Yesterday’s Translation Tuesday article was jointly published with Paper Republic, a collective of literary translators promoting new Chinese fiction in translation. Their new initiative, Read Paper Republic, is for readers who wonder what new Chinese fiction in English translation has to offer and would like to dip a toe in the water. Between June 18, 2015 and June 16, 2016, Read Paper Republic is publishing a complete free-to-view short story (or essay or poem) by a contemporary Chinese writer, one per week for a year, 52 in total. Readers can browse them for free, on their computer, tablet or phone.
Our editor-in-chief, Lee Yew Leong, conducted a Skype interview with Nicky Harman, one of the founders of this new initiative, to find out more.
Lee Yew Leong: How did the idea for Read Paper Republic come about?
Nicky Harman: Well, we as translators are aware that our own passion for Chinese lit and our work doesn’t always match the general reading public’s interest so we decided on a project that would (a) bring a wide selection of contemporary work to readers, and (b) have a finite term, i.e. it wouldn’t go on forever so we could feel able to put all our energies into it. And we chose short stories because although they are an under-appreciated form in the West, they are nice and short (by definition!) and complete and Chinese writers write very good ones.
LYL: Who is “we” in this case?
NH: We’re Helen Wang and myself in London, and Eric Abrahamsen and Dave Haysom in Beijing. Eric, of course, founded Paper Republic, but we’ve worked as a collective for some time, and were all keen to revitalise the site. Dave is editor of Pathlight and was a brilliant addition to our team because of his editing skills.
LYL: All of you are also united by one thing: you’ve either contributed to Asymptote or taken part in an Asymptote event!
NH: Indeed. Asymptote has been a great inspiration to translators, and very deserving of the London Book Fair Award for International Literary Translation Initiative it got this year. READ MORE…