The Translated Chinese Fiction Podcast
The Translated Chinese Fiction Podcast
Angus Stewart
A podcast about English translations of Chinese literature, hosted by Angus Stewart. All eras, all genres, all ideologies. Shanghai villas, Beijing alleys. Frozen Manchuria, Sichuan furnaces. Sanmao's Sahara, Liu Cixin's apocalypse. That's where this podcast lives!
Ep 89 - Zhang Yueran and Cocoon with Jeremy Tiang
‘The man in the bed looks at her. An enormous force seems to be pulling him into a world behind him, a world whose gates will soon be shut forever. She strokes his forehead gently.’In the eighty ninth episode of the Translated Chinese Fiction Podcast we are enfolding ourselves within Cocoon, the dreamlike and sometimes upsetting dual-bildungsroman and return to realism by post-85 author Zhang Yueran. Lost with me (yet ever so far away) somewhere in the low-hanging fog is the book’s translator, Jeremy Tiang. All time is one time, you poor thing; so join us, that we may better navigate it.-// NEWS ITEMS //Meta news: We’re not blocked!(?)A new Condor Heroes film is in the worksREAD: an excerpt of Cloudland by Wu Ming-yi-// WORD OF THE DAY //(茧 – jiǎn – cocoon)-// MENTIONED IN THE EPISODE //Scar literature - Cultural Revolution trauma writingChinese writers at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop (a long history)The Crow Road & The Wasp Factory by Iain BanksThe Promise Bird by Zhang Yueran-// Handy TrChFic Links //Help Support TrChFic // Episode TranscriptsINSTAGRAM🦋TWITTER🦋DISCORD
May 7, 2023
1 hr 7 min
Ep 88 - Dorothy Tse and Quarantine with Natascha Bruce
How would I explain to my friend that my creations belonged to a totally different woman?In episode eighty eight of the Translated Chinese Fiction Podcast we are isolated in Hong Kong, experiencing Quarantine and all of the strange dreams that come with it. Are you me? Am I you? Do I wish I were you? Do you wish you were me, talking to Natascha Bruce, the razor-sharp translator of Dorothy Tse, about time, desire, and bottomless holes – is that your magic wish?-// NEWS ITEMS //Wang Xiaobo’s Golden Age finally arrives in English translationTrChFic ep on Taipei People now fully transcribed – and all eps AI-transcribed!Liu Cixin speaks at the UN’s Chinese Language Day celebrations – with an intro from Mingwei Song-// WORD OF THE DAY //(靜雞雞的 – jìng jī jī de – softly, chickenly)-// MENTIONED IN THE EPISODE //Doubles and identity in Mulholland Drive & Lost HighwayUn Chien Andalou - Salvador Dali and Luis Buñuel’s 17 minutes of strangenessOwlish by Dorothy TseXi Xi and Can Xue - kindred spirits to Dorothy-// Handy TrChFic Links //Help Support TrChFic // Episode TranscriptsINSTAGRAM 👪 TWITTER 👪 DISCORD
Apr 28, 2023
1 hr 34 min
Ep 87 - Li Peifu and Graft with James Trapp
‘This kind of “respect” can be a slow-acting poison. When a person gets used to being “respected”, that’s when she is in danger’In the eighty seventh episode of the Translated Chinese Fiction Podcast we are undertaking hard Graft. Betraying little more than a glance askance, Li Peifu shows us how corporate, state, and personal interests fuse all too comfortably. Guanxi-grinding with me is humble translator and noted Sweeney-enjoyer, James Trapp.-// NEWS ITEMS //READ: Massachusetts Review publishes Chiou Charng-Ting’s Raining Zebra FinchesWATCH: Book club discussion of Jia Pingwa’s Backflow River 倒流河LISTEN: My nemesis tackles poetry from Dalian sex workers-// WORD OF THE DAY //(秀 – xiù – refined/ear of grain)-// MENTIONED IN THE EPISODE //90s -> 10s education policy on foreign language education in England80s & 90s corruption in ChinaJeffrey Kinkley’s writing on corruption fictionAphantasia - the inability to form mental imagesZhang Ping - a notable anti-corruption fiction author-// Handy TrChFic Links //Help Support TrChFic // Episode TranscriptsINSTAGRAM 🌾 TWITTER 🌾 DISCORD
Apr 6, 2023
1 hr 36 min
Ep 86 - Chen Qiufan and Quantum Genocide
The U.S. fleet stationed in the Persian Gulf hadn’t had time to react. Now it, too, was in flames.In the eighty sixth episode of the Translated Chinese Fiction Podcast, we are committing Quantum Genocide. Granting our 2019 chat a sequel, Chen Qiufan & I discuss the demonic wildcard of his 10 stories in AI 2041 (an idiosyncratic blend of fictional and non-fictional speculation co-authored alongside tech god Kai-fu Lee). California burns, the 1% are slaughtered like dogs, and a new dark age commences. Boot up, log in, and accelerate.-// NEWS ITEMS //Read: How does Chinese science fiction tell China's global strategy? Analysis by LSE China ForesightRead: Matt Turner's preface to his translation of Lu Xun's Weeds: what is the advantage of another translation?Listen: John Minford on four classics of Chinese literature that he believes best reveal the old civilisation and the heart & spirit of Chinese people today.Read: Emily Xueni Jin reviews the development of sci-fi in China and how a new generation of authors is domesticating the genre by focusing on traditionsEvent: Online book club meeting on Cherries on a Pomegranate Tree, written by Li Er and translated by Dave Haysom (& to be published on 27th February)-// WORD OF THE DAY //(缠 – chán – to be haunted/to be entangled)-// Handy TrChFic Links //Help Support TrChFic // Episode TranscriptsINSTAGRAM ⚛️ TWITTER ⚛️ DISCORD
Mar 19, 2023
1 hr 39 min
Ep 85 - Mo Yan and Sandalwood Death with Stefan Rusinov
‘The final cut – the coup de grace – entered Qian’s heart, from which black blood the colour and consistency of melted malt sugar slid down the knife blade'In the eighty fifth episode of the Translated Chinese Fiction Podcast, we are experiencing the lacerating pains of Sandalwood Death, as dealt to us by Nobel literature prizewinner Mo Yan. It’s time to rip Shandong Province apart in a rebellion for the songbooks. Weapon in hand, the Sun Wukong to my Yue Fei is translator Stefan Rusinov. We laugh, we brood, we hallucinate, and we shake our fists at the craven villain Yuan Shikai, all the while pondering: is torture an artform?-// NEWS ITEMS //A Record of My Battle with the Virus by Han Song, translated by Michael BerryXi Xi: Can We Say // a special issue on the recently late writerGu Long’s Blood Parrot, translated by DeathbladeSCMP takes a look at the new prequel to The Wandering Earth-// WORD OF THE DAY //(喵 – miāo – meow)-// MENTIONED IN THE EPISODE //Gao Xingjian - another Han nobel lit prize winnerMo Yan’s Life and Death Are Wearing Me OutJiaozhou, Imperial Germany’s Shandong colonyStefan’s previous TrChFic appearance, discussing Can Xue-// Handy TrChFic Links //Help Support TrChFic // Episode TranscriptsINSTAGRAM 🔪 TWITTER 🔪 DISCORD
Feb 12, 2023
1 hr 35 min
Ep 84 - Han Song and Hospital with Michael Berry and Mingwei Song
‘Generation after generation, people have lived in this massive sick ward we call the universe ’In the eighty fourth episode of the Translated Chinese Fiction Podcast, we are lost deep inside Hospital, the first entry in an abyssal trilogy by show favourite Han Song. Old-time wardmates Michael Berry and Mingwei Song are here too, groaning in the darkness.-// NEWS ITEMS //Tencent’s Three Body Problem series arrives… on Youtube!A podcast interview w/ Yan Ge & Jeremy Tiang on Strange Beasts of puts out a Lunar New Year reading list 🐇🐇🐇New book: New Medieval Books: A History of Chinese Literature by Zhang Longxi-// WORDS OF THE DAY //(生存 – shēngcún – survival)(痛苦 – tòngkǔ – pain)-// MENTIONED IN THE EPISODE //Remains of Life, tr by MichaelLu Xun’s Diary of a Madman // [FULL TEXT] Life extension gene therapy & the first gene edited babiesThe Reincarnated Giant - CUP’s Chinese sci-fi anthologyHan Song’s Weibo accountTranslation, Disinformation, and Wuhan Diary - Michael’s meta-book
Jan 27, 2023
1 hr 53 min
Ep 83 - Bai Cha and My Cat Hates Me with Jemma Stafford
‘I am clearly an exemplary specimen of a cat, but lately I’ve been pondering something: what does a human do to be regarded as exemplary?’’In the eighty third episode of The Translated Chinese Fiction Podcast, we are getting garfed on by My Cat Hates Me, the webcomic-turned print book by Bai Cha. Keeping the menagerie in line on this episode is Jemma Stafford, translator of the book and also quite a number of video games. So don your catboy ears, say ‘miaomiao~’, and brace yourself for a heady dosage of internet animal culture.-// NEWS ITEMS //Translation of Eileen Chang’s Written on Water to be republished by NYRBRiverhead Books appoints an editor to specialise in translated Chinese worksJourney Planet magazine publishes Chinese sci-fi issue-// WORD OF THE DAY //(不作不死 – bù zuò bù sǐ – no zuo no die, ie. one would not be in trouble had one not asked for it)-// MENTIONED IN THE EPISODE //Anime Cafe Host reviews My Cat Hates MeBristol Translates, and their workshopsGujian 3 and Chinese PaladinZen Cats, a purrfect Buddhist text-// Handy TrChFic Links //Help Support TrChFic // Episode TranscriptsINSTAGRAM 🐈‍⬛ TWITTER 🐈‍⬛ DISCORD
Jan 14, 2023
1 hr 32 min
Ep 82 - Wang Anyi and The Sanctimonious Cobbler with Lehyla Heward
‘If you lived in one of the lanes of Puxi, the moment you stepped out your door, you would find yourself in the thick of urban life in all its boisterous variety.'In the eighty second episode of the Translated Chinese Fiction Podcast, we are paying a visit to The Sanctimonious Cobbler (骄傲的皮匠 / Jiāo'ào de Píjiàng), a novella by Wang Anyi which can be read in By the River: Seven Contemporary Chinese Novellas. Wandering with me down the longtang to cast an eye across the little affairs and petites affaires of shopkeeper Shanghai is friend of the pod and Malta-based scholar Lehyla Heward.- // NEWS ITEMS //Louise Law’s Ark E Newsletter for updates on Hong Kong litDurham University’s Centre for Contemporary Chinese Studies joins Twitter (at this late hour)Uchiyama Bookstore reopens (Sources: Ting Guo, China Plus, Shine)Two Lines Press announces translation of Xu Zechen’s Beijing Sprawl + a reissue of his Running Through Beijing- // WORD OF THE DAY //(中篇小说 - zhōngpiān xiǎoshuō - novella/novelette)-// MENTIONED IN THE EPISODE //Kirk Denton’s Modern Chinese Literary Thoughtthe foreign graveyard in Jing’an & Xujiahui’s Catholic historythe Newman Prize for Chinese LiteratureOne Evening in the Rainy Season by Shi ZhecunComma Press’ The Book of Shanghai and my episode on itThe Hungry Tide by Amitav Ghosh
Dec 18, 2022
2 hr 20 min
Ep 81 - Xiu Xinyu and The Stars We Raised with Yen Ooi
A star’s coming of age was the process of slowly getting uglier.In the eighty first episode of the Translated Chinese Fiction Podcast, writer/researcher Yen Ooi and I are gazing up at The Stars We Raised (逃跑星辰 / táopǎo xīngchén), a short story by Xiu Xinyu featured in the all-women + nonbinary anthology The Way Spring Arrives. Once more, a Chinese science fiction story is taking us down to the countryside for melancholy reflections on the pains of growing up. Yen and I dig into the pains of publishing too, from gender to generation and from style to synthesis.-// NEWS ITEMS //I will be hosting Sinoist Books’ November 2022 Book Club on Li Peifu’s GraftYan Ge’s next book Elsewhere is incoming – and it’s not a translationNew academic anthology Readings in Chinese Women’s Philosophical and Feminist Thought could make for a decent Christmas present, if you’ve got a spare £90-// WORD OF THE DAY //(仁 - rén - human kind(ness))-// MENTIONED IN THE EPISODE //Yen’s musical pairing: Debussy - Suite bergamasque, L. 75 - I. PréludeAngus’ musical pairing: Breaking Benjamin - Had Enough (live, acoustic)Rén 仁 by Yen OoiUFO in Her Eyes by Xiaolu GuoHow to Catch a Star by Oliver JeffersA Prayer for the Crown Shy by Becky ChambersThe Beijing of Possibilities by Jonathan TelWe Could Not See the Stars by Elizabeth Wong
Nov 20, 2022
2 hr 2 min
Ep 80 - Chiou Charng-Ting and Raining Zebra Finches with May Huang
‘In the same spot where Father died, the dead body of a deer lay prostrate in the rain.’In the eightieth episode of the Translated Chinese Fiction Podcast, it’s Raining Zebra Finches (斑胸草雀 / bān xiōng cǎo què). Blame for this troubling meteorological occurrence falls upon Taiwanese author Chiou Charng-Ting; it’s her story. Under the weather with me is her translator, May Huang. In our discussion we’ll be testing the limits of our earthly knowledge and dreaming of other philosophies. When nature stops hiding and springs the inexplicable upon us, where else is there to turn?-// NEWS ITEMS //Balestier Press publishes The Pidgin Warrior, David Hull’s translation of a kung fu satire written in the 1930s by Zhang TianyiA horror followup to Sinopticon, titled Sinophagia, is on the wayCan Xue’s Mystery Train published by Sublunary Editions on Oct 18th-// WORD OF THE DAY //(梅雨季 - méiyǔ jì - plum rain season)-// MENTIONED IN THE EPISODE //Angus’ musical pairing: The Alien from the Annihilation OSTMay’s musical pairings: Ivy by Taylor Swift & Mother’s Daughter by Miley CyrusFang Si-Chi’s First Love Paradise by Lin Yi-HanJeff Vandermeer’s Area X/Southern Reach TrilogyOwlish by Dorothy Tse (tr. Natascha Bruce)Quantum entangled communication in His Dark MaterialsPlato’s allegory of the cave
Oct 24, 2022
1 hr 16 min
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