africans in Guangzhou amid crackdown. Complains one resident of ‘Little Africa’: It seems they want the Africans to leave this area . . . every month now, I have to go to the police station [to register], every month. I feel like I’m in jail.

The judging panel for the 2016 Etisalat Prize for Literature has announced the 2016 longlist of nine books: Mr. and Mrs. Doctor by Julie Iromuanya; The Yearning by Mohale Mashigo; Piggy Boy’s Blues by Nakhane Toure; The Peculiars by Jen Thorpe; Born on a Tuesday by Elnathan John; And After Many Days by Jowhor Ile; Dub Steps by Andrew Miller; The Seed Thief by Jacqui L’Ange, and Nwezelenga: The Star Child by Unathi Magubeni. The winner will be announced in March 2017 and will receive £15,000.

Okot p’Bitek’s Song of Lawino, which celebrated its 50th anniversary with a song-of-lawinogrand celebration at Makerere University early this year, is being translated into Sheng. Sheng is a Swahili and English-based creole that has spread across social classes and geographically to neighbouring Tanzania and Uganda. Many youth living in the Nairobi use the argot as their everyday mode of communication rather than Swahili or English.

 

Ethiopia’s internet is among the least free in the world, ranking ahead of only Iran, Syria, and China out of the 65 countries surveyed.

蒙古帝国为什么没有统治非洲?

Attention: Ce taxi contient un livre. Taxis in Tunis are taking part in an online literary initiative launched by online book-sharing platform YallaRead (“Come on, Read” in Arabic).

Chinese Literature in Africa: Meaningful or Simply Ceremonial? 

Interview with Louise Umutoni, founder and director of Rwanda’s Huza Press. Winner of The Huza Prize for Fiction — short story submissions accepted through end November — will be awarded US$1,000.

Magunga.com: Fledgling Online Pan-African Bookstore

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AfroLit4China Newsbriefs (非漂出版专讯)

非漂出版专讯: 2016.10 AfroLit4China Newsbriefs

season-of-crimson-blossoms欢迎访问关注非漂 [Fēi Piāo]新设的微博,liberation 时代

Season of Crimson Blossoms, a novel by Abubakar Adam Ibrahim, wins the 2016 Nigeria Prize for Literature, worth US$100,000. Writes author and critic Toni Kan: I was fascinated because I grew up in the North, first Kano and then Jos, but I was discovering something new about the North in Abubakar’s book. There was lust and passion but above all a clear-eyed exposition of what it means to be human and a woman and middle aged in Northern Nigeria riven not just by religion but by religious crises.

在 《非洲法语文学在国内的翻译》里,汪琳系统地分析 70 年代至今用中文出版的非洲文学作品。

Ethiopia opens its Chinese-built railway linking Addis Ababa to the Red Sea port city of Djibouti. It’s the first step in a 5,000km-long network of rail which Ethiopia hopes to build by 2020, connecting it to Kenya, Sudan and South Sudan.

Black Eunuchs of the Ottoman Empire, reviewed by William Armstrong. There was plenty of demand for eunuchs, and a steady supply was guaranteed by Arab horsemen raiding Africa. Most died during the castration process, driving up the price of those who survived. At their peak there may have been as many as 800 court eunuchs organized in a hierarchical, well-defined structure.

采访:恩古吉·瓦·提安哥,肯尼亚作家。他最早提倡用母语写作并以身作则。

Literary Hub proposes 25 New Books by African Writers You Should Read.

Almost two-thirds of 54,000 Africans polled consider China’s influence on Africa ispositive-african-views-of-china “somewhat” or “very positive”, according to AfroBarometer’s latest poll (free PDF summary here). At 24 percent, China is second only to the US (30 percent) as the most popular model for national development. China’s positive image is primarily based on its investments in infrastructure and low-cost of its products, while appreciation of the Chinese people, culture and language are negligible factors (2 percent).

The first online Kiswahili-Chinese Dictionary, Siwaxili, now features 14,000 entries. 想了解 “新编斯汉辞典”(在线版)背后的故事,请点这里

Authors attending South Africa’s Abantu Literary Festival in Soweto December 6-10, 2016.

Caixin on Guangzhou’s Chocolate City — Souring Business, Xenophobia Makes China Dream Lose Its Appeal for African Migrants

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New Silk Road: One Belt, One Road (一带一路)

One Belt, One Road: China’s Soft Power Campaign Quietly Inches its Way to Middle East and North Africa

A children’s literature exhibition and copyright exchange for countries along the Silk Road were two of the major focuses of the just-ended Beijing Int’l Book Fair, reports the Global Times (Book Fair):

Children’s book publishers from 15 Arab countries and 18 domestic publishers signed deals that will see the best of children’s literature from China and the Middle East be shared between the two regions.

Given the increasing number of culture exchanges between China and Arabian countries, the China
Publishing Group, China’s largest publishing company, has worked on expanding cooperation with over 20 countries in the Middle East. At the fair, the publisher announced it closed a deal with Middle Eastern publishers to bring Maodun Literature Prize winner Zhou Daxin’s
Requiem [安魂] to the region. The publishing house’s Mottos of Modern Chinese previously sold more than 10,000 copies in One Road, One Beltthe region — a record for Chinese books sold in the Middle East. 

This will come as no surprise to you, assuming you’ve been following the developments about China’s far-reaching One Belt, One Road campaign (一带一路), a development strategy and framework that seeks to foster connectivity and cooperation between China and the countries along the ancient Silk Road.

At the moment, the Silk Road Economic Belt is getting a lot of press coverage for its grandiose proposed infrastructure projects, and the fact that it is making Moscow and Washington rather jittery. But there’s a more subtle side to it. The “Silk Road Fragrant Books Project” (丝路书香工程) is effectively the cultural component of the campaign. Given the stamp of approval by China’s Ministry of Propaganda, it is designed to stimulate the translation and publication of great literary, historical and cultural works that are grounded in the cultures of peoples along the ancient Silk Road.

Turkish version of Tie Ning's "The Bathing Women" (大浴女)
Turkish version of Tie Ning’s “The Bathing Women” (大浴女)

The project plan for 2014-20 includes translation subsidies, translations between Chinese and various foreign languages, international exhibitions, and a database of Silk Road publications. The definition of “silk road” is quite broad, including both the original land-based caravan routes from Xi’an through Central and West Asia, the Middle East and Europe, as well as the so-called Maritime Silk Road that linked the South China Sea, South Pacific and the Indian Ocean.

As I reported in Slice of the Pie, the Silk Road Fragrant Books Project already claims a number of achievements. Agreements were inked in 2014 to set up “mechanisms” to facilitate mutual silk road translation projects with countries such as Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Sri Lanka, Kazakhstan and Mongolia. Nationalities Publishing House (民族出版社) has reportedly undertaken to publish 17 books in Kazakh, including Three Hundred Tang Dynasty Poems (唐诗三百首) and the contemporary classic The Governance of China (习近平谈治国理政) by none other than President Xi Jinping.

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New Silk Road: One Belt, One Road (一带一路)

One Belt, One Road: China Has the $, but Does it Have the Cross-cultural Expertise?

China’s ambitious “One Belt, One Road” campaign (一带一路, OBOR) is a development strategy and framework that seeks to foster connectivity and cooperation between China and the countries along the ancient Silk Road that passed through Central Asia, West Asia, the Middle East and Europe. It also includes the lesser-known Maritime Silk Road.One Road, One Belt

This global initiative has many governments excited, because it implies a helping hand from China in infrastructure investment for items such as transnational railways. And as I noted recently in Translators Get Piece of the Piethe cultural component in this campaign is also wide-reaching, including translation subsidies, translations between Chinese and various foreign languages, international exhibitions, and a database of Silk Road publications.  The goal would be to stimulate the translation and publication of great literary, historical and cultural works that are grounded in the cultures of peoples along the ancient Silk Road.

Since 1949, however, the People’s Republic has often focused its research on the US, Europe and Japan, and badly lacks basic expertise concerning many regions worldwide. This is apparent even in the field of literary translations. See Turkish Novels, Honor Killing and China’s English-language Complex for one representative example.

No need to take my word for it though. In One Belt, One Road, One Frenzied Debate, Dingding Chen (Assistant Professor of Government and Public Administration at the University of Macau, Non-Resident Fellow at the Global Public Policy Institute (GPPi) Berlin), points out one of the “main problems with the current frenzied discussion on OBOR”:

First, there is simply a lack of academic expertise on most developing countries in China. Unlike the U.S., area studies as a discipline has never been seriously treated by the government and the result is that very few scholars in China are respectable experts in regions like South America and the Middle East. Many of China’s so-called experts on the Middle East simply don’t speak Arabic languages and cannot read Arabic texts. And many of China’s Africa experts have never traveled to Africa to do field research. How can you give sound advice to the Chinese government if the experts themselves are not knowledgeable about their respective regions? This is a huge problem in China.

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Quote of the Week (本周精彩语录)

Quote of the Week (Jun 26, 2012): Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o on Mother Tongue

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Other (其他)

African Literature in China: Still Stuck on “Things Fall Apart”?

China’s 21-century investment in Africa is massive, multifaceted and a cause of anxiety for leaders in Washington, London, Paris and among the continent’s other former colonial masters, as well as New Delhi. But China is not just busy building airports and railways in Africa, or inking deals to monopolize the exploitation and export of valuable minerals and fossil fuels for decades to come.

The exercise of “soft power” is very much on the agenda too. China-funded Confucius Institutes—promoting the teaching of Chinese language and culture—are popping up throughout Africa, including Egypt and Morocco in the Arab world, and several sub-Saharan countries, including Benin, Botswana, Cameroon, Kenya, Nigeria and Rwanda.

In return, one might well ask: what is China “importing,” culture-wise, from Africa?  If the translation and publication of African writing in Chinese is anything to go by, the continent is hardly a blip on China’s cultural radar.

Internet research and our interviews with Chinese publishers indicate that the golden age of African literature in Chinese translation may well have been during the 1980s. Foreign Literature Publishing House (外国文学出版社), empowered by Beijing’s policy of promoting solidarity with the Third World back then, translated and published a fair number of African works such as those by Nigerian (Wole Soyinka), Kenyan (James Ngugi), Senegalese (Leopold Sengor) and Algerian (Mouland Mammeri) writers, as well as collections of folk tales for children, etc.

To read the rest of this article, click here.

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African Literature in Chinese Translation (非洲文学: 中文译本) Latest News (最新信息)

African Lit in Chinese Translation: Still Stuck on “Things Fall Apart”?

China’s 21-century investment in Africa is massive, multifaceted and a cause for anxiety to leaders in Washington, London, Paris and among the continent’s other former colonial masters, as well as New Delhi. But China is not just busy building airports and railways in Africa, or inking deals to monopolize the exploitation and export of valuable minerals and fossil fuels for decades to come.

The exercise of “soft power” is not being neglected. China-funded Confucius Institutes—promoting the teaching of Chinese language and culture—are popping up throughout Africa, including Egypt and Morocco in the Arab world, and several sub-Saharan countries, including Benin, Botswana, Cameroon, Kenya, Nigeria and Rwanda.

In return, one might well ask: what is China “importing,” culture-wise, from Africa? If the translation and publication of African writing in Chinese is anything to go by, the continent is hardly a blip on China’s cultural radar in 2011.

Internet research and our interviews with Chinese publishers indicate that the golden age of African literature in Chinese translation may well have been during the 1980s. Foreign Literature Publishing House (外国文学出版社), empowered by Beijing’s policy of promoting solidarity with the Third World back then, translated and published a fair number of African works such as those by Nigerian (Wole Soyinka), Kenyan (James Ngugi), Senegalese (Leopold Sengor) and Algerian (Mouland Mammeri) writers, as well as collections of folk tales for children, etc.

Assuming one is interested, at Douban.com (a popular social media site) the Chinese consumer can purchase works by a dozen or so of the authors who have won or been shortlisted for the prestigious Caine Prize for African Writing. They include Leila Aboulela, Binyavanga Wainaina, Laila Lalami, Chika Unigwe and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Half a Yellow Sun), seen by some as Nigeria’s most talented writer since Chinua Achebe.

The only hitch: they’ll have to read them… in English. Few, if any, have been rendered in Chinese.

So which African writers have managed to get published in Chinese? Take a look at our table below for a sample of more recently published African fiction and poetry.

A quick look suggests that successful contenders for translation into Chinese share several traits: the original text is in English and was published abroad several years (or even decades) ago, and the author is the recipient of at least one globally celebrated literary award.

Four of Chinua Achebe’s best-known works have been published recently by Chongqing Publishing (see table below). I asked Lillian Yin (尹楠), who handles copyright matters for the group out of Beijing, why it has chosen to focus solely on the Nigerian writer. “Because he is representative of African literature, dubbed ‘the father of modern African literature,’ and fairly well known in China. Furthermore, he was a very popular choice for the Nobel Prize of Literature.”

Yilin Press, arguably China’s leading source for translated literature, has published three high-profile African writers: Nigeria’s Ben Okri (see table), and two white South African authors, J. M. Coetzee (see table) and Nadime Gordimer. The latter two are also Nobel Prize winners.

Neither Chongqing Publishing nor Yilin Press has specific plans to publish any new African works in 2011 or 2012, though both are on the lookout for promising new writing from the continent.

Why so?

“Africa is a sprawling continent with numerous authors who use many different languages,” explains Yilin’s Zhou Xuan (周璇), editor responsible for marketing and publicity. “[Their use of] indigenous languages is a real headache. It’s very hard to locate translators who both know the language and can write [Chinese] well.”

But this doesn’t mean that Chinese readers aren’t interested. “Africa is a magical land and its nature and peoples seem to be beckoning to us from afar,” continues Zhou. “But as far as we can see, the themes in current African writing are rather narrow, such as the relationship between whites and people of color in the post-apartheid period, recollections of that era, and so forth.

“This isn’t to say that Chinese readers aren’t interested in such themes, but the key is whether these narratives possess depth, or are particularly moving or infused with new significance. Of course, everyone looks forward to new books that revolve around Africa’s own homegrown motifs.”

In the table below, we have tried to give mainly examples of African writing published in the last two to three years, but some of the dates can be misleading. For instance, the Chinese version of Things Fall Apart was first translated in the 1960s by Gao Zongyu (高宗禹), and Yao Yu’s (尧雨) version of Man of the People was published in the 1980s. Rather than retranslate them, Chongqing Publishing chose to republish them in 2009 and 2008, respectively.

That said, three of the translations noted in the table are fairly new and worthy of mention. <神箭> (Arrow of God) by China Achebe, was launched this year. Co-translator Chen Xiaoli (陈笑黎) studied comparative literature in the US, and translated The Heart is a Lonely Hunter (心是孤独的猎手).

<这里不平静> (No Serenity Here) is a rare bilingual collection of contemporary African poets published in late 2010. Included are the works of Wole Soyinka (Nigeria), Keorapetse Kgositsile (South Africa’s Poet Laureate, whose poem lent the title to the anthology), Kofi Anyodoho and Ama Ata Aidoo (Ghana), Makhosazana Xaba and Lebo Mashile (South Africa), Veronique Tadjo (Ivory Coast), Fatima Naoot (Morocco), TJ Dema (Botswana), Shailja Patel (Kenya), Tania Tome (Mozambique), and Amanda Hammar, Chirikure Chirikure and Joyce Chigiya (Zimbabwe).

<人间的事安拉也会出错> (Allah n’est pas obligé) is one of a handful of works translated from the French. Assuming it reads well in Chinese, translator Guan Xiaoming (管筱明) deserves praise, as the original is penned in a stream-of-consciousness style, employing an intriguing—if difficult to follow at times—hodge-podge of standard French, argot and expressions from languages indigenous to Africa.

Author Original Title(s): Chinese Title(s): China Publisher(s): Notes:
Ahmadou Kourouma Allah n’est pas obligé (2011) <人间的事,安拉也会出错> (2011) Hunan Literature & Art Publishing House (湖南文艺出版社) Brutal story of 10-year-old Birahima who leaves the Ivory Coast for Liberia where he serves as a child-soldier. The French-language novel won the Prix Renaudot and Prix Goncourt des lycéens.
Ben Okri The Famished Road <饥饿的路> (2003) Yilin Press (译林出版社) Nigerian writer who has authored 8 novels, and winner of the Commonwealth Writers Prize for Africa and the Aga Khan Prize for Fiction.
Chinua Achebe 1. Arrow of God;
2. Anthills of the Savannah;
3. Things Fall Apart;
4. Man of the People
1. <神箭> (2011),
2. <荒原蚁丘> (2009),
3. <瓦解> (2009),
4. <人民公仆> (2008)
Chongqing Publishing House (重庆出版社) An Igbo raised in Nigeria, Chinua Achebe is arguably the best known English-language African novelist. His classic, Things Fall Apart, was first published in English in 1958, and 1964 in Chinese.
Wole Soyinka 1. Aké: The Years of Childhood;
2. Death and the King’s Horseman;
3. A Big Airplane Crashed into the Earth (Poems from Prison)
1. <在阿凯同年时光> 》 (2008);
2. <死亡与国王的侍从> (2004);
3. <獄中詩抄 : 索因卡詩選> (2003)
1. Hunan Educational Press (湖南教育出版社);
2. Hunan Literature & Art Publishing House (湖南文艺出版社);
3. Tendancy (傾向)
Nigerian writer, poet and playwright who was awarded the 1986 Nobel Prize in Literature.
J. M. Coetzee 1. Diary of a Bad Year;
2. Disgrace
3. Waiting for the Barbarians
1. <凶年纪事> (2009);
2. <等待野蛮人> (2010);
3. <耻> (2003)
1 & 2. Zhejiang Art & Literature Press (浙江文艺出版社)
3. Yilin Press (译林出版社).
White South African novelist who grew up speaking both English and Afrikaans, and won the Booker Prize twice and the Nobel Prize in Literature (2003).
Naguib Mahfouz Palace Walk (Arabic) <两宫间> (2003) Shanghai Translation Publishing House (上海译文出版社) First of three volumes in the Cairo Trilogy by the best-known Arabic-language writer in Africa. Naguib Mahfouz published over 50 novels in Arabic and won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1988.
Nadine Gordimer 1. Beethoven Was One-sixteenth Black;
2. Get a Life
1. <贝多芬是1/16黑人> (2008);
2. <新生>(2008)
1. Nanjing University Press (南京大学出版社);
2. People’s Literature Publishing House (人民文学出版社)
White South African writer renowned for her anti-apartheid activities, Gordimer won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1991.
Uwem Akpan Say You’re One of Them <就说你和他们一样> (2010) Phoenix Publishing and Media (凤凰出版传媒集团) US-based, Nigerian-raised writer whose book of pan-African short stories—about the Rwandan genocide, religious conflict in Ethiopia and more—was a 2009 Oprah Book Club Selection.
Edited by Phillippa Yaa De Villiers, Isabel Ferrin-Aguirre and Kaiyu Xiao. No Serenity Here <这里不平静> (2010) World Knowledge Publishers (世界知识出版社) Various poets translated from the English, French, Portuguese, Arabic and Amharic.