August: Zhang Yueran 张悦然
Zhang Yueran was born in 1982 the city of Jinan, Shandong Province. She began writing at the age of 14, and as a high school student, won first prize in the nationwide New Concept Composition Competition. After studying English and law at Shandong University, she completed a graduate degree in computer science at Singapore University. Zhang Yueran is regarded as one of China’s most influential young writers. She has published two short story collections: Sunflower Missing In 1890 (2003) and Ten Loves (2004), and four novels: Distant Cherry (2004), Narcissus (2005), The Promise Bird (2006), which was named the Best Saga Novel 2006. Her other awards include the Chinese Press Most Promising New Talent Award (2005), the Spring Literature Prize (2006). and the “MAO-TAI Cup” People’s Literature Prize (2008). In 2012, she was named by Unitas magazine as one of the top 20 writers under 40. She has been the chief editor of Newriting since 2008 and holds a PhD in Ancient Chinese Literature from Renmin University.
(Bio from Paper Republic)
The story we have chosen is ‘Binary’, translated by our Bai Meigui translation competition judge Jeremy Tiang (who’s also translated Zhang’s collection Ten Loves, from which ‘Binary’ is taken, and the novel The Promise Bird).
This story was the fourth in the Read Paper Republic series of weekly Chinese stories in translation. Go to their website to find out more, and read all the stories, and you can also take a look at our July book club for an insight into the project. We also recommend having a look at Jeremy’s very interesting translator’s note to the story on Read Paper Republic.
There’s a review of Zhang’s The Promise Bird here from Asian Cha.
And you can watch a reading with both author and translator here, from 2013: