posted by holly_tagima on November 15, 2012 | 2 comments
I am doing my dissertation on the self censorship situation writers in china face. I am especially interested in Yan Liankes banned novel "dream of ding village" which also has an approved film adaption. With Mo Yan winning the Nobel prize and the London book fair being accused of not supporting writers who face these restrictions I think a podcast on this issue would be extremely interesting. Even just som recommended reading in English or Chinese would be fantastic. Thanks guys! Your sinica podcasts are great by the way, I listen to them every week! :)
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Brendan on November 20, 2012 | reply
Hi holly_tagima,

If you're interested in Yan Lianke, you may want to contact Cindy Carter, who translated both the novel "Dream of Ding Village" and the English subtitles for the Gu Changwei film based on it. There's a lot of backstory to both works, but it isn't really my story to tell.

In general, there are multiple layers to any given case, so it can be misleading to speak of things simply as being "banned." "Dream of Ding Village" was in fact published in China, but then was never given a further print run. The advertising for the English translation of John Chan's novel "The Fat Years" describes it as "the book nobody in China dared to publish," but that "nobody" includes its author, who never submitted the novel for publication. And then there are books that get rejected by one publisher and picked up by another, or accepted by a publisher but then barred from distribution. And of course Yan Lianke has said censored himself while writing "Dream of Ding Village" in the hopes that this would allow the book to stay in print. As with most things about China, the situation is much more complicated and inconsistent than monolithic terms like "banned" and "censorship" would suggest.

All of which is to say that it's a fascinating topic, and I think there'd be plenty to talk about there if Kaiser and others are interested in putting together a Sinica podcast about it.
holly_tagima on November 21, 2012 | reply
Great! Thanks so much for getting back to me, yeah I think it would make a really interesting podcast. I'll be keeping an eye out for it :) the sinica podcasts are so helpful, basically every week for Chinese poltics and policy theres a sinica podcast I can listen to before I go. Keep up the good work! Oh and if they do do a podcast on it, some interesting Chinese language sources would be great!! Xx