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Symposium - Genre Fiction in Contemporary China, and its Reception in the West

Thursday 10 - Friday 11 October, 2019
Weetwood Hall

This year, our symposium is focusing on Chinese genre fiction. We'll be exploring what genres mean, and how they are useful, looking at the stories being written, translated and read. We'll be joined by authors, translators, publishers, and academics, for presentations and roundtable discussion.

There will also be a public event on the Friday evening, featuring author readings and Q&As.


Thursday 10th October, Weetwood Hall, Moortown Room  

10:30 ‚Äď 10:45¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Arrival/tea/coffee

10:45 ‚Äď 11:00 ¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Welcome and Introduction

11:00 -- 11:45

Nathaniel Isaacson ¬†¬†¬†¬† ‚ÄúThe Aesthetics of Development in Late Qing Visual Culture: contextualising contemporary science-fiction‚ÄĚ

12:00 ‚Äď 1:00

Chen Qiufan¬†¬†¬† ¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† ‚ÄúBehind and Beyond the Waste Tide‚ÄĚ

Wang Yao¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† ¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† ‚ÄúThe Mad Man as Hero in Chinese Sci-fi‚ÄĚ

1:00 ‚Äď 2:00 ¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Lunch

2:00 ‚Äď 4:00¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Roundtable 1¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† The Reception of Chinese Science Fiction in the West

Chen Qiufan, Wang Yao, Nathaniel Isaacson, Lyu Guangzhao, Yen Ooi, Sarah Dodd

4:00-4:30  tea/coffee break

4:30-6 pm       Roundtable 2            Translating Genre Fiction

Emily Jones; Nicky Harman; Michelle Deeter; Nick Stember; Brigitte Duzan

6-8pm Dinner


Friday 11th October, Weetwood Hall, Moortown Room  


Jeffrey Kinkley ‚ÄúA Popular Genre: The ex-China mystery novel‚ÄĚ

10:30-12:30 ¬†¬†¬† Roundtable 3¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†Reading ‚ÄúGenre‚ÄĚ

Jeff Kinkley; Brigitte Duzan; Nicky Harman; Helen Wang; Nick Stember

12:30-1:30 Lunch

1:30-3:15         Roundtable 4           Publishing Genre Fiction ~ the UK market

Head of Zeus Publishing House; Alain Charles Asia Ltd

3:30-5pm        Roundtable 5           New Research in Genre fiction

Nick Stember, Shan Xiaodan, Peng Qiao, Lyu Guangzhao

5-5:15pm        Launch of Centre journal Writing Chinese: A Journal of New Sinophone Writing

6-8pm             Author readings/drinks/finger buffet reception (with Stanley Chan, Xia Jia and Nathaniel Isaacson)


Keynote speakers

Chen Qiufan

Chen Qiufan¬†is an award-winning science fiction writer. He grew up near Guiyu, China, home to the world‚Äôs largest e-waste recycling centre, an area the UN called an ‚Äúenvironmental calamity.‚ÄĚ His experiences there inspired his novel¬†Waste Tide¬†(translated into English by Ken Liu), and recently published by Head of Zeus in the UK. He currently lives in Shanghai and Beijing and works as the founder of Thema Mundi Studio.

Nathaniel Isaacson

Nathaniel Isaacson is an associate professor of modern Chinese literature in the department of foreign languages and literature at North Carolina State University. His research interests include Chinese science fiction, Chinese cinema, cultural studies, and literary translation. Nathaniel has published articles in The Oxford Handbook of Modern Chinese Literatures (2016) and in journals including Xiandai wenxue and Science Fiction Studies, as well as translations of nonfiction, poetry, and fiction in the translation journals Renditions, Pathlight, and Chinese Literature Today. His book, Celestial Empire: The Emergence of Chinese Science Fiction (2017), examines the emergence of science fiction in late Qing China and the relationship between science fiction and orientalism.

Jeffrey Kinkley

Jeffrey C. Kinkley is a retired professor of history from St. John's University, Queens, New York City, currently holding honorary posts as Courtesy Professor of History and of World Languages and Literatures at Portland State University, Portland, Oregon. He is an intellectual historian and his major monographs to date concern Shen Congwen, twentieth-century Chinese crime fiction, China's popular "anti-corruption novels" of 1995-2002, and China's 1990s avant-garde historical novels by Mo Yan, Su Tong, et al. He has translated fiction by Shen Congwen and contemporary Chinese writers, and managed translations of the memoirs of Xiao Qian and Chen Xuezhao.

Xia Jia

Xia Jia (aka Wang Yao) is Associate Professor of Chinese Literature at Xi’an Jiaotong University and has been publishing speculative fiction since college. She is a seven-time winner of the Galaxy Award, China’s most prestigious science fiction award and has published three science fiction collections in Chinese. She’s also engaged in other science fiction related works, including academic research, translation, screenwriting, and teaching creative writing. A collection of her stories will shortly be published by Clarkesworld Books.


Nicholas Cheetham

Nicolas Cheetham headed Atlantic imprint Corvus from 2009-2011, having previously worked at Quercus. He is now managing director at Head of Zeus, and acquires their Chinese SF.

Michelle Deeter

Michelle has been translating and interpreting since 2007 and handles a wide range of projects, including a translation for the official guidebook for Canton Tower and interpreting in Monza, Italy, for the Grand Prix F1 race. She has also translated stories by A Yi, Shi Kang, and Song Aman for Read Paper Republic. She holds a BA in International Relations from Carleton College (USA) and an MA in Translation and Interpreting from Newcastle University.

Brigitte Duzan

Brigitte Duzan is a French sinologist, linguist and translator. She founded the websites and, and is co-founder of the Chinese Ciné-club at the National Institute for Oriental Languages and Civilizations (INALCO), as well as the Chinese Reading Club at the Chinese Cultural Centre in Paris (October 2017), amongst other things. Her current research incudes contemporary Chinese literature, with a special focus on short stories.

Nicky Harman

Nicky Harman lives in the UK. She is co-chair of the Translators Association (Society of Authors) and is on the Advisory Board for our Writing Chinese project. She taught on the MSc in Translation at Imperial College until 2011 and now translates full-time from Chinese. She focusses on fiction, literary non-fiction, and occasionally poetry, by authors such as Chen Xiwo, Yan Ge, Han Dong, Hong Ying, Dorothy Tse, Xinran, Yan Geling and Zhang Ling. When not translating, she spends time promoting contemporary Chinese fiction to the general English-language reader.

Emily Jones

Emily learnt Chinese at the universities of Cambridge, Ningbo and Qingdao and was the recipient of a BCLT mentorship in translation in 2011. Her publications include her translation of He Jiahong’s crime novel Black Holes as well as samples, short stories, poetry, fiction and non-fiction for various publishers.

Lyu Guangzhao

LYU Guangzhao is a PhD student of Comparative Literature at UCL, working on a comparative study between contemporary (mainly post-1990) British and Chinese Science Fiction. He is a currently a member of London Science Fiction Research Community (LSFRC) and one of the co-organisers of London Chinese Sci-fi Group.

Ying Mathieson

Ying Mathieson is a China Publishing veteran with more than 3 decades of experience in the China Publishing field. She is the founder of Alain Charles Asia, a small independent Publishing house focused on China-related titles.

Yen Ooi

Yen Ooi is the author of Sun: Queens of Earth (novel), A Suspicious Collection of Short Stories and Poetry (collection), and Road to Guangdong (computer game). Her short stories and poetry have been featured in various publications; most recently, her short story 'The Butterfly Lovers' was published in The Good Journal 3. She is a PhD student at Royal Holloway, University of London, focusing on Chinese science fiction, where she is interested in the evolution of the genre and the discourses between native and diasporic voices. As a writer and editor, Yen hopes to develop writing that is rich in culture that will add further value to the development of genre fiction. Yen is a lecturer at Westminster University's MA Creative Writing course, a mentor in marketing and publishing, and co-founder of CreateThinkDo. She is a member of BACLS, BSFA, LSFRC, and Worldcon.

Laura Palmer

Laura Palmer is publishing director for fiction at Head of Zeus, an independent publishing house in London. Laura co-founded Head of Zeus in 2012, having started her career at Quercus Books, and she also worked at Corvus, the commercial fiction imprint of Atlantic Books.

Qiao Peng

Qiao Peng is working on a PhD at the University of Leeds, and his research is on Chinese Internet Literature translation and corpus-based translation studies.

Shan Xiaodan

Xiaodan Shan is a PhD candidate in East Asian Studies, University of Leeds. Her research explores readers’ reception to Legends of the Condor Heroes, the latest English translation of Shediao Yingxiong Zhuan, a Chinese martial arts novel written by Jin Yong. She holds two MA degrees in Applied Translation Studies and in Professional Language and Intercultural Studies from the University of Leeds.

Nick Stember

Nick Stember is a translator and historian of Chinese comics and science fiction. He is currently working closely with: The Jia Pingwa Institute, in Xi’an; Clarkesworld magazine and Storycom to promote Chinese speculative fiction; and the Books from Taiwan Manhua Project. He is currently working on a PhD at Cambridge University.

Helen Wang

Helen Wang is a London-based contributor to Paper Republic and co-tweets with translator Nicky Harman on¬†@cfbcuk¬†(China Fiction Book Club UK). She is one of the four editors of¬†Read Paper Republic¬†‚Äď working with¬†Nicky Harman,¬†Dave Haysom¬†and¬†Eric Abrahamsen. In September 2016, she started a new project¬†Chinese books for young readers, with¬†Anna Gustafsson Chen¬†and¬†Minjie Chen. She won the¬†2017 Marsh Award for Literature in Translation¬†for her translation of¬†Bronze and Sunflower¬†by Cao Wenxuan.