April 2015: Han Dong 韩东

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Han Dong was born 17 May, 1961 in Nanjing. His parents were banished to the countryside during the Cultural Revolution, taking him with them. When the Cultural Revolution ended, he studied philosophy at Shandong University, graduating in 1982. He subsequently taught in Xi’an and Nanjing, finally relinquishing teaching in 1993 and going free-lance as a writer.

He began writing in 1980, and has been a major player on the modern Chinese literary scene since the 1990s. He is well-known as one of China’s most important avant-garde poets, and is becoming increasingly influential as an essayist, short story writer, blogger and novelist.

(bio from Paper Republic)

Most recently, three of Han Dong novellas, translated by Nicky Harman, are being published by Frisch and Co. The first in the series is A Tabby Cat’s Tale. You can read more from Nicky on her experience of translating the novellas at Necessary Fiction. Both Han Dong and Nicky will be coming to Leeds on April 23rd, to talk about their work together.

For this month’s book club, we’ve chosen four of Han Dong’s poems, with translations by Nicky Harman and Maghiel van Crevel.

Han Dong is interviewed by Nicky about his poetry here.

You can also find more of his poems on Poetry International here.

And if it’s short stories you’re looking for, check out ‘The Wig’, translated by the winner of the Harvill Secker Young Translator’s Prize 2012, Phil Hand, and published in Granta, October 2012.