Born in 1978 in Hong Kong, Hon Lai-chu began writing at the age of ten. Dong Qizhang has said that she “possesses an innate and precociously odd tactile sense of the world.” She finished her first work, The Water Pipe Forest, while still in middle school. After graduating from university, she worked for a few years before deciding to dedicate herself completely to writing. Of her work currently in print in Taiwan, her collection of short stories The Kite Family, her novel Grey Flower (which won Honorable Mention in Third Annual Dream of Red Mansions Literary Awards), and Body Seam all display her distinctive “anti-realist” aesthetic. Hon Lai-chu currently teaches creative writing and accepts interviews. In 2011 she went to America to attend the University of Iowa’s International Writing Program. At present, a number of magazines based in China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong feature her columns. At the same time, she attempts to retain some “freedom of choice” for herself and her work.
Bio from Paper Republic
This summer, we’re delighted to welcome Hon Lai-chu as our featured author, coinciding with the conference of the Association of Chinese and Comparative Literature, which is held this June in Hong Kong, and which will have a focus on writing by Hong Kong authors.
Our chosen story is ‘Notes on an Epidemic’ ( 感冒誌 ), from Hon Lai-chu’s collection The Kite Family, translated by Andrea Lingenfelter and published in translation by East Slope Publishing Limited (Muse), Hong Kong. Thank you to the author, translator and publisher for allowing us to reprint the story here.
The Chinese version of The Kite Family ( 風箏家族 ) won the New Writer’s Novella first prize from Taiwan’s Unitas Literary Association, was selected as one of the Top 10 Chinese Novels Worldwide, and was awarded a Translation Grant from the U.S. National Endowment for the Arts.
You can read another story by Hon Lai-chu – ‘Dummies’, translated by Karen Curtis – here, as part of the Read Paper Republic series of translated Chinese stories.
About the translator
Andrea Lingenfelter is a poet, translator, and scholar of Chinese literature. In addition to The Kite Family (Muse, 2015), her book-length translations include The Changing Room: Selected Poetry of Zhai Yongming (Zephyr, 2011) and the novels Farewell My Concubine (Wm. Morrow and Co., 1993) and Candy (Back Bay Books, 2003). Her translations of poetry written by modern and contemporary Sinophone writers have appeared widely in journals and anthologies, including Granta, Chinese Literature Today, Pathlight, Zoland Poetry Annual, Mantis, Frontier Taiwan, Sailing to Formosa, and Chicago Review. Ms. Lingenfelter received an NEA Translation Grant for The Kite Family. She is currently translating Scent of Heaven, a historical novel by Shanghai novelist Wang Anyi, for Penguin, and she is also working with Hong Kong based writer Cao Shuying on translations of Cao’s poetry. She teaches Chinese literature at the University of San Francisco.
Bio from Muse Publishing