4.3 Strange Beasts of Translation: Yan Ge and Jeremy Tiang in Conversation

Yan Ge and Jeremy Tiang are both writers who accumulate languages. Sitting down with host Emily Hyde, they discuss their work in and across Chinese and English, but you’ll also hear them on Sichuanese, the dialect of Mandarin spoken in Yan Ge’s native Sichuan province, and on the Queen’s English as it operates in Singapore, where Jeremy grew up. Yan is an acclaimed writer in China, where she began publishing at age 17. She now lives in the UK. Her novel Strange Beasts of China came out in English in 2020, in Jeremy’s translation. Jeremy, in addition to having translated more than 20 books from Chinese, is also a novelist and a playwright currently based in New York City. This conversation roams from cryptozoology to Confucius, from the market for World Literature to the patriarchal structure of language. Yan reads from the “Sacrificial Beasts” chapter of her novel, and Jeremy envies the brevity and compression of her Chinese before reading his own English translation. Throughout this warmhearted conversation, Yan and Jeremy insist upon particularity: upon the specificity of language, even in translation, and the distinctiveness of identity, even in a globalized world. We learn more about Yan’s decision to write in English, and Jeremy’s cat chimes in with an answer to our signature question about untranslatability! Tune in, and keep a look out for Yan’s English-language debut, Elsewhere, a collection of stories, due out in 2023.

Mentioned in this episode:
Yiyun Li
Liu Xiaobo 
Jhumpa Lahiri
Strange Beasts of China
Tilted Axis Press
State of Emergency
Yu char kway

Listen and Read:

Audio: Strange Beasts of Translation

Transcript: 4.3 Strange Beasts of Translation

5.5 They’re Not Metaphorical Demons: Mariana Enriquez and Magalí Armillas-Tiseyra Novel Dialogue

Booker Prize shortlister Mariana Enriquez, author of Things We Lost in the Fire and The Dangers of Smoking in Bed, joins Penn State professor Magalí Armillas-Tiseyra and host Chris Holmes to talk about her most recent novel, Our Share of Night, her first to be translated into English. Our Share of Night follows a spiritual medium, Juan, who can commune with the dead and with the world of demons, and his son, Gaspar, as they go on a road trip to outrun a secretive occult society called The Order that hopes to use Juan and Gaspar in their unholy quest for immortality.  Publishers Weekly called it “A masterpiece of literary horror.” In a wide-ranging conversation, Mariana reflects on being a horror writer in Argentina, a country that obsesses over its traumatic past. Indeed, Mariana’s interest in writing fiction in the horror genre was prompted by hearing her first horror stories, the terrors of torture and disappearances under the Argentine Junta government. The three discuss Mariana’s use of violence, especially when it involves children; the various afterlives of the translations of Mariana’s award-winning fiction; and the arborescence of the novel form. Humor and dry wit cut through these weighty topics to make for a lively conversation with one of Latin America’s most important contemporary writers. Mentions:  Silvina Ocampo Mariana Enriquez,  La Hermana Menor -The Things We Lost in the Fire -The Dirty Kid Ray Bradbury, The October Country José Donoso Juan Carlos Onetti Ernesto Sabato Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights Ingmar Bergman, The Hour of the Wolf A Nightmare on Elm Street (film) Titane (film) Pope John Paul II The Oulipo Movement Aleister Crowley Chris Holmes is Chair of Literatures in English and Associate Professor at Ithaca College. He writes criticism on contemporary global literatures. His book, Kazuo Ishiguro as World Literature, is under contract with Bloomsbury Publishing. He is the co-director of The New Voices Festival, a celebration of work in poetry, prose, and playwriting by up-and-coming young writers. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
  1. 5.5 They’re Not Metaphorical Demons: Mariana Enriquez and Magalí Armillas-Tiseyra
  2. 5.4 The Meat and Bones of Life
  3. 5.3 “It’s on the Illabus”
  4. 5.2 Writing the Counter-Book: Joshua Cohen with Eugene Sheppard (JP)
  5. 5.1 We Have This-ness, Y’all!

One thought on “4.3 Strange Beasts of Translation: Yan Ge and Jeremy Tiang in Conversation

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: