Jean Francois Billeter and Wen, a love of nearly fifty years.

Jean François Billeter is a well-known Swiss sinologist and professor emeritus at the University of Geneva. Some of his books are references such as “The Chinese Art of Writing” (1), which has been translated into English, studies on Zhuangzi (2), an essay on the contemporary history of China, “China three times silenced” (3). Other books deal with philosophy, politics, translation; the sinologist even becomes a polemist in his excellent “Contre François Jullien” (4), the famous … Lire la suite

Racial tensions, social inequalities in Malaysia, Tash Aw’s latest novel.

Tash Aw is the most famous Malaysian novelist; he was born in Taipei in 1973 and lived in Kuala Lumpur before studying law in Cambridge and working for a few years with a lawyer. He lives in London and currently in Paris for a few months.

Three of his novels written in English are translated into French. The first one gave him immediate international fame and a record advance fee. At the beginning of 2008, … Lire la suite

Qiu Miaojin, in Taiwan,her university years, her loves and the “Crocodiles”.

“Notes of a crocodile” (1) is a short novel, published in Taiwan in 1994, translated two years ago by Bonnie Huie for the prestigious New York Review Books collection, which had already published Qiu Miaojin’s best-known book “Last Words from Montmartre” (2).

It took more than twenty years for “Notes…”, which is a famous book in Taiwan, to be translated, a reference, a kind of lesbian code at the time. Qiu Miaojin, a writer of … Lire la suite

Wang Ting-Kuo, novels where love and ambition do not blend.

Wang Ting-Kuo is a famous novelist in Taiwan; his book, “My enemy’s cherry tree” (1) won numerous award in 2015 and was quickly translated into English after the success, the previous year, of a collection of short stories, one of which, “La Chute” is available in French (2).

These texts focus on two male characters of modest origin who try to overcome their frustration by building a professional success that will … Lire la suite

Anwar Ridhwan, a Malaysian novelist, questions traditional values and globalization.

Anwar Ridhwan is one of Malaysia’s best-known novelists and has benefited from numerous translations of his works written in Malay. He is a pure product of the system that governs literature in Malaysia both in his academic career and in his professional life as a civil servant. He is one of the thirteen writers declared National Laureate, but he has an international openness that others do not have. Two of his novels and some of … Lire la suite

Le Clezio, a Nobel prize in Nanjing and China

A book by Jean Marie Gustave Le Clézio has just been published, subtitled “Aventure poétique et échanges littéraires”, it is about “Quinze causeries en Chine” (1), fifteen lectures, selected by his translator and friend Xu Jun; occasional texts but also essays of a very high quality.

Xu Jun translated “Desert” in 1983 and then nine years later “Le Procès Verbal”. They then met in Nanjing, during a visit of Le Clézio and … Lire la suite

Cheng Naishan, Christian and daughter of bankers, a writer from Shanghai.

An exceptional environment, she was born in 1946 in Shanghai, in a well-known family of bankers. After 1949, the family spent a few years in Hong Kong and then returned to Shanghai. She studied in English and Chinese and finished high school in 1964, too old to be sent “to the countryside”. A year in English at a teacher’s training school; she taught until 1979, when she published a short story and then in 1982 … Lire la suite

“Soft Burial”, novelist Fang Fang and land reform in China.

A good novel has just been published, translated with talent by Brigitte Duzan, assisted by Zhang Xiaoqiu, “Funérailles Molles” (1), immerses us in China’s land reform.

Fang Fang is a Chinese novelist known for her neo-realistic novels and her love for the city of Wuhan. Born in 1955, she grew up in Wuhan, finished high school in 1974 and then had to work for four years in a factory. At the end of the Cultural … Lire la suite

Li Ang, literature, sex and power in Taiwan (2).

The previous article dealt with Li Ang’s career and the short stories available in English and French. We will now comment on her three translated novels (1,2,3) which had a great impact.

–         “The Butcher’s Wife” (1)      

After a stay in the United States and a degree in theatre studies at the University of Oregon, she met the great novelist Bai Xianyong in California and read in “Anecdotes of Old Shanghai”, the true story of … Lire la suite

Taiwan is not China, “nativist literature”.

A few days ago, we mentioned “The Historical Anthology of Modern Taiwanese Literature”, four volumes under the direction of Isabelle Rabut, professor at INALCO and Angel Pino, professor at the University of Bordeaux Montaigne. The last two volumes, “De fard et de sang” and “Félix s’inquiète pour le pays”, will be presented by the publishers at Librairie Le Phénix in Paris, on Friday, February 1 at 6 p.m. and at the Taiwan Cultural Centre … Lire la suite

New translations show us the quality of Taiwanese literature.

When we look at the collections of short stories and novels from Taiwanese literature, we are surprised to find that, after several publications in the 2000s, including two collections directed by Isabelle Rabut and Angel Pino (1), no new books until 2016. Three books are then published to which we will come back later: a special edition on Taiwan from the excellent journal Jentayu (3), a good collection “Taipei, history around the corner” published by … Lire la suite

Xi Xi, a famous writer from Hong Kong, finally praised in the West.

Xi Xi, the pseudonym of Zhang Yan, is probably the most famous writer in Hong Kong. Important and very varied works, with a limited number of translations in the West. She has just won the Newman Prize, awarded every two years by an international jury around the University of Oklahoma; only one condition, to write in Chinese. She is in good company with Mo Yan, Han Shaogong and the Taiwanese poet Yang Mu; two … Lire la suite

Xi Xi, a famous writer from Hong Kong, finally praised in the West.

Xi Xi, the pseudonym of Zhang Yan, is probably the most famous writer in Hong Kong. Important and very varied works, with a limited number of translations in the West. She has just won the Newman Prize, awarded every two years by an international jury around the University of Oklahoma; only one condition, to write in Chinese. She is in good company with Mo Yan, Han Shaogong and the Taiwanese poet Yang Mu; two … Lire la suite