Sunday 20 December 2015

The Sunday Post

A rojak* of items that caught my eye this week…

Update: Read Paper Republic  
As regular readers will know, are publishing a complete free-to-view short story, or essay or poem, by a contemporary Chinese writer, every Thursday for a year, 52 in total, 18th June 2015 to 16th June 2016. You can browse some great reads on your computer, tablet or phone, by clicking here. Or you can follow along on Twitter: #TranslationThurs.

The Read Paper Republic series is now at the half-way mark, and it is garnering a fair bit of attention.  

You can read a post from the US-based Three Per Cent Blog, which promotes literature in translation into English, by clicking here

You can read an interview Nicky Harman, editor of the Read Paper Republic series, gave to Asymptote, an international journal dedicated to literary translation, by clicking here

Asymptote works in collaboration with the UK Guardian to bring translated fiction to a wide readership. Thus, one of Read Paper Republic’s most recent stories, Venus by Chen Xue, translated by Josh Stenberg, was published last week in the UK Guardian. To read it click here. Venus addresses issues of transgender.  It concerns two transgendered people, Phoenix and Winter Pine, considering their bodies one quiet, warm night, in an exploration of physicality and beauty. The challenging content meant it struggled to find a publisher in China, but Read Paper Republic, Asymptote and the Guardian have jointly ensures it reaches a wide readership in the West. 

The Man Booker Prize 2016 Judges
The judges for the prestigious Man Booker Prize, awarded each year to an English-language novel published in the UK, Commonwealth Counties, or USA, have been announced. They are:

Dr. Amanda Foreman (Chair): Award-winning historian, and columnist for The Wall Street Journal, The Sunday Times and The Smithsonian Magazine. Her first book, Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire, was an international bestseller, and won the 1998 Whitbread Prize for Biography. Her second book, A World on Fire, was also a widely-praised bestseller. Foreman divides her time between London and New York, where she founded House of SpeakEasy, a non-profit organisation that works with local communities to bring writers and audiences together in innovative ways.

Jon Day: Writer and lecturer in English and the Medical Humanities at King's College London, where he teaches courses on modernist fiction and the philosophy of mind, literature and psychiatry. His essays and reviews have appeared in many UK-based publications. His book, Cyclogeography, a philosophical memoir about the three years he spent as a London bicycle courier, was published earlier this year. He is currently writing a book about fishing.

Abdulrazak Gurnah: A native of Zanzibar who is now a novelist, and Professor of English and Postcolonial Literatures at the UK University of Kent. His novel, Paradise, was shortlisted for The Booker Prize in 1994, and By the Sea was longlisted in 2001. He has edited two volumes of essays on African writing, was 2003 chair of judges of The Caine Prize for African Writing, and is the editor of The Cambridge Companion to Salman Rushdie. His last novel was The Last Gift.

David Harsent: Poet and Professor of Creative Writing at the UK University of Roehampton. Fire Songs, the most recent of his eleven volumes of poetry, won the T.S. Eliot Prize last January. He has collaborated with composers on operas and song cycles which have been performed at venues including the Royal Opera House and Carnegie Hall. Writing under a pseudonym, he has published ten thrillers.

Olivia Williams: Actress. In 2010, she won both the London and New York Critics’ Circle Awards for her performance in Roman Polanski's film of the Robert Harris novel The Ghost

So: no judges with an Asian background.  Oh, well…

Quick notice
Year of the Goose by Carly Hallman

About the book: This is a send-up of Chinese capitalism, and China’s newish tycoon culture. Junk food scion Papa Hui’s beloved pet goose is not just the icon for an empire, it’s the company’s sole inspiration. Desperate for her father’s approval, and bitterly at odds with the goose, Kelly Hui takes the reins of a government sponsored health initiative, only to watch it become a gruesome fat camp for children, from which there are few survivors. Meanwhile, hair tycoon Wang Xilai is a perverse modern-day Gatsby, and his life is unravelling as quickly as his prized hair extensions. These are the characters whose lives revolve around the success of the Bashful Goose Snack Company, China’s most profitable corporation...

About the author: American Carly Hallman lives in Beijing. Year of the Goose is her first novel.   

Details: Year of the Goose is published by Unnamed Press in paperback, priced in local currencies.

Twitter spot 
Each week I make a suggestion of an interesting Twitter account you may like to follow.  This week, following on from the quick notice, why not take a look at Carly Hallman’s account, @cjhallman.

*A rojak is a Singaporean salad. Like Asian Books Blog on Facebook, or follow it on Twitter.