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November 2023: Liang Hong 梁鸿 and the 9th Bai Meigui Translation Competition

This month we're highlighting our current translation competition text - an extract from a short story by Liang Hong 梁鸿.

Incredibly, this is the 9th competition we've run, since our first competition in 2015. That year, translating a story by Hong Kong author Dorothy Tse 谢晓虹, our joint winners were Michael Day and Natascha Bruce, and we're absolutely delighted that Michael is returning this year as one of our judges!

We're also proud to be partnering with Sinoist Books this year, with generous support from Arts Council England. Sinoist have recently published Esther Tyldesley's English translation of Liang Hong's The Sacred Clan (神圣家族 - published in Chinese in 2015), and we were honoured that Liang Hong joined us last month in Leeds as part of Sinoist's Roadshow, along with author Liu Zhenyun.

Liang Hong (b.1973- ) is a writer, essayist and professor at Renmin University of China. Growing up in a village in rural China, Liang Hong’s talent and work ethic drove her to pursue writing and academia in the city. However, it is her determination to hold on to the memories of her rural upbringing that sets her apart from the crowd. Narrativising rural China, she has been heralded by critics as a trailblazer, focusing on the lives of ordinary rural people and exploring something other than the metropolis.

In addition to her novels, Liang is also a prolific writer of short stories and literary criticism, including the non-fiction study of Liang village,China in One Village, which has been translated into French, English and Japanese. She has won a number of prizes, including the Seventh Wenjin Books Award of the National Library of China and the Second Zhu Ziqing Prose award.

Bio from Sinoist Books

The competition text to be translated is around 1000 characters in length, but we've provided the whole piece (明亮的忧伤) for you to read as well. You can find the selected extract and full story here.

On our judging panel are renowned translator (and long-term supporter of our Centre) Nicky Harman; author Shen Yang, whose book More Than One Child, published by Balestier Press and translated by Nicky, was featured on our Bookclub in 2021; and Michael Day, who (besides winning our inaugural competition) has had translations published in many magazines, and won the Jules Chametzky Translation Prize in 2020.

The competition is free to enter, and open to all. We particularly encourage anyone who's new to translation to give it a go!

This year's prize is a bursary to attend the 2024 'Bristol Translates' Literary Translation Summer School (which will be online, dates TBC). The tutors for the Chinese-English translation workshops will be Nicky Harman and Jack Hargreaves. The winning entry and runners-up will also be published on our website.

The competition deadline is midnight (GMT) on December 18th, 2023. Please see our Competition page for more details on how to enter.

And GOOD LUCK! We can't wait to read your entries!

If you're thinking about entering the competition and looking for inspiration, there's an interesting interview with Michael Day in The Massachusetts Review.

And you can also read his translation of a creative non-fiction piece by Liang Hong, 'A Fortuneteller in a Modern Metropolis', which is part of the Read Paper Republic series.

We also featured Liang Hong on our bookclub in April 2019, with her story 'Rainbow's Boutique', translated by Dave Haysom.