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“Australian Literature Week“ opens at PKU

MAR . 15 2011

Peking University, Mar. 14, 2011: The opening ceremony of the fourth PKU Australian Literature Week and the lecture "Australian and International Voices in Writing and Translation" were held on March 8.


The lecture was co-hosted by PKU Office of International Relations, the Australian Studies Center, and the School of Foreign Languages (SFL). Professor Liu Shusen, deputy dean of SFL, presided over the lecture and introduced the guests, namely Sydney University Professor of Chinese Studies and co-founder of Peony Press Mabel Lee, multilingual novelist Brain Castro, and writer and social critic Kate Jennings.



Brain Castro first made an account of his understanding of language and literature. He pointed out that translation is not only a transformation of language, but also a recreation process involving expressing one's own understanding of literature and culture in a different language. His work Shanghai Dance has lately been translated into Chinese. He said he hopes that the work will be popular among Chinese readers.


Mable Lee introduced her experience translating poems and novels to the attendants. She shared her experience founding Peony Press, which is aimed at promoting Asian culture in English-speaking countries. In her view, translation work is limited in some degree by the original author’s work. However, a good translator conveys the author's thoughts in the translation, a task that reaches beyond simple word to word translation. Thus, translation is quite academically rewarding.


Kate Jennings also talked about her experience creating literature. Born in Australia, she and later moved to the US. She once worked on Wall Street for nearly seven years. There she gained a broad familiarity with New York’s pluralistic culture. Working on Wall Street taught Jennings, "If you get kicked down, pull yourself up."


An open question session followed the lecture. The atmosphere turned interactive; SFL students asked questions according to their own interests. Students discussed with the guests issues such as linguistics, literary translation, and multi-cultural studies. Students who participated in the activity said the lecture was quite helpful to their foreign language studies and, by providing a new mindset, lead them towards a better understanding of the connotation between language and culture.



Translated by: Chen Wei

Edited by: Jacques

Source: School of Foreign Languages