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The Writing Chinese Children's Literature Day

Saturday 2 July 2016, 10:15 - 15:30
Parkinson Building Room 1.08


To coincide with the awarding of the most recent Hans Christian Andersen Award to Chinese children's author Cao Wenxuan, we held a special day-long event on children's fiction in Chinese.

We were delighted to welcome Minjie Chen, expert on Chinese children’s children's lit symposiumliterature, and librarian at Princeton University, to give our key-note speech. And we were also lucky enough to be joined by Helen Wang, Cao Wenxuan’s English translator; Katharine Carruthers, Director of the UCL Institute of Education (IOE) Confucius Institute for Schools; the translator Anna Gustafsson ChenValerie Pellatt, expert on Chinese translation and Chinese children’s poetry and nursery rhymes, and others involved in teaching and translating Chinese fiction.


Tea/coffee/Introductions (breakfast pastries available too!)

10:30 - 11:30
Keynote: The World of Chinese children’s literature: Past and Present; Dr Chen Minjie
View the slides from Minjie's presentation - apologies that the audio unfortunately is a little quiet but you can just about hear it in a quiet room (or via headphones) with a bit of effort!

11:30 - 11:45

11:45 – 12:45
Roundtable Discussion: translating children’s literature
(Initial speakers: Helen Wang and Anna Gustafsson Chen)
View the slides from Helen's presentation. (There again seems to be a problem with the audio for the last 5 mins)

12:45 - 13:45
Lunch and Book club

13:45 - 15:15
Roundtable Discussion: teaching children’s literature
(Initial speakers: Katharine Carruthers, Valerie Pellatt, with Jun Cai and Stella Schito, and virtual contributions from Theresa Munford (St Gregory's, Bath), Ruairi Garvey (Oundle School) and Dave Haysom (Beijing World Youth Academy))

15:15 - 15:30
Concluding thoughts

After a drinks reception those who could stay then enjoyed our conference dinner at the newly opened Home 家 Restaurant.


minjie chenMinjie Chen works at the Cotsen Children’s Library, part of Rare Books and Special Collections at the Princeton University Library. Her job includes organizing and cataloging a historical research collection of East Asian children’s books, ephemera, and objects; selecting and digitizing materials that cater to research interests and teaching needs; and promoting the collection through blogs, publications, presentations, and exhibitions. Her research interest is in children's literature as a source of information for young people, Chinese children's literature, and American children's literature that reflects ethnic Chinese culture. She recently published The Sino-Japanese War and Youth Literature: Friends and Foes on the Battlefield (Routledge, 2016), a comparative study of how the Sino-Japanese War and ethnic Chinese experience during the Pacific War have been portrayed in Chinese children's books, comic books, and American juvenile fiction. She earned her doctoral degree from the Graduate School of Library and Information Science, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Katharine Carruthers is a familiar name to Mandarin school teachers in the UK and to increasingly greater numbers across the globe. She is the Director of the UCL IOE Confucius Institute for Schools and an international expert on the teaching of Chinese and about China in schools. Katharine is an experienced teacher and examiner for Chinese, over recent years she has created and developed the popular Mandarin Chinese PGCE course at the UCL Institute of Education.

Anna Gustafsson Chen is a Swedish translator of Chinese literature. She has translated somewhere around 50 works of fiction, mainly contemporary prose by, for instance, Mo Yan, Yu Hua, Su Tong, Han Shaogong, Yan Lianke, Jia Pingwa, Chen Ran and Hong Ying. She is also a librarian and has worked for many years at the Stockholm Municipal Library and at the Swedish Agency for Accessible Media.

Helen Wang has written and edited multiple books and articles, and is Curator of East Asian Money at the British Museum. Her translations for children include Jackal and Wolf by Shen Shixi (Egmont, 2012), Pai Hua Zi and the Clever Girl by Zhang Xinxin (a graphic novel for children set in 1960s Beijing published as an e-book in 2012), and Bronze and Sunflower by Cao Wenxuan (Walker Books, 2015). She is a contributor to Paper Republic and has recently been  working with Nicky Harman, Dave Haysom and Eric Abrahamsen on the Read Paper Republic series, publishing one complete translated short story, poem or essay per week for a year.

Valerie Pellatt is Reader in Chinese Interpreting and Translating at Newcastle University. Her research interests include translation theory and practice, including transcreation and re-writing, and paratext. She has recently worked with Li Ruru and Steve Ansell on the Leeds-Newcastle Drama Translation Colloquium. Her book Sunflowers and Stars: the Ideological Role of Chinese Children's Rhymes and Poems in the Twentieth Century, was published in 2015.

Stella Schito has a BA and MA from SOAS, and is a current PGCE student at the UCL Institute of Education, in Mandarin with Spanish. She's an Italian native speaker and lover of all things Beijing.

jun caiJun Cai has had 11 years teaching experience in Shanghai before settling in London. She has just finished PGCE at IOE and is feeling enthusiastic to resume her teaching career as an NQT at Kingsford Community School in London

We will also have virtual contributions to our afternoon roundtable from Dave Haysom and Theresa Munford, who have kindly provided teaching materials and video discussions.

Dave Haysom is a teacher at Beijing World Youth Academy. He has been living and working in Beijing since graduating from Leeds University with a degree in Classical Literature and English in 2007. He first started translating short stories at, and has since contributed to Asymptote and Words Without Borders. In 2014 he took over as joint managing editor at Pathlight, a quarterly journal of Chinese fiction, poetry and essays in translation; he is also chief editor of “Read Paper Republic”, a new initiative to showcase a weekly translation online.

Theresa Munford is Head of Chinese at St Gregory's, a mixed comprehensive in Bath. Some of her students have set up a "Reading China" bookclub on Chinese fiction and two Y10 students, Chris and Jennie, have kindly contributed a special video discussion for us. Prior to teaching in schools, Theresa worked and studied in Asia for many years: she has taught Mandarin across the age ranges, and has mentored and trained teachers at Primary and Secondary level. A regular speaker at conferences for teachers of Chinese, Theresa has helped develop resources and has been involved in the steady growth of Chinese as a school curriculum subject over the last decade. She believes strongly that Mandarin Chinese is an accessible language; that the spoken language can be taught efficiently and effectively; and that technology has enabled non-native speakers to attain levels of literacy in Chinese that in the past would have required many years of study.