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January/ February 2023: Congyun 'Mu Ming' Gu 慕明

Congyun (a.k.a Mu Ming) Gu is a Chinese speculative fiction writer and a programmer from Beijing, currently living in New York, US. She was born in 1988 in Chengdu, China, and has published short stories and novellas in Chinese since 2016. Her stories can be found in Science Fiction World, Non-Exist Daily, Flower City, Chinese Literature Selection, and various writing contests and anthologies.

She has won multiple awards since 2017, including three Douban Read’s Novella Writing Contest Awards, first prize for The 7th Masters of Future SF Writing Contest, the Best Short Story at the 31st Galaxy Awards, the Silver Award for the Best New Writer Award in the 10th Global Chinese Sci-Fi Nebula Award and the Golden Award in the 11th one. She is also nominated for a 2021 IGNYTE Award for Best Short Story for her first English publication in Samovar. Her first collection Colora il Mondo was published in Italian in 2021 and followed by her first Chinese collection The Serpentine Band And Other Stories in 2023.


For our first author feature of 2023, we're delighted to feature Mu Ming, and her story 'Express to Beijing West Railway Station', translated by Kiera Johnson and first published in Samovar magazine in 2020. In this story, a special kind of ticket leads to an unexpected journey. You can read it in Chinese, and in Kiera's English translation.

The story was also featured on the brilliant Translated Chinese Fiction Podcast, where Mu Ming and host Angus Stewart do a deep dive into its background and ideas.

And her novella 'The Serpentine Band', translated by Tian Huang, was published in Clarkesworld in 2021.

We're also very happy to be featuring Kiera Johnson's translation. She was one of the 124-strong collaborative translation team who worked on Deng Anqing's 'Forty Days in Quarantine: How a month in isolation brought me closer to my parents', for the Give-it-a-Go Translation project, run in collaboration with Paper Republic in 2020, and 'Express to Beijing West Railway Station' was her first published translation. She's now a UK-based translator of speculative fiction, who graduated with a degree in Chinese Studies from the University of Oxford in 2021 and is currently studying for a Master’s degree in Taiwan Studies at SOAS, University of London. You can find her on Twitter @kierajoy_and her website at