Calls for UK publishers to print more translated literature from China

By Bo Leung in London | | Updated: 2017-05-15 18:46

Literature lovers, publishers and distributors wan the UK book industry to bring in more translated and bilingual books from China.

During a seminar at the China Context event in London's Chinatown on Friday, leading experts, Sinolo-gists and academics explored ways to develop opportunities for literary exchanges between China and the UK.

In 2013, Britain licensed 574 titles from China, while the world's second largest economy licensed 2,521 from the UK.

Angus Phillips, director at Oxford International Center for Publishing Studies said: "The ratio of Chinese exports and imports have shifted over the last few years but partly that has been China exporting into their own region in Asia. Certainly there has been more interest in the UK in taking Chinese copyrights but I think it is a niche market compared to some of the best sellers that are going from the west into China."

He said more needs to be done to get people in the UK to read more Chinese literature trabslated into English.

"Translated literature remains at a very low percentage of only about 3 percent," Phillips added.

To boost sales of Chinese literature, Phillips suggested growing the pool of translators and agents in Britain for this market and also more dialogue between industry experts from both countries.

The seminar was part the first Chinese book festival at the China Exchange, which celebrates the best of Chinese writers and writing during three days of activities.

As China tries to raise its profile as a global publishing powerhouse the festival aims to not only engage and inspire audiences with the country's rich literary tradition, but provide a platform for conversations that will shape the future of the industry.

The book fair covered everything relating to China from history and biographies, to classical and con-temporary literation to Chinese learning materials and children's books.

Activities over the weekend included a creative writing panel discussion, open mic storytelling and poetry workshops.

Helena Zhang, program and venue manager at China Exchange, said she hopes to run the festival as an annual event "to enrich the culture diversity in the UK".

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Editor: Chris Peterson

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