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Celebrate Chinese literature with free events from the Confucius Institute

05 Apr 2012

Shi Cheng: Stories from China - the official Manchester launch (19 April) * The first Chinese books in London: the collection of Sir Hans Soane (25 April).

Shi Cheng: City Stories from China - the official Manchester launch
Thursday 19 April (7pm)
The International Anthony Burgess Foundation, Chorlton Mill, 3 Cambridge Street, M1 5BY

Featuring Han Dong and Nicky Harman

To mark the publication of Shi Cheng: Short Stories from Urban China - Comma Press and the Confucius Institute are delighted to host an evening with one of the key figures in contemporary Chinese literature.

Han Dong was born in Nanjing in 1961, studied at Shandong University, and subsequently taught philosophy in Xi'an and Nanjing. He began writing in 1980, and has been a major player on the modern Chinese literary scene since the 1990s, as a poet and editor of the magazine, Them. He is well-known as one of China's most important avant-garde poets, and is becoming increasingly influential as an essayist, short story writer and novelist.

Nicky Harman’s translations include Zhang Ling’s prizewinning novel Gold Mountain Blues, Xinran’s Message from Unknown Chinese Mothers, and Xinran’s China Witness (with Esther Tyldesley and Julia Lovell). She is active on the literary website,, and has been Translator-in-Residence at the Free Word Centre, London. She has also recently edited A Phone Call from Dalian (Zephyr Press), a selection of translated poems by Han Dong.

The first Chinese books in London: the collection of Sir Hans Sloane
Wednesday 25 April 2012 (1pm-2pm)
Kanaris Theatre, The Manchester Museum

With Dr Frances Wood, Curator of Chinese Collections at the British Library

Continuing with our popular series of free public talks on China, Dr Frances Wood, one of the UK’s leading authorities on Chinese literature, will be joining us to talk about the first Chinese books in the UK.

The collections of Sir Hans Sloane (1660-1753), physician to QueenAnne and the man who introduced chocolate to a grateful British public, were used to found the British Museum. He collected everything from natural history specimens (stuffed alligators from his time in Jamaica) to fine editions of the Bible and his printed book collection included a fine range of Chinese books from the late Ming and early Qing periods. Many collectors of the time had single Chinese volumes as 'specimens' but Sloane's recently re-discovered Chinese collection ran from Buddhism and Confucianism through geography to literature and painting manuals, most collected for him in China by members of the East India Company who did not know a word of the language.