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New chapter to begin for Chinese books in English

Updated: 2016-01-13 09:56:34

( China Daily )

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Some English-language books on China or written by Chinese to be released this year.[Photo provided to China Daily]


Eric Abrahamsen, editor of Pathlight magazine and the man behind Paper Republic, the agency that promotes Chinese literature worldwide, says publishers are looking for Chinese stories with best-seller potential, or ones with idiosyncratic voices, or by controversial writers.

As for literary classics, China Intercontinental Press is inviting masters of Chinese literature and the arts to introduce ancient and contemporary masterpieces.

Foreign Language Press plans to launch a series for beginners and young readers that introduce classics through picture books.

Penguin Random House North Asia's Beijing office says it will promote Yan Lianke's Marrow to a wider readership.

The story is about a mother and her "cursed" family in a small village in the Balou Mountains. "A chilling and relentless tale of family responsibility and a mother's sacrifice, Marrow is Yan Lianke at his best," writes Penguin.

Abrahamsen says his agency has been releasing annual lists of untranslated Chinese fiction worth translating. "By now many of the books have already been translated, so we're now asking readers to send in titles that they think are worth doing," he says.


Foreign Language Press is set to produce illustrated works on acupuncture, Peking Opera and Chinese tea.

Penguin also hopes to boost interest in the Great Wall through The Great Wall in 50 Objects by William Lindesay. Penguin says reading the book is like an "excavation" because it is based on the author's field work and research, combing through history and Western anecdotes of the Wall from the second century BC to the late 20th century.

Another Penguin special examines how music composer Beethoven left a mark on Chinese society. Beethoven in China, co-authored by famed conductor Jindong Cai and Sheila Melvin, a Chinese culture expert, talks about how the composer's perseverance in the face of adversity and his musical genius resonated with China's process of searching for a way forward.

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