From billion-dollar films based on Chinese sci-fi novels to international prizes awarded to Chinese authors, there is undoubtedly rising global interest in literature from the PRC. Yet the literary landscape in China has seen tremendous changes since Mo Yan won the Nobel Prize in 2012, and what readers are enjoying inside the country—be it online romances or urban fiction by rising literary stars—is often different from the types of writing that are translated and reviewed overseas in terms of its form, its content, and even the identity of the writers.
In this online panel discussion screened at the London Book Fair, The World of Chinese and Middle Earth Podcast sit down with three multi-cultural representatives of China’s literary world from the so-called “post-80s” and “post-90s” demographic to find out what it’s like to create literature as part of this new globalized generation, how their cross-cultural identity shapes their work, and how to foster more inter-cultural dialogue when taking Chinese literature overseas.
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About the panelists:
Yan Ge was born in Sichuan province, China, in 1984. She is a fiction writer in both Chinese and English, and is the author of 13 books in Chinese, including five novels. She has received numerous awards and was named by People’s Literature magazine as one of twenty future literature masters in China. Her work has been translated into eleven languages, including English, French, and German. The English translation of her latest novel The Chilli Bean Paste Clan was published in 2018. Another translated novel, Strange Beasts of China, was published in 2020/2021; both won English PEN Translates Awards. Yan’s English writing has appeared in the New York Times, the Irish Times, TLS, the Stinging Fly, and elsewhere. She has an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia, where she was the recipient of the UEA International Award 2018/19. Her English language debut short story collection Elsewhere will be published by Faber in the UK and Scribner in the USA in spring of 2023, followed by a novel Hotel Destination.
Emily Xueni Jin
Emily Xueni Jin (she/her) is a science fiction and fantasy translator, translating both from Chinese to English and the other way around. She graduated from Wellesley College in 2017, and is currently pursuing a PhD in East Asian Languages and Literature at Yale University. As one of the core members of the Clarkesworld-Storycom collaborative project on publishing English translations of Chinese science fiction, she has worked with various prominent Chinese SFF writers. Her most recent Chinese-to-English translations can be found in The Way Spring Arrives and Other Stories, the first Chinese speculative fiction anthology in translation produced by female and non-binary creators, and AI 2041: Ten Visions for Our Future, a collection of science fiction and essays co-written by Dr. Kaifu Lee and Chen Qiufan. Her essays can be found in publications such as “Vector” and “Field Guide to Contemporary Chinese Literature.”
Daniel is the marketing and production manager for ACA Publishing and Sinoist Books based in the UK, responsible for shepherding a title from raw manuscript to complete printed title to preparing marketing packages. Upcoming titles by Sinoist Books include a translation of All Quiet in Peking: Under Turbulent Skies by Li Heping, Zhong Guan Village: Tales From the Heart of China’s Silicon Valley by Ning Ken, and The Sons of Red Lake by Zhou Daxin.
Hatty Liu is the managing editor of The World of Chinese and a journalism studies researcher. She has a bachelor’s degree from McGill University and a master’s in global communications from Simon Fraser University and the Communications University of China. Her journalistic work has appeared in Spacing, Logic, and WSJ. magazine, while her academic research won the top paper award in communication history at the annual conference of the International Communications Association in 2016.
Aladin Farré is the host and producer of Middle Earth Podcast. He has been a producer for a decade in documentary, news, and podcasting. He left his hometown of Paris and moved to Beijing, where he has been working since 2017. He founded Middle Earth Podcast, focusing on China’s cultural industries, in 2018. In 2019, he founded his own production company, China Compass Productions.