RC Davis, Executive Director of World Literature Today and Chinese Literature Today, spoke recently with the Chinese Radio International program "People In The Know" about the role of Chinese literature in society, and how it will play a larger role in the years to come.
"Over the last couple of years, and certainly now with the winning of the Nobel Prize by Mo Yan, a much broader public is beginning to pay attention. A restart button has been pushed, and Chinese literature is going to find a much larger audience, the kind of audience it deserves here in the United States," says Davis.
OU has tight connections with Chinese literature. OU and Beijing Normal University partnered to initiate the periodical Chinese Literature Today, which is published right here on campus. For people who are not familiar with Chinese literature and culture, writers like Shi Zhi and Yang Mu are probably not household names. CLT aims to enable a greater understanding of Chinese culture, history, and perspectives as China becomes a more visible player on the world stage.
"Sometimes it takes a big event in the world of literature to shake people out of comfortable habits." The big event Davis is referring to is Mo Yan's Nobel Prize. Before Mo Yan won, the OU Press had a translation of his 2004 book Sandalwood Death in the works. Now, according to Davis, they've had to increase the print run to at least 4 times the original plan.
The many facets of OU's relationship with Chinese literature create an engaging learning environment and contribute to the multicultural nature of the University of Oklahoma. "It's a wonderful, collaborative set of projects," says Davis.
Hear the entire audio interview
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