READ PAPER REPUBLIC presents four short stories about women in China, in a “speed-bookclubbing event”


“That Damned Thing She Said” Part of the Wanderlust series, at Free Word Centre, 60 Farringdon Road, Clerkenwell, London EC1R 3GA, Telephone: 020 7324 2570
on Monday 14 March, 18.45 – 20.45; Tickets £5/£3 from

With International Women’s Day (8 March) in mind, we have selected four short stories from China, focussing on hot issues such as sexual freedom, political disappearances, “left-over” women, compromising situations. Sign up and read the stories in advance, then come along for some speed-bookclubbing. Four experienced translators will lead four groups simultaneously. Discuss one story for 20 minutes, then move on to the next. Discuss the subject matter, the style, the writing, the authors (does it make a difference that two of the stories are written and translated by women, and the other two by men?). You’ll get a chance to ask any questions you like. But most of all, this is an interactive event: we want to hear what you think, which ones you liked (or not) and what intrigued or puzzled you.

Story 1: “That Damned Thing She Said” by FU Yuli, (Tr. Nicky Harman). A woman trapped in a loveless marriage has an awkward, but ultimately empowering, one-night stand.

Story 2: “Missing” by LI Jingrui (Tr. Helen Wang). A wife comes home to find her husband has disappeared, or rather “been disappeared”.

Story 3: “Mahjong” by FENG Tang (Tr. Brendan O’Kane). The colleagues of a career woman apply their engineering expertise to the intractable problem of finding her a worthy husband.

Story 4: “The One Who Picks Flowers” by LIU Qingbang (Tr. Lee Yew Leong). A young woman refuses to sleep with the boss, with catastrophic consequences to her family.

Visit the Free Word Centre website, Events page to download the stories in advance and to buy your ticket. Join Read Paper Republic translators to discuss the stories and the depiction of women in contemporary China at Free Word Centre on 14 March 2016.

READ PAPER REPUBLIC, an ambitious project committed to publishing one free-to-view short story (or poem or essay) a week for a year, June 2015 – June 2016. Follow us on
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READ PAPER REPUBLIC celebrates half-way mark with a story co-published in The Guardian and Asymptote magazine

READ PAPER REPUBLIC, as some of you shortstop readers will know, is a project run by four of us on, with the aim of raising the profile of contemporary Chinese literature. We’re publishing a short story (or essay or poem) every Thursday for a year, until June 2016, so that means we’re now at our half-way mark. Our aim has been to reach the general reader, to enable them to dip a toe in the water, so we have chosen as broad a range of stories as possible, something, we hope, to suit all tastes. You might like to read Chad Post’s review about us on his Three Percent blog on 11th December.

This week we’ve collaborated with Asymptote Journal and The Guardian newspaper: our story, “Venus”, by Taiwan’s queer writer Chen Xue, translated by Josh Stenberg, appeared simultaneously on Read Paper Republic and Asymptote (and, through Translation Tuesdays by Asymptote) in The Guardian newspaper). Asymptote have also run an interview with me about Read Paper Republic on their blog.

Our project is really gaining momentum, as more people hear about it. But don’t take my word for it. Go read the stories themselves, 27 now to choose from, free-to-view on We’ve posted some great reads!

A Very Topical Story

Read Paper Republic hasn’t posted on Short Stops for a while, but we’ve haven’t stopped publishing our weekly short stories translated from the best of contemporary Chinese fiction. I hope you’ve managed to catch some – there’s something there for all tastes.

Well, today’s a bit of a red-letter day. At the beginning of the week, the Chinese government announced the ending of its One-Child-Per-Family policy. At the same time, a talented young woman writer called LU Min wrote a thought-provoking, and thoughtful, story about her own family’s experiences during the years when the policy was at its most draconian. We’ve translated it and posted it here: . Here’s how Lu Min begins: ‘We often tease my little sister – “Your life’s worth 56 yuan” – so many years have passed that we no longer feel the pain, and we can see a funny side to it.’

Read, and enjoy.

A Second Pregnancy-LuMin-HWang:

Read Paper Republic: New short stories in Translation

We at Read Paper Republic are a collective of literary translators, promoting new Chinese fiction in translation. Between 18th June 2015 and 16th June 2016, we are publishing a complete, free-to-view short story (or essay or poem), every Thursday (that’s #TranslationThurs) for a whole year. As part of Women In Translation Month, we have focused on four hugely talented and very different women writers (all the translators are women too!) for our short stories in August, 2015.

  • First up, Regurgitated by Dorothy (Hiu Hung) Tse, translated by Karen Curtis. A disturbingly [sur]real tale about a city that devours its children.
  • Then we have Missing by Li Jingrui, translated by Helen Wang. What would you do if your husband went missing for a few months? And then turned up as randomly as he disappeared?
  • Third comes A Woman, at Forty by Zhang Ling, translated by Emily Jones, who writes in her introduction: ‘Is there a word that means a sort of gentle, everyday disappointment? The kind that isn’t a crushing bolt from the blue but something that wears you down gradually over time?’
  • Then, Sissy Zhong by Yan Ge, translated by Nicky Harman: ‘Yan Ge’s stories of small-town life are full of acute comments on human relationships. She has a wonderful ear for the things that remain unsaid, as well as the way people actually talk to each other.’
  • And for the final story in our clutch of five, on Friday 28 August, there’s a story by author and poet Wang Xiaoni, translated by Eleanor Goodman. Yes, it will be one day late, but it’s worth waiting for!

Challenging, weird, funny, characterful, dark, beautiful, poignant, tragic, our stories are all of these and more. Don’t delay: dip a toe in the water, and start reading our short stories now! or follow us on Facebook (Paper Republic) or Twitter @PaperRepublic.