Avant-Garde Chinese Author Can Xue To Visit Yale

The Yale Whitney Humanities Center (WHC) will host two public events with acclaimed Chinese novelist, critic and short-story writer Can Xue later this month: a reading from her work at 5 p.m. on April 16, and a panel discussion with scholars about her work at 2 p.m. on April 17.

Co-sponsored by Yale University Press, both events will take place in Room 208 of WHC, 53 Whitney Ave. They are free and open to the public.

Can Xue (which translates as “the dirty snow that refuses to melt”) is the pseudonym of Deng Xiaohua, a former tailor who began to write fiction in the early 1980s.  Born in 1953, Can Xue was largely raised by her grandmother after her parents were exiled to the countryside in the Cultural Revolution. Her formal education ended when she was 13 years old.

Recognized as one of the most innovative writers in China today, Can Xue cites Franz Kafka, Jorge Luis Borges and Dante as major influences on her fiction, which she describes as “soul literature.”

On April 16, she will read from “Five Spice Street,” her first full-length novel to appear in English.  Joining her will be translators Karen Gernant of Southern Oregon University and Chen Zeping of Fujian Teachers’ University, along with editor Jonathan Brent of Yale University Press. Copies of the book will be available for sale and signing.

“Five Spice Street” is one of the inaugural volumes in the Margellos World Republic of Letters series, an undertaking of the Yale University Press dedicated to making literary works around the globe available through translation to stimulate international debate and creative exchange. Can Xue’s other publications in English include “Dialogues in Paradise” (short stories), “Old Floating Cloud” (two novellas), “The Embroidered Shoes” (short stories) and “Blue Light in the Sky and Other Stories.”

On April 17, the range of topics raised in translating “Five Spice Street” for the Margellos series will be the focus of a panel discussion titled “The Second Life of Literature: Collaboration and Cultural Intervention in Translation.” The panelists will include Brent, Gernant and Chen Zeping; Alyson Waters, Yale University;  and Virginia Jewiss, Whitney Humanities Center University.

For more information, contact Mark Bauer at (203) 432-9558 or mark.bauer@yale.edu.

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Media Contact

Dorie Baker: dorie.baker@yale.edu, 203-432-1345