Peony Literary Agency

Ma Lan and Charles Laughlin


Ma Lan was born in Meishan, Sichuan, in the People’s Republic of China, a member of the Hui ethnic nationality. Formerly an accountant at China Construction Bank, she emigrated to the U.S. in 1993. Ma Lan began publishing poetry in 1982, and has published poetry and fiction in Chinese literary journals such as Hua cheng (Flower City), Zhongshan, Renmin wenxue (People’s Literature), Xiaoshuo jie (Fiction World), Jintian (Today), and Poetry Monthly, in addition to selected works which have appeared in various annual and topical poetry anthologies. Her short story “Guiyuan gan [Dried Longans]” (included in this project) was published in the prestigious Taiwan literary journal Unitas in September 1999. Her essays have appeared in Chinese magazines and newspapers such as Sanwen (Essay) and Nanfang renwu zhoukan (Southern Biographical Weekly). Ma Lan has self-published a poetry collection Zuo zai nali (Where to Sit), a short story collection Hua fei hua (Flowers are not Flowers), and for many years served as editor of Olive Tree online literary magazine, the first online journal of serious contemporary Chinese literature.

Ma Lan’s poems have appeared in English in Modern Poetry in Translation (King’s College, London) in summer 1996, and in the anthology Another Kind of Nation: An Anthology of Contemporary Chinese Poetry, edited by Chen Dong and Zhang Er (New York: Talisman, 2008). Her short story “Going Deaf” has been translated into German by Frank Meinshausen (Das Leben ist jetzt: Neue Erzählungen aus China [Life is Now: New Fiction from China], Suhrkamp, 2005) and subsequently also into Italian. The long poem “How We Kill a Glove” was translated into German by Martin Winter and published in Fleisch magazine January 2010, and her absurdist fable “Who Are They? What Are They Doing?” (included in this translation project), was translated into German by Martin Winter and published in the Austrian literary magazine weinzeile, spring 2012.

Charles A. Laughlin is Ellen Bayard Weedon Chair Professor of Chinese Literature at the University of Virginia. Born in Minneapolis, he received his B.A. in Chinese Language and Literature from the University of Minnesota in 1988, and went on to complete a Ph.D. in Chinese Literature at Columbia University in 1996. He taught modern Chinese literature at Yale University for ten years, and then served as Resident Director of the PKU-Yale Joint Undergraduate Program at Beijing University (2006-2007) and the Inter-University Program for Chinese Language Studies at Tsinghua University in Beijing (2007-2009). Laughlin’s first book, Chinese Reportage: The Aesthetics of Historical Experience, was published by Duke University Press in 2002, with a Chinese translation forthcoming. He edited Contested Modernities in Chinese Literature (Palgrave Macmillan, 2005), and his latest book The Literature of Leisure and Chinese Modernity was published by University of Hawai’i Press in April 2008. Laughlin has translated Chinese stories, articles and poems for several collections, and his translations of Ma Lan’s poetry have appeared in Modern Poetry in Translation and Zhang Er and Chen Dong, eds., Another Kind of Nation: An Anthology of Contemporary Chinese Poetry.

Ma Lan and Charles Laughlin are currently working on a collection of short stories by leading Chinese female writers.






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