Renowned Chinese Author at UCT and the Cape Town Open Book Festival
At the invitation of the Confucius Institute at the University of Cape Town (CIUCT), Ms Hong Ying visited Cape Town for the Open Book Festival on 13 September 2015. Hong Ying, famous not only in China but around the world as a novelist and poet, began her career as a poet during early 1980s in China. She is best known in the English-speaking world for her novels Summer of Betrayal, Daughter of the River, and K: the Art of Love. During her visit to Cape Town, Hong Ying was also invited to give a talk on My Voyage to Hometown by Prof Shengyong Qin, the Chinese director of CIUCT, at UCT’s School of Languages and Literature (SLL). Prof Yue Ma (the Head of the section for Chinese), students from the SLL as well as the teachers from the Confucius Institute attended the lecture.
After the talk, students and the teachers had an opportunity to ask Hong Ying questions about her new book, her work in general and her life. They exchanged their views on issues such as the positive and negative influences of translation on original literary works, cross-cultural communication as well as the status of Chinese literature and how it is viewed in the world. When asked by Martin, a student from SLL, whether she found her writing translated well and if there were any particular difficulties in translation from Mandarin, Hong Ying responded: “The skill of the translator makes the difference between a good translation and an excellent one. I don’t think Mandarin is more difficult to translate than other languages; instead, it really depends on the translator… some are better than others.” This last remark, so tactfully delivered, caused a ripple of amusement to run through the audience.
The lecture made a great impression on all those who attended, not only giving the students a better understanding of Chinese literature, but also kindling the students’ interest in Chinese literature, society and culture.