In China, officialdom novels: more than a hundred titles per year.

A thousand years long tradition had an unintended consequence in recent years, the development of a new literary genre: officialdom novels. This is why it is good news that Penguin China has published a few weeks ago “The civil servant notebook” by Wang Xiaofang, the great master of the genre, translated by Eric Abrahamsen, one of the founders of the well known site  who lives in Beijing since 2001.

1 / The notebook of Lire la suite

Han Dong, an independent writer in Nanjing.

Han Dong is almost unknown in France, his books are not yet translated. This is not the case in the UK because of the efforts of a well-known translator Nicky Harman, who was kind enough to answer our many questions about this writer.

1 /The father, a writer, a family “sent to the countryside”:

Han Dong was born in Nanjing in 1961, he was the son of Han Jianguo (1930-1979), better known by the name … Lire la suite

Tan Twan Eng, a Malaysian writer for a British literary prize ?

Tan Twan Eng est un écrivain malaisien d’origine chinoise qui partage son temps entre l’île de Pénang où il est né et l’Afrique du Sud où il réside.

On a parlé, il y a quelques années, de son premier livre « A Gift of Rain », qui n’est malheureusement pas traduit en français. Ce livre avait été remarqué et figuré dans la première sélection du Booker prize, le Goncourt anglais. Son deuxième roman, très réussi, … Lire la suite

Yan Lianke and “The Four books”, a novel on totalitarian madness.

The end of the holiday period provides us with a major book from a Chinese novelist whom we had the pleasure to interview twice: Yan Lianke.

We remember for sure “Serve the People”, the “Dream of Ding Village”, “The Joy of living” published in 2009, and a beautiful text, “The Days, the months, the years”.

In “The Four Books”, he recalls the Great Leap Forward, the disastrous economic reforms imposed by Mao Zedong from 1958 … Lire la suite

Anni Baobei: a flower in the dark.

This is the nickname given to Anni Baobei by her”fans” for her novels of desolation and isolation. She is one of the most famous authors in modern China particularly among women and people under 35. “The Road of Others,” a collection of three newly-published (1) short stories is the translation of her first book “Goodbye Vivian” (2001). This short story, first published online secured her immediate fame.

1 – A literary star of the internet:… Lire la suite

Reading Chinese novels in the West…(follow up)

The Macau Ricci Institute asked me a few months ago to prepare an article on contemporary Chinese literature and the West. This text has been published in English and Chinese in the April 2012 issue of the journal “Chinese Cross Currents”. The editor of this magazine has been kind enough to post on the internet the full content of this article.

Lire la suite

Qiu Xiaolong: more than detective stories in my life !

Qiu Xiaolong, whom I met recently, noted that one speaks mainly of his detective novels. This mentioned without acrimony, as he is a model of courtesy, but I have to take this into account: for Qiu Xiaolong, the main thing is poetry!

Poetry, from theTang to TS Eliot and … Qiu Xiaolong.

His research for a thesis on the Anglo-American poet TS Eliot, led him to St. Louis (Missouri) with a grant from the Ford … Lire la suite

Shirley Geok-Lin Lim: from Malaysia to California.

Shirley Geok-Lin Lim is a writer, poet and academic, well known in the U.S., ignored in France, where not even a line is translated. Yet she is a leading figure and a talented writer who can be discovered by reading her memoirs, probably her best novel “Among the white moon faces” (1). /

1 / Malacca, the sleepy hollow:


Born in Malacca in 1944, a beautiful city, 150 kilometers south of Kuala Lumpur, … Lire la suite

Reading Chinese novels in the West.

The Macau Ricci Institute asked me a few months ago to prepare an article on contemporary Chinese literature and the West. This text has been published in English and Chinese in the April issue of the journal “Chinese Cross Currents.” This magazine has posted on the internet more than one third of the article which was written after a dozen interviews with editors and translators in England, France and the United States.

We will give … Lire la suite

Who translates and publishes Chinese literature in French?

The site plays an important role: it publicizes Chinese literature abroad and encourages publishers to develop their catalog. The site was founded by a group of well known English speaking translators, some of them living in China.

1 / “Paper-Republic” and Chinese literature in French:


The site, managed in recent months by Helen Wang, has been very active with the book fair in London where China was the guest of honor. Helen Wang … Lire la suite

Yang Xianhui and Wang Bing: let survivors of labour camps talk and testify.

Two films by Wang Bing are just released: “Fengming, chronicle of a Chinese woman,” an amazing documentary film, three hours long, where a long time Communist recounts her life and the death of her husband in a camp, in a casual and controlled way, but where one can feel love and humanity. “The Ditch” is a film that deals with a camp for “reeducation through labor” and the famine of 1960. Both films are directly … Lire la suite

Anne Cheng: Confucius reassessed, a Chinese export product.



Since 2008, Anne Cheng, a former student of the Ecole Normale Supérieure, leads in the Collège de France her research and teaching activities on the intellectual history of China, after having carried them under the CNRS and the National Institute of Oriental Languages ​​and Civilizations (INALCO).

Her translation of ” The Analects” of Confucius and her “Histoire de la pensée chinoise” have become classics. She was kind enough to analyse current events in the … Lire la suite

Shi Zhecun, modernism and continuity in Shanghai.

The publisher Bleu de Chine Gallimard has published several books of good quality on literature of the 1930s including an excellent collection of texts and drawings by Feng Zikai (1).

With the short stories by Shi Zhecun (2), published a few months ago, in a translation by Marie Laureillard and Gilles Cabrero, you can discover an author somewhat forgotten and whom we knew only with two short stories translated into the excellent book “The Shanghai … Lire la suite