New publication to introduce Chinese literature to overseas readers

By Zhang Yuchen Source:Global Times Published: 2017/3/29 19:48:40

Guests attend the Forum on Overseas Translation and Communication of Famous Works of Contemporary Chinese Literature on Wednesday in Beijing. Photo: Zhang Yuchen/GT

A forum on translation and introduction of contemporary Chinese literature overseas kicked off on Wednesday in Beijing. The forum also marked the official launch of China's first guide dedicated to introducing contemporary Chinese literature to readers both at home and abroad.

The Forum on Overseas Translation and Communication of Famous Works of Contemporary Chinese Literature was organized by Chinese Culture Translation and Studies Support (CCTSS), an online platform dedicated to promoting Chinese literature and culture overseas.

Work on the Guide to Famous Works of Contemporary Chinese Literature first began in June 2016.

Efforts first began with a selection process, during which time CCTSS worked with 29 chief editors at several Chinese literary magazines, as well as 40 literary critics from well-known universities, to select 192 novels from among 651 nominees that they felt worth introducing to foreign readers.

CCTSS also brought in 20 critics and editors to oversee the guide as well as hired 20 translators to translate the selected works into English.

According to the announcement at the forum, the first volume of the magazine will contain introductions to some 40 works including Zhou Daxin's The Light of Lake and the Color of the Mountain and Lu Min's Song of Farewell.

"Since the beginning of this century, Chinese literature has played a passive role in the international literary world. We focused too much attention on increasing domestic influence but neglected the spread of Chinese literature overseas. This has caused many foreign readers to have a mistaken impression of China, since they had few works to read through which they could get to know the country," CCTSS Director Huang Zhuoyue said at the opening of the forum.

"In recent years, we have emphasized overseas projects to tackle this issue, thus this magazine guide was born," he noted.

Each introduction in the guide consists of three parts - author profile, synopsis and review - to help readers and publishers quickly understand the value and impact of each work.

Xu Baofeng, CCTSS executive director, told the Global Times that they will publish both a Chinese and an English version of the guide. The Chinese version will be published in China. As for the English version, Xu revealed that they are working with Amazon to publish the print version of the guide and cooperating with e-book platform Overdrive to bring the publication to libraries around the world.

According to Bai Ye, president of the China Modern Literature Association, China currently has nearly 2 million titles in circulation.

"Among them, there are many that are worth introducing abroad. Now we have just taken our first step in doing so," he said.

Bai also mentioned the rise in popularity of online literature and its impact overseas, pointing out that good online literature works should also be included in the guide.

Xu agreed with Bai's opinion.

"Online literature has grown into a force you can't ignore, even though many people won't admit that it is literature. However the discussion about online writers and their impact overseas is inevitable when we talk about modern Chinese literature" Xu said, pointing out that Chinese online literature works have been selected for the second volume of the guide.

Newspaper headline: Guide to China

Posted in: BOOKS

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