Non-Han writing in the PRC: A new series

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[Blog post today by Bruce Humes]

VHM:  Since I know about half of the authors and translators in this series, I am pleased to see them and their cohort getting wider recognition and circulation.

"'Multi-ethnic' Literature: Yilin’s 2020 Cache of Fiction by non-Han Writers"

As your year-end holiday lockdown fast approaches, it’s worth noting a new series of books by non-Han writers launched this year by one of China’s best-known publishers, Yilin Press — lit., “translation forest” — that is normally associated with marketing popular foreign-language fiction in Mandarin for Chinese readers.

The name of the series itself, Library of Contemporary Classics by China’s Multi-ethnic Writers (中国当代多民族经典作家文库), is notable, because it employs the term “multi-ethnic” rather than the former politically correct, ubiquitous reference to “minority ethnic” literature (少数民族文学) that must surely have rankled some.

I will write more about the worrisome outlook for mother-tongue, multi-ethnic literature out of China — given moves to severely restrict education in Uyghur, Tibetan and Mongolian, and the ongoing incarceration of hundreds of thousands of Turkophone people in Xinjiang — but for now, here are the titles in Yilin’s new series (so far available only in Chinese) with a bit of background info and links:

阿云嘎 《天上没有铁丝网》(哈森译)

  • AyongaThere is no barbed wire in the sky. Translated by Ha Sen. Ayonga writes in Mongolian, and is also the author of Mamba Rasang, translated by Jim Weldon.


  • Mo Hasibagen: Homeland of Wolves and Songs. Also translated from the Mongolian by Ha Sen.


  • Aikebai’er Mijiti (aka Ikebair Mijiti): My Soleiman is Gone. The author is ethnic Kazakh, and his works have been translated into Russian in Kazakhstan, where he has also been awarded prizes.



  • Tashi Dawa (aka Zhaxi Dawa): Enigmatic Twilight. Of mixed Han and Tibetan ancestry, this controversial author has held several senior posts in China’s literary bureaucracy.


  • Yerkex Hurmanbek (aka Yerkesy Hulmanbiek): A Village Family. She is an ethnic Kazakh. Author of Eternal Lamb, translated by Nicky Harman.


  • Jidi Majia: The Late Elegy. A poet who is member of the Yi people.



  • Pema Tseden: Balloon. Much-published bilingual author and cineast, his Balloon recently began showing at theatres in China.


Selected readings

1 Comment

  1. Jichang Lulu said,

    December 22, 2020 @ 10:07 am

    For the Mongolian name given as ‘Hasibagen’ based on the Mandarin form, Mongolian-based transcriptions in use include Khasbagan and Hasbagan, Qasbagan-a from the traditional script, Khasbagana based on the Cyrillic Хасбагана (the final a is silent, it disambiguates the pronunciation of the n).

    The ‘Mo.’ initial would simply be given as ‘M.’

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