Paper Republic Catalogue Showcases Independent Chinese Writers

In Feature Articles by Chad W. Post

By Chad W. Post

With China the Guest of Honor this year, there’s a mountain of information available about Chinese authors and publishers circulating through the Fair But one of the most interesting publications this year has to be the catalog of six independent writers produced by the website Paper Republic ( complete with long—30+ pages—sample translations.

Paper Republic was founded a couple of years ago by a group of native English speakers (most of whom live in mainland China) dedicated to the translation of Chinese literary fiction into English, and features sample translations, information about Chinese authors (including those who may not be favored by the government) and a blog about Chinese literature and translation.

In October of last year, Paper Republic received a grant from the Arts Council of England to support the promotion of Chinese literature abroad. It is thanks to this grant that both Nicky Harman and Eric Abrahamsen are able to attend the Frankfurt Book Fair for the first time, and able to produce this catalog.

“We know there are hundreds of fantastic authors out there, many of whom could never hope to get an official invite to an international book fair—they are no friends of officialdom and work hard to maintain their independence as writers. This catalog is a chance to present them and their work to a wider audience,” said Harman.

A pdf version of the sampler is available on the Paper Republic website, and hard copies can be found in the Translators Center. For more information, please contact Nicky Harman at

Writers included in the catalogue:

Han Dong

His novel <em>Banished!</em> (long-listed for the Man Asian Lit Prize in 2008) has been translated into English, but his Kafka-esque new novel, Screwed, which will be published in China in January 2010, is excerpted here.

Sheng Keyi

One of the new generations of women writers who is urban-based and a “ferocious experimenter with style and voice.”

Jia Pingwa

Fairly controversial writer who has an enormous following in China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong, and who has had his work banned while at the same time winning a major prize.

Liang Wendao

In addition to being a writer, Wendao is also a TV commentator and has become something of a cultural icon.

Li Er

Not well known outside of China, but has a very strong cult following for his works which explore rural themes from a thoroughly modern perspective.

About the Author

Chad W. Post

Chad W. Post is the director of Open Letter Books, a press at the University of Rochester dedicated to publishing contemporary literature from around the world. In addition, he is the managing editor of Three Percent, a blog and review site that promotes literature in translation and is home to both the Translation Database and the Best Translated Book Awards. His articles and book reviews have appeared in a range of publications including The Believer, Publishing Perspectives, the Wall Street Journal culture blog, and Quarterly Conversation.